13th June 2003 at 01:00
In 1983, the Wacom company was set up in Japan to reintroduce the pen back into computers. The Pl-700 (pound;2,050 ex VAT) is its latest baby: a monitor-cum-tablet that can be directly drawn on with a pressure-sensitive pen.

The Pl-700 works directly with Windows and Mac OS, in conjunction, if necessary, with keyboard and mouse. The Pl-700 can thus be used as a flat high-quality monitor or like a drawing board.

The interactive display comes into its own with programs such as Illustrator or Photoshop, which require precise work with tools such as the lasso, airbrush etc. With 512 levels of pressure the Pl-700 helps restore nuance to artwork and photographic retouching.

Downsides? It's pricey and you have to work closer to the screen than with a normal monitor, but as a whole, this interactive display is truly revolutionary.

Steve Place Computers Unlimited, The Technology Park, Colindeep Lane, London NW9 6DU Tel: 020 8358 9548

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