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An Office DaVinci's LCD

By Rebecca Freed Wacom, a leading name in pen input devices, has taken an extra step: Its 15-inch Cintiq 15x LCD monitor also works as a graphics tablet that lets you draw directly on its screen using a cordless pen. It's such a natural, obvious concept that I thought, "Someday all monitors will work this way." The only hitch: At $1899, the Cintiq 15x is too expensive for a casual purchase. And it's not targeted at those who wrangle text or numbers--the package doesn't include any writing or editing utilities.

However, the image quality of this 1024-by-768-pixel flat panel is quite nice: Text in Microsoft Word and Excel looks sharp and easy to read, and icons are very distinguishable. Photographs and illustrations have vivid, accurate color and fine detail, which is critical for artists and designers. The unit is simple to set up and adjust, thanks to its reasonably intuitive buttons and on-screen controls, as well as its thorough, clear documentation. The Cintiq 15x supports both VGA and digital video interfaces, and provides connection cables for both.

The fun begins when you start drawing on the screen. The pen and panel worked flawlessly together, creating fine or thick lines without a single hiccup. The panel's support arm lets you position the screen like an easel, from almost flat to almost perpendicular; you can even place it in your lap. When I allowed my palm to touch the screen, it didn't affect my image or move the Cintiq's cursor. The cordless pen has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity, and it needs no batteries.

If you have to reach around a keyboard, the Cintiq 15x is not comfortable to work with. But as a tool for serious graphic artists, its form flawlessly follows its function. From the May 2002 issue of PC World magazine

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