NPR logo The MacBook Air vs. the XO Kids Laptop

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The MacBook Air vs. the XO Kids Laptop

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The Apple Air laptop is pretty neat — but in the wireless game, it may have some things to learn from the $200 XO laptop. That's right, the one built for kids.

For starters, the wireless neighborhood around the XO laptop appears on a dedicated screen, with different icons for various access points. And it links in a snap to other XOs, to the point that letters typed on one are seen immediately on the other. And if one has newer software, the other automatically updates, as well.

The XO is meant to provide affordable laptops to needy children. But after seeing what they can do, I snagged one for my nephews, under a deal where you buy one laptop and the company sends another overseas. The thing is fun enough to mess with that I came close to not giving it to 'em — and at $400 for the pair, the total was about $1,400 cheaper than the Air.

After all, I'm needy in my own way: of a good, cheap way to get online anywhere.