People say that Wacom tablets are way above the competition, but I thought it was just hype until I got this one. I used to have a Trust tablet that cost half the price, and though I liked it, after a while little flaws made me drift back to the mouse. I liked using a pen, but it slipped, double-clicking was almost impossible, the buttons and grip weren't quite right, it felt clumsy, and it didn't totally gel with the software I used.
This one, however, is seriously, seriously good. It feels solid. The grip is perfect - there's loads of ways to hold the pen where the buttons are in just the right place. The tablet feels surprisingly like real paper to draw on, and doesn't slip. It just works with most programs. It's even quite easy to double-click. Oh, and no batteries in the pen is a handy little bonus.
Best of all, there's loads of options for what to do with the buttons. How I've got mine set up, to give you an idea, is on my laptop which I mostly use for internet the arrow keys on the tablet are 'back' and 'forward', and holding down the spare button on the pen turns the pen into a handy grab-and-scroll thing like the 'hand' with .pdf files. On my main computer which I use mostly for design on Photoshop, I've got the arrow keys set for the keyboard shortcuts for 'step forward' and 'step backward' (undo/redo), and the spare button brings up a customised menu that triggers the keyboard shortcuts for all my most-often used commands, like new layer, fill, colour balance, etc etc. It's massively increased how natural and pleasurable design work feels, and I think the quality of what I do has increased noticabley as well. The other two buttons I've kept as the defaults, which are show desktop (gets everything out of the way straight away) and switch between programs (really handy if you ever do more than one thing at once).
It sounds silly, but it makes a big difference being able to lean back at your desk with the tablet on your lap and still be able to do most of the things you want instantly. It makes using a computer more pleasurable and leisurely, and it feels like less of a chore.
The only minor disappointment is the ring in the middle. It's handy, but it's not quite as good as I'd hoped. The zoom ring is a bit clunky - it's not a smooth zoom in and out, but instead it does it in jumps so it's hard to get the amount just right. The scroll up and down is also clunky for more or less the same reason - it's hard to press with just the right amount of pressure. It'd probably have been better if they'd just used normal buttons instead. That said, it can't be all bad because I do still use them both from time to time. Better than nothing, but don't expect a miracle.
Finally it's worth mentioning the software that comes with it. When mine arrived it actually had software better than what was advertised (Photoshop Elements 6 for both Mac and PC, and ArtRage 2.5). I've not tried ArtRage yet but PS Elements 6 is actually really, really good, and has replaced the full version of Photoshop on my laptop. Annoyingly you can't define keyboard shortcuts with it, but for drawing with the tablet it's got a really great feature where you can change what different amounts of pressure from the pen do (for example, size of brush, opacity, scatter, a few others or any combination of the above). It's also got most of the classic features of full Photoshop (including save for web, curves, levels, most filters, etc etc) although some of them have different names and different presentation, and it's only really missing recordable actions, definable keyboard shortcuts, some of the fancy modern features of recent versions, and most of the advanced features for precise calibration with printers, so far as I could see. I personally think it's better laid out, and if you're new to photoshop it's a thousand times more beginner-friendly. Bargain!
Finally, if you're trying to chose between this and the slightly cheaper, older, black 'Wacom Bamboo' model, as far as I could tell they're the same, except the other one comes with no free software and has an eraser on the back that isn't pressure sensitive. This one's eraser is just as pressure sensitive as the pen nib. If you're definitely never going to do any drawing with it, the other one's probably a better deal. If you might (and you really should at least give it a try), go with this one.