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That’s right… it’s the battle of 2019.
Cameo 3 vs Cameo 4.
Will it be worth the upgrade? Should current Cameo 3 users bother buying the brand new machine? What about Cricut fans — will it be worth making the jump over to Silhouette?
Here’s a quick look at how these machines will compare:
|Cameo 3||Cameo 4|
|Downward Force||221 grams||5,000 grams|
|Speed||3 x faster|
|Max Cut Size||12" x 10'||12" x 10'|
15" x 10' (Cameo Plus)
20" x 10' (Cameo Pro)
|AutoBlade?||AutoBlade||Single Tap AutoBlade|
|Automatic Tool Detection?||No||Yes|
|New Tool Compatibility?||No||Yes|
Let’s find out more…
Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Silhouette Cameo 4
The biggest way that the Cameo 4 diverges from the Cameo 3 is the amount of downward force this bad boy can generate.
A whopping 5kg of it, to be exact.
The Cameo 3, in contrast, has just a paltry 221 grams.
They barely compare!
So what does that mean in real terms?
Essentially, the Cameo 4 will be able to cut a lot more materials — including thicker substances like leather, matboard, craft foam and balsa wood.
Plus, the new cutter has a dual motor system for even more powerful cuts.
First point definitely goes to the Cameo 4.
One way that the Cameo 3 often fell behind its competitors like the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Maker was that its cuts felt quite slow and sluggish in comparison.
Well, it seems like Silhouette have been listening to our complaints…
The Cameo 4 will apparently cut at three times the speed of its predecessor.
That definitely doesn’t sound sluggish to us.
So, another point to the Cameo 4 — more powerful and faster than the 3.
We’re definitely excited…
Ease of Use
One of the most important parts of buying a new vinyl cutter is making sure that it’s the right machine for you — and that means that it works for you as well.
When we think of ‘ease of use’ as a feature, it normally means that the machine is intuitive to use, with a gentle learning curve and as many accessibility features as possible.
We’ve been playing around in the world of vinyl cutting for around a decade now but, of course, there will be plenty of people new to the industry. Ideally, the cutter will be able to cater to beginners as well as us who are a little more advanced.
Well, we’re happy to report that it looks as though Silhouette have taken accessibility seriously when it came to designing the Cameo 4.
There are a number of features installed to encourage ease of use, including:
- Single Tap Auto Blade — the AutoBlade will adjust to whatever material you’re using with just one single tap of your finger. Easy peasy!
- Automatic Tool Detection — the drive housing will automatically adjust to whatever tool you insert
- Weeding Tool — this bad boy will mark exactly where you need to weed once the machine’s done its cutting
- Touch Panel — quickly and efficiently modify your cuts from the easy touch panel
Now, we’re not saying that the Cameo 3 isn’t easy to use — in fact, it’s got a very gentle learning curve and is a fan favorite for that very reason.
It was pioneering when it was released thanks to the AutoBlade — although it’s fair to say that this has been one-upped with the Cameo 4’s Single Tap AutoBlade.
And there is a significant issue where the Cameo 3 comes out as easier to use than the Cameo 4 — and that’s with the dual carriage.
Both machines have a dual carriage which allow you use two tools at the same time, but the Cameo 4’s is powered by two different motors. This is intrinsically a good thing as it means the machine can use greater power and speed with different tools — but does make it a little inefficient in comparison.
Essentially, some tools will only work in the left carriage and others will only work in the right. So you can’t just use any two tools at the same time.
You can’t sketch and cut at the same time anymore, for instance, as both the AutoBlade and sketching pens can only be used in the left carriage. So you’ll have to do one pass with the blade, and then another with the pen.
It’s a good job the Cameo 4 is so much faster than the Cameo 3…
We’re going to rule ‘ease of use’ a draw for both machines as they both have pros and cons in this arena, so that makes it 3-1 to the latest cutter.
Another thing we look for in a new vinyl cutter is how versatile it is.
We already know that the new cutter can cut more materials thanks to its massive downward force, but it turns out that it’s got more going for it as well.
Silhouette have already announced that they’ll be releasing a brand new suite of tools to exclusively fit the brand new drive housing that the Cameo 4 will be fitted out with.
That means that these new tools will only fit the 4 and not the previous Cameos.
So what are these new tools?
We’ve only got the deets on three of them so far:
- The Rotary Blade for fabrics
- The Kraft Blade — we’re not 100% sure what this one’s for yet, although our instincts are telling us that it’s for thick materials and deep cuts
- Punch Tool — we assume for punching holes
These are due to be released some time in 2020, we believe.
One thing to be aware of is that the Cameo 4 will presumably require a tool adapter if you’re going to use it with the older Cameo tools. Thankfully, it comes with 4 blade adapters in the box.
4-1 to the Cameo 4…
When it comes down to the looks of the two machines, which one you prefer will be an entirely personal opinion.
As for us, we find the Cameo 4 to look a little… well, clunky, in comparison with the Cameo 3.
It’s got a large, industrial look to it with quite a hefty footprint — and that’s just the standard size. Imagine what the Cameo Plus and Pro will look like.
In comparison, the Cameo 3 is really quite sleek looking. We’re not saying that this is even remotely a deal breaker but it might be something to bear in mind.
At the time of writing, which is just as the Cameo 4 is released, it’s available in 3 core colors:
- Blush Pink
The Cameo 3, on the other hand, has been released in a slew of different colors and special editions — although this can mostly be attributed to just how long it’s been on the market. It could well be that Silhouette have got more colors planned for later Cameo 4 releases.
Another thing that we’re really excited about for the Cameo 4 is the fact that it will be released in two additional sizes next year:
- Cameo Plus: 15″ x 10′
- Cameo Pro: 20″ x 10′
Most crafters will likely be more than happy with the standard version already released (12″ x 10′) but for those of us who prefer a commercial size cutter — particularly if you’re running a cutting business — the bigger sizes will be hugely attractive.
We’ve already written in our review how the Cameo 4 is operating at a professional level but the additional sizes really do propel this from a hobbyist desktop cutter into something truly special.
Looks like it’s 5-2 to the Cameo 4!
One way that the Silhouette Cameo 3 is definitely more attractive than the Cameo 4 is in terms of price.
The MSRP of the new machine will be $299, whereas the Cameo 3’s MSRP is just $199.
Obviously, both are reasonably expensive, but the Cameo 3 is much cheaper.
If you’ve already got a Cameo 3, this won’t be as important to you. But if you’re wondering which one to buy, the Cameo 3 does represent a good deal, especially if you’re price sensitive.
Something to consider when it comes to price is whether the Cameo 4 is worth $100 more than the Cameo 3.
We think it is.
It’s clearly the superior machine in terms of features — and offers surprisingly good value for money in comparison to competitors like the Cricut Maker.
So while we’ll give the point to the Cameo 3, just on account of it being cheaper, we really do believe that the Cameo 4 more than warrants its slightly higher price.
Remember — this is an investment.
Cameo 3 vs Cameo 4: Conclusion
In almost every way, the Cameo 4 is a better machine than the Cameo 3.
And that’s really saying something as the Cameo 3 is already a good machine.
But with a huge amount more power, speed and versatility, the Silhouette Cameo 4 was always going to come out on top.
There are a couple of things that some people might prefer about the earlier machine — namely the fact that it’s cheaper, sleeker looking and is slightly more efficient when it comes to operating the dual carriage — but it would be hard to deny that the Cameo 4 is by far the better machine.
Who do you think will win out in the battle of Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cameo 4? 🤪