Since I've recently got to use Intuos 4 M tablet. Simply put – it's AWESOME. So I've decided to compare it to my previous Bamboo and, partially for fun and partially cuz I was curious, to a typical mouse. Results...you can see them above on this INSANELY big pile of drawings. But if you are interested in my own view on them, here you go:
Intuos 4 rubber actually has pressure levels while Bamboo does not. That's why you can see that erased parts on Intuos get bigger and bigger while on it's cheaper brother they stay the same.
As for the eye – Intuos is bigger (A5 so good for drawing) and has 2048 pressure levels compared to 512 of Bamboo. That's why it looks a bit more fluent. Last test was just trying to draw smaller and smaller lines.
Mouse... it simply looks terrible.
Test #2 – Circles:
I would once again give an edge to Intuous. More succesfully drawn circles, no „spirals”. Mouse, again, is useless.
Test #3 – Lines:
Comparable, I liked both of them. Unless you use mouse.
Test #4 – Squares, wings, spirals:
Squares are basically the same for both, for wings – I would rate Intuos 4 higher as it's a bit smoother compared to Bamboo. Same with spirals.
Test #5 – Join the dots:
Single fast lines from one point to another. As you can see, Intuos is having advantage cuz it's twice as big and you don't make lines too long or too short (or at least, not to the same extent). To be honest though, only Cintiq gets perfect score on that if we are using harder test than 11 simple lines...
Test #6 – Writing:
Yes, i know that my handwriting is terrible. Once and for all though – Intuos. Letters are easier to keep up in the line. Mouse is of course useless.
FAQ and my final view:
„But I draw something awesome even on a simple mouse” - Yes, you do. But you do it... slower. Much slower. To be honest, even a difference between Intuos and Bamboo is gigantic for me. Lines are naturally smoother, you have more pressure levels, eraser is more accurate. A big part of it is the fact that Bamboo is A6 while Intuos 4 M is A5 (there are A5 Bamboo's though I have yet to test one).
So size matters. To a certain margin – A5 is optimum imho. Going for A4 will make your hand tire a lot. On the other hand – A6 isn't so bad. I've used it for a long time and it's not impossible to work with it.
As for the mouse – it's like trolling. Sure you can. But what's better – having multiple pressure levels so you can accurately place lines, make them smooth or use something that isn't really designed for drawing that can only put full size line or none at all?
So if you seriously want to draw digital stuff – get a tablet. As you could see even the cheapest Bamboo is INFINITELY times better than mouse. It's like comparing beginner swimmer to a dolphin.