Review: Intel Classmate PC

Unlike all of its ultra-cheap competition, Intel’s entry into the starter PC market has a secret weapon: It runs Windows (XP to be exact). Whether you see this as benefit or a hindrance depends on your affinity for Microsoft, your need for broad compatibility, and your fear over how Windows might perform on ultra-low-end equipment. In my tests: Not as bad as you’d expect. It immediately dies on benchmarks, of course, but apps load relatively quickly (including Microsoft Office, preloaded on our test machine) and even full-screen video and Flash vids didn’t stutter. Of course, it’s still a machine designed for kids in a classroom environment: The ultra-small keyboard won’t do grown-ups’ hamfists any favors, but for a Windows-centric school environment, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate notebook. (Dig the handle and the rubberized case sleeve and the battery-powered pen that converts scribbles into digital files on the Classmate.) Besides, who’d have expected The Man to be the budget machine on the block?

Spread the love