Wacom PL500 at a Glance

Maker: Wacom
Price: $3,999 list
URL: http://www.wacom.com

Overall Impression: I'm still drooling

Key Benefits: The sharp screen and excellent color on the LCD display is impressive. The tablet responds quickly, and it's very easy to use. It takes almost no time to get used to it.

Disappointments: For me, Wacom should include some sort of trough or cup to collect the drool. Other than that, I wish Wacom would include a tool for turning off the Mac's cursor when using the PL500. (You don't need a cursor when your pen is touching the part of the screen where the cursor would appear.)

Recommendation: Strong Buy



Wacom PL500

Pressure-sensitive LCD pen/display system

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Seems like we're burning through the Wacom products around here lately. We started off with the little Graphire 4" x 5" model, moved on to the monstrous Intuos 9" x 12" and arrive today, finally, at the king of them all—the PL500. This is the tablet all reviewers dream of reviewing. For you see, it is not merely a tablet. It's a pressure-sensitive, pen-based LCD monitor. The drool factor on this puppy is quite high.

As I've found, one of the biggest drawbacks of the PL500 is in the area of productivity. To wit, it will be difficult to get any work done while your envious colleagues are hovering around you trying to get a glimpse and asking you all kinds of questions about it. One helpful tip to get rid of them is to tell them the price, at which point they start backing away in awe and fear, as if it were some holy artifact ... which it is.

The PL500, unlike its smaller predecessors (the PL300 and PL400), offers 24-bit color on a 15" screen (1,024 x 768 resolution). It hooks up to your computer via a DVI port, such as those that are included on the ATI Rage 128 cards included on Macintosh G4s. (In case you're wondering, no, you can't use both ports at once. If you want your regular monitor to work at the same time as the PL500, you'll need to install a second card in one of your spare PCI slots.) The monitor itself is one of the best I've seen, with rich color and a viewing angle that doesn't seem to quit. It's covered with a piece of actual glass—scratch-resistant, of course—and you get an active tablet area of 11.9" x 8.9". (My particular unit had an acrylic cover, which I believe was simply a refurb. I've used two other PL500s that had glass covers.)

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