I've not tried the Bamboo, but I did have a really cheap pen tablet way back when, and there is no comparison. I'm not saying the Bamboo is "cheapo," but I'm guesing it is missing a lot of features you might wish you had.

One money saving alternative is to check for refurbished tablets on the Wacom site. That's how I got my Intuous II, and it has been flawless for almost five years now.