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April 24, 2003|By Mike Himowitz

Belkin pen too dazzling for pocket protectors

Once upon a time, you could impress other status-seekers by jotting down your appointments with a $300 Mont Blanc pen. But in today's world of PDAs and Geek Chic, an old fashioned ballpoint won't cut it - no matter the price tag.

So, if you're an electronic road warrior, consider Belkin's Quadra 4-in-1 pen. It's only 20 bucks, but it's guaranteed to have the other geeks drooling with envy.

Twist the sleek aluminum barrel one way, and out pops a ballpoint tip. Twist it the other way, and out pops a plastic stylus for your PDA.

But the cool stuff happens when you flip the pen around and play with two silvery buttons on the barrel. One turns the Quadra into an LED flashlight that's remarkably bright for its size. The other zaps out a laser pointer beam with a 500-yard range.

The only problem I had was getting was getting the four tiny, flat batteries to slip into the barrel facing the right direction. Also, be careful to avoid pushing the laser-pointer button accidentally - say, when you're looking down at the pen and fumbling in your shirt pocket. Those caveats aside, the Quadra is a fun and useful addition to any gadget bag.

Information: www.belkin .com or 800-223-5546.

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