I’d been meaning to write a review of the XO Laptop for the last couple of months.
This recent article in the Wall Street Journal finally prompted me to put this response together.
I purchased one through the special promotion and our kids love it. And continue to love it. It has proven to be a staple when they are bored at home or when we travel -particularly to places without connectivity.
The main functions they use are exactly the creative programs that come pre-loaded.
They are more intuitive than the off-the-shelf equivalents and still offer a tremendous range of creativity -particularly Tom Tom and eToys.
As a parent, I find that the XO has a different paradigm than a traditional computer. One that fosters creative thinking. It is built for kids to explore and to offer them a language/medium to express ideas that are often hard to describe but easy to show. Whereas my PC (Windows or MAC) is designed primarily to increase productivity -to make it easier to do x or y task.
The fact that the web browser is clunky doesn’t bother them. If they want to play on the web, they’ll go to a Windows machine. Just like if they want to watch TV they’ll go to a television. (I was hoping I could use it for using web-based software while away but neither the built in browser nor the XO ready version of Opera were up to the task.)
A big favorite with my kids is the Journal feature. They love being able to see what each one did and to add on to previous work. Its a lot easier for them than “saving” files or searching folders or a network for someone else’s work.
Overall, its a keeper (and even something they fight over).