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Happy new year! I'm in the market for a tablet/stylus, not sure what to call it and I was thinking you all might have some good suggestions based on your experience.
I know your original post is from awhile back, but I just stumbled upon it and thought I'd put in my two cents in case you're still looking for information :)
I bought my first graphics tablet about a year ago after doing TONS of research. I didn't have a whole lot of money to spend, so I wanted something that was good quality for a good price. What I ended up with was a tablet from a brand called Monoprice. It's not one of the well-known brands of tablets (you may have heard of Wacom, which is the tablet brand that's supposedly "the best" and is also super expensive) but I chose it because of the size and the stellar reviews. Most tablets have a drawing surface that is quite small -- which doesn't allow you to replicate the movements/process of drawing on paper. The tablet I purchased has a 12" x 9" drawing surface, which is huge as far as tablets go, comes with a pen-like stylus, and plugs into your computer via USB...works right out of the box in Photoshop and Illustrator. I couldn't be happier with it so far. Here's what it looks like:
Price-wise, it's at the higher end of Monoprice tablets at $89, but that's a steal compared to other tablet brands. There's also smaller, less-expensive options available through the website. Here's a link if you're interested: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10841&cs_id=1084101&p_id=6815&seq=1&format=1#largeimage
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