Warning- Long answer.
My friend Debbie has a wonderful form for Silhouette, blog & You Tube videos for the Silhouette: Paper Pulse Blog Spot
. I recommend her because it's a great starting point and great for advanced users too. You can get to the Silhouette Plus Forum and her You Tube videos from her blog.
You will hear a lot of reviews some good, some bad, some ugly, some distorted about the Cameo and Cricut. My best review on the Cameo vs Cricut. The Cricut is a Roland cutting machine. The Cameo is a Graphtec machine. Both these machines in a way do the same thing but mechanically they are made different. Graphtec machine was made for accuracy and the print/cut method. Roland machines were made for heavier duty materials so they are configured mathematically for heavier cutting methods.
If you want a machine that is almost 100% in cutting accuracy then you want a Graphtec. If you want a machine to cut heavier materials then you want a Roland. I want to add that Roland machines are not inaccurate for cutting but it will be able to handle the finer detail files that Graphtec machines can such as the intricate doilies that are tempting everyone to buy Cameos right now.
My first machine was a Wishblade. That is a Graphtec machine. My second machine was a Cricut. I was happy to have both at the time. I thought it was a good fit.
I own a Cameo now. I love my Cameo. My only cons are the ratchet blade system. I preferred the old blade system. There were some complaints about the blade system when Cameo first came out. I think those issues have been resolved. My only problem with the blade system is that you have to replace the whole housing and not the blade itself. I am a green girl so that makes me a bit put off about the Cameo. As you can see that is a minor and personal complaint. I think the housing is much better constructed than the old housing.
I think the Silhouette is fragile. It's a lightweight machine. I wish it was a bit more sturdier. My Gazelle is metal and heavy. That thing is well constructed. I don't have to worry if it decides to take a nose dive off my desk.
I recently packed away all my cutters except the Cameo. It has nothing to do with which machine I like better. I am just going on to different things in my art work. I love to fussy cut items. I went from die cutting to fussy cutting. I am doing all of this backwards, lol. I kept my Cameo so I can print out intricate designs and cut them. I will always have a fondness for my Cricut, even with the Cricut drama's. I am probably going to sell her but I am giving myself to this Fall before I decide.
OhMyCrafts always has the best deals for Silhouette. They are probably running a sale for Memorial Day. TwoPeas girls seem to have the best info on this. I bought mine from Overstock since I had a great coupon for it. I know a couple of people have gotten good deals on Amazon. Ebay is pretty blech for finding Cameo deals. The sellers are keeping the prices at retail.
Where should you start? Download the Silhouette Design Studio: Silhouette StudioŽ Designer Edition
. It's free to use. Watch some You Tube videos. You might find the software not a good fit for you. You do need the software to run this machine. If you don't think the Cameo might be a good fit for you then you can check out some of the other machines that are hot on the market right now like the Zing & Sizzix Eclips to get you a good starter feel for a machine that will fit your needs. There are a ton of machines out right now.