Today I got an email from Macmall with some pretty great deals on pen tablets and thought I would pass the savings on. Above is the Bamboo Fun. It is currently being sold for $40 (refurb) at Macmall and $50 new from various sellers on Amazon. Macmall is also offering the Intuos3 in 4x6 format for only $95! I think both are great deals, as is the $65 Bamboo Touch I saw on Amazon although it has been getting mixed reviews. It does look very sleek though and the appeal of a touch pad is pretty tempting.
Having used the Bamboo before I switched over to the Intuos3, I can tell you that for $40 it is a steal, even as a refurb. The Bamboo is great in that it is light, portable, and so well designed (it won 2 Red Dot design awards!) and is surprisingly sturdy. It also comes with a wireless mouse, a pen holder, extra nibs, a bunch of programs and if you use Vista, has a great journal application. All that for $40! The main reason I made the switch was because the medium sized Bamboo I had was too big, and the smaller sized Intuos3 was perfect. I also got a great deal where my Intuos was less than the cost of the medium sized Bamboo. Technically, it does have drawbacks such as half the sensitivity of an Intuos (the new Touch model has the same sensitivity levels) and lacked some features such as tilt. It wasn't a problem most of the time but when I do editing at work having a nice, straight line was non-negotiable. I did love the tactile feel of the Bamboo pen on the tablet, although nibs tend to wear faster.
The $95 Intuos3 is a great deal as well if you are looking for something more robust and professional. I must say that having made the switch I do not regret it one bit and that the Intuos really is a much better tablet and is more responsive. The ability to get straight lines in and of itself was enough for me to never look back. If you are an artist looking for a serious and dependable tool for graphic manipulation or do a lot of editing/photo/graphic work I'd say skip the Bamboo and get the Intuos, you won't regret it. If you are more of a casual user, are just starting out, in want of a new toy, not doing much graphic work, or hate your current tablet/pen/mouse then the Bamboo may be the one for you. At under $100 and $50 both are great tools to have at your disposal for not much investment. I swear, you will never go back to using a mouse again!
UPDATE: I picked one up today and am using it right now! It looks and works as if it were brand new. All packaging was immaculate. Such a good deal! The Macmall in Torrance had about 8 or so in stock in the store when I went.
Also I must say, service at Macmall retail locations can be hit or miss. The last time I was in there I had to wait FOREVER for someone to help me but today, despite it being a little busy, I was helped right away. I ended up spending almost an hour there trying to pay for my stuff (there was some drama about rebates and company checks and store credits and many calls back to work to see what the boss - aka my dad - wanted to do and him calling me back 15 minutes later after he changed his mind and much was lost in translation and and...) but Eric who was helping me was totally patient even though I was getting a little frustrated and in the end got everything resolved for me. He even helped me carry all my stuff to the car which was great! I highly recommend Macmall, especially if they are running specials. Be careful not to impulse shop though, I ended up getting more than I needed!