bamboo is fine for most general use, for serious graphic work then [skintish] graphire or intuos if not so [skintish], i wouldnt waste money on anything else, tablets do take a little effort to get used to but i find i speed my design workflow up 50% at least.
They take a bit of getting used to but become intuitive to use quickly. The beauty is that they can be pressure sensitive. I would only recommend getting one for use with Photoshop and 3d modelling/CAD applications. And then only for really detailed work. There's really no point in forking out the cash to use one as a glorified mouse.