I bit the bullet and I got one. An Intuos 4, in the small size. First feedback is really, really good. I like the responsiveness and precision. I'm still getting used to the absolute positioning. With a mouse, you can lift and re-position the mouse, so you are always working in exactly the same area on the table, even though you could be anywhere on the screen. With a tablet, if you are working in the top right corner of the screen, you must be in the top right corner of the tablet. But once I get used to that, I think I'm going to be one of those folks that throws out the mouse and doesn't look back.
The Intuos 4 comes with a mouse with 5 buttons and a selection of alternate pen tips for different feedback when painting. But I can't paint, so the tips aren't so important for me. The default settings for the mouse needed immediate adjustment as the mouse was set to be unresponsive and slow. Once I adjusted it to be a little faster, it was fine. I'm still not going to be a mouse user after a while. The tablet is just too easy to use and it's easier to control than a mouse. Oddly enough, what I miss most on the mouse is the sound of the click. The tablet is silent.
I like the way I could set buttons on the side of the pen for specific clicks and how the touch ring on the tablet itself can be set to do different things as well. I've tried the tablet with Photoshop CS3, and I had to adjust a couple of the settings. I can zoom in or out with the touch ring and I'd set it for too much response when I moved my finger slightly. I'd try for 100% and get 1200% and be looking at fifteen pixels, filling half the screen.
There was a lot of thought and effort put into the design. One of my worries was that I'd need to be moving my left hand all over the place, hitting buttons on the tablet and then going back to the keyboard to hit a specific shortcut. But I can program the buttons on the tablet to do the majority of the keyboard shortcuts that I will need. It's going to take a bit of time before I select which ones I want where and then I'm going to have to memorize them. There isn't an easy way to mark the buttons and there are six of them. I used to keep a cheat sheet tucked under my programmable trackball. I think there will be a cheat sheet under this tablet.
Do I recommend that you dash out and get a tablet? Yes. You might not want this one, with all the bells and whistles, but the Bamboo Fun at $99 (list) would be an excellent option.