So I splurged and ordered a tablet from Monoprice. And before you start laughing at the prospect of an off brand tablet, consider this:
It's getting better reviews than Wacom Bamboo tablets and is less than $50 for a 10" x 6.25" tablet. This comes with a pen as well, though you'll want to spend $9 for the nicer version.
It also sports twice the resolution and a higher report rate than a bamboo tablet more than twice the price.
The tablet just arrived, and I'm rather impressed. Sadly, they didn't include the extra nubs I paid for, but that's only $1, so I'm not terribly upset. Plus the upgraded pen comes with a couple extra nubs anyway.
My first reaction is that it's way more comfortable than a mouse. Even plinking around on the desktop and inside applications. Part of this is the natural position I sit in when I place it on my lap. It also has a set of short cuts and hot buttons that are all programmable (for things like coy, paste, save, etc).
I'm currently setting up an art workstation that will be used only for doing designs and 3d work, as my current workstation has too many things around it to place this (rather large) tablet in a permanent spot.
While it's definitely going to take some getting use to, I'm already seen a comfortable improvement in gimp, and the amount of time I'll save in zbrush using the pressure sensitivity instead of manually adjusting brush and stroke strength is already pretty big.
The fact that it's super comfortable to scoot around the Mechwarrior Online interface is a great bonus.
If anyone is interested in giving the tablet a spin, you can purchase it from here:
Monoprice 6814 Graphics Tablet