Silhouette Cameo 3 Review: Complete Guide to the New Cameo

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Good news, Cameo fans!

Did somebody say Upgrade Time?

Yep, Silhouette’s bestselling Cameo machine has had a major overhaul with the release of the brand new Silhouette Cameo 3.

UPDATE: Good news! The Cameo 3 is now available to order on Amazon. We’ve had some time to play with the machine and you can read our review below along with a comparison of how it stacks up vs. Cameo 2.

silhouette cameo 3 review

For those looking for the best prices on the Cameo 3, head straight to our bundle deals section.

Silhouette Cameo 3 Launch Guide

First introduced in October 2011, the Silhouette Cameo has captured the imagination of arts and crafts enthusiasts all over the world; giving us the freedom to design, cut, and create whatever we want. The latest addition to the Silhouette family was announced last month at the company’s Summit in Hawaii.

As you’d expect, news of a brand new Cameo has triggered much excitement in the blogosphere.

We’ve rounded up some of the initial feedback below, as well as a useful video of the new Cameo 3 features.

Blog Coverage of the Cameo 3 Release

  • Silhouette School Blog — A breakdown of the latest Silhouette products, as well as an insider video of the Cameo 3 direct from the summit.
  • Craft E Corner — Detailed photos show the inner workings of the new machine.
  • Silhouette UK Blog — Sneak peeks of the Cameo 3, plus photos of many of the new media features soon to be launched by Silhouette
  • Terri Johnson Creates — An excellent round up of Silhouette’s new products, including many exclusive photos and a nice video.

Here’s a nice breakdown of the Cameo 3’s major improvements, courtesy of the mycraftecorner1 YouTube channel.

Brand New Silhouette Studio 4.0

Another significant development with the Cameo 3 is the much-anticipated arrival of Silhouette Studio 4.0, software that promises to make life easier for those who might have previously been turned off by the studio’s dicey learning curve.

Silhouette Studio 4.0 encourages beginners with step-by-step walkthroughs for a variety of common tasks, plus interactive guides.

This will be complimented by a simpler and streamlined interface, including:

  • A freehand smoothing slider tool
  • Easier and improved tracing tools
  • Accurate cut time estimates
  • Object-on-path functionality

The software upgrade will be available free for all Cameo products, although some functionality will only work with the new Cameo 3.

Silhouette is clearly taking steps to reverse the criticism that its software is only for advanced users.

We’ll reserve judgement until we get to use it ourselves.

Silhouette Cameo 3 Specs

What’s in the Box?

  • Silhouette Cameo 3 cutting machine
  • Silhouette Studio software
  • Power cable and USB cable
  • 12″ cutting mat
  • AutoBlade cutting blade
  • Crosscutter
  • 1 month Basic subscription to the Silhouette Design Store
  • 100 free digital designs

What Materials Can it Work With?

The Silhouette Cameo 3 really is at the forefront of developments with desktop craft cutters.

It can cut over 100 different materials — that’s all the usual suspects plus a bunch that you’ve never even heard of. It’s amazingly versatile and definitely deserves its marketing slogan as “the ultimate DIY machine”.

We tried it out with paper, vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, cardstock, foil and foam and were pleased with the results — reliable and consistent.

Maximum Cutting Size

In the battle of Cameo 3 vs Explore Air 2, the Cameo really stands out for its much increased cutting size.

It can cut up to a maximum of 12 inches wide by a mighty 10 feet long. We loved using it for small designs as well as for larger signage projects.

Software

Despite promises that Silhouette Studio 4.0 would be released in tandem with the Cameo 3, as of November 2016 it was still delayed.

This is quite disappointing as the new version promises a lot of positive change and is presenting itself as better for beginners than previous iterations.

Thankfully, there is now a patch available to set up the Bluetooth connection for your Cameo 3. Check out this tutorial to enable it.

There is also a mobile app — compatible with both iOS and Android — that will be particularly useful when all the features of Silhouette Studio 4.0 are here (like Bluetooth and the Silhouette Cloud).

cameo 3 vs explore air 2

Silhouette Cameo 3 Review

All things considered, we’re impressed with the Cameo 3.

It builds on the success of the previous models with some key new features, as well as a few cosmetic improvements that are ‘nice’ without being spectacular.

Cameo 3 vs Cameo 2

 Cameo 3Cameo 2
ImageSilhouette Cameo 3 Reviewcameo 3 vs cameo 2
Auto-adjusting blade?Yes: AutoBladeNo
Dual Carriage?YesNo
Bluetooth Enabled?YesNo
Price>> Check Best Price on Amazon>> Check Best Price on Amazon

Here’s our take on the pros and cons of the Silhouette Cameo 3.

The Positives

The AutoBlade is a Big Win

This is going to make a lot of Cameo users very happy.

No longer do you have to manually adjust cutting depths and hope that you remember for each cut.

By using the AutoBlade setting (one of three, the others being Standard and Deep Cut), the blade settings will be automatically calibrated based on the material you are working with.

This will appeal to nearly everybody who uses the Cameo 3, both the experienced operators who sometimes forget to change the blade depth, and beginners who aren’t sure what the best setting should be in the first place. As a result, the machine’s learning curve is sped up considerably.

To use AutoBlade, you simply tell the software what material you are cutting, select AutoBlade, and let the machine handle the rest.

From our testing, the cuts were excellent quality across each blade setting.

Our rolls of vinyl were sliced and diced to perfection. No reliability issues to report.

Cutting Clearance is Doubled

The Cameo 3’s cutting clearance has risen from a lowly 0.8mm to 2mm.

With the addition of a Deep Cut Blade, this improves the cutter’s effectiveness working on thicker materials. However, as we will get to in our negatives, there is a caveat: the cutting force remains weak.

The Dual Carriage Work Well

While we don’t tend to draw and cut too often, we know many users do — and the dual carriage is one of the nice features of the Cricut Explore series. It also scores and cuts at the same time too.

The Cameo 3 hops onboard with its own dual carriages, and they work very well.

They also make use of the new push locking mechanism, a significant improvement on the unwieldy twist mechanisms of previous machines.

Anything that makes craft cutting a more efficient experience is a huge win in our books.

It Looks Beautiful

silhouette cameo 3 review

Forgive us, but we are suckers for the sleek and shiny.

The Cameo 3 is a beautiful cutting machine that is a pleasure to unbox.

You know that feeling of tearing open a brand new Apple product?

Silhouette provides similar tingles for Craft fans. In fact, there’s something rather Jony Ive about the clean minimalism of this model. It will look beautiful on your desktop.

Incremental User Experience Improvements

The small touches add up to a significantly improved user experience over the Cameo 2.

Some of the new tweaks we liked:

  • Media guides on the slide-out tray — In addition to an extended platform, the new media lines are a useful marker for feeding the Cameo.
  • Touchscreen improvements — The audio alerts took us by surprise, even though we had heard about them during our pre-launch research. The touchscreen interface has been simplified in a way that is clearly targeted at eliminating user errors and reassuring beginners.
  • New storage compartments — Space is at a premium in our office, so the brand new compartments for the cross cutter and additional work supplies are a nice touch. A nod from Silhouette to the sheer mess their machines create. 😉
  • Roller locking mechanism — Slide to lock, slide to unlock. Why didn’t they think of this the first time round?!

The Negatives

No Upgrade to Cutting Force

If you were hoping for some extra oomph in terms of cutting power, you’ll be disappointed. The Cameo 3 has the same 221 g/s that was built in to the last model.

This lags behind other top cutters and means that thicker materials such as chipboard, leather and metal are still out of the Cameo’s cutting depth range.

However, it was always optimistic to hope for super-deep-cutting.

Where is Silhouette Studio 4.0?

The Cameo 3 has been released, but the software is still nowhere to be seen.

We haven’t heard of an official release date for Studio V4 and it seems like a misstep to release a new cutter boasting software that isn’t yet available.

We hope the release is within weeks, not months.

Overall Verdict on Cameo 3

A raft of incremental improvements in the Cameo 3 and some key additions — particularly the AutoBlade and dual carriages – offset the disappointment that the cutting force is still restrictive.

That said, 90% of vinyl craft fans will get exactly what they want and need out of this machine.

It’s a highly polished cutter.

We look forward to seeing how the new Silhouette Studio 4.0 improves the overall experience.

Looking for a good deal on the Cameo 3?

silhouette cameo 3 review

Where to Buy the Cameo 3

If you’re looking for some of the best Cameo 3 deals, then look no further than Amazon.

Best Cameo 3 Bundle Deals

If there’s one thing we love about the launch of a new machine, it’s the onslaught of bundle deals that can add some terrific value to an already excellent package.

Well, the release of the Silhouette Cameo 3 is no exception.

Here are some of the best Cameo 3 bundle deals:

Please note, these offerings are only available on the US version of Amazon.

The Cameo Bluetooth Starter Bundle

Cameo 3 bluetooth starter bundle

This deal includes the brand new Cameo Silhouette 3 with Bluetooth, Touchscreen and 1 Year Warranty.

You’ll also receive: 24 Sheets of Permanent Oracal 651 Vinyl, an AutoBlade trimmer, an online guide and class, plus 100 exclusive designs with one month access to the Silhouette design store.

cameo 3 review

The Cameo Sketch Pen / PixScan Starter Bundle

Cameo3 Pixscan bundle deal

The Sketch Pen / PixScan bundle includes the new Silhouette Cameo 3 machine, 8 sheets of vinyl, 2 feet of transfer paper, 12 exclusive Craft-e-Corner vinyl designs (complete with 12 full project tutorials), inspiration/tips/tricks for working with vinyl, a 4-pack of metallic sketch pens. Plus a hook, scraper, spatula, quick-pick-up tool; and the 12 inch Cameo PixScan Mat.

cameo 3 review

The Original Cameo 3 Starter Bundle

Cameo 3 best bundle deals

The default and bestselling Cameo 3 bundle comes with the brand new cutting machine, Silhouette Studio software, power cable and USB cable, 12-Inch cutting mat plus the autoblade cutting blade.

cameo 3 review

Cameo 3 and Siser Easyweed Heat Transfer Bundle

The Cameo 3 heat transfer bundle

Interested in creating your own t-shirt designs?

This special Cameo 3 heat transfer bundle comes with the standard machine, 12 top colors of Siser Easyweed Heat Transfer (12 x 15 inches), plus a heat transfer guide and online class so that you can get up and running in no time at all.

cameo 3 review

Silhouette Cameo Pro Bundle for Home Businesses

The Silhouette Pro Bundle

This bundle is more expensive, but it certainly packs a lot of value in to the set.

The kit includes: the new Cameo machine, 3 Full Foot Rolls of Transfer Paper, 3 Full Rolls of White Vinyl, 1 auto-adjusting Blade, 3 fabric cutting blades, 5 additional cutting blades, a bottle of glass etching cream, starter tool kit (including a hook, scraper, spatula, ruler, microfiber cloth), and a special vinyl trimmer.

You also get access to the online beginner class led by Silhouette Guru Melissa Viscount.

A good option for anybody buying the Cameo 3 with intentions of launching their own home business.

cameo 3 review

Clearly, there is no shortage of mix and match deals for those looking for the perfect Cameo starter bundle!

Check through the options above and see which deal appeals to your needs.

New Silhouette Products for 2016/17

Looking beyond the release of the Cameo 3, Silhouette are gearing up for some major additions to their product line, right across the board.

The latest Summit unveiled a huge array of new products, starter kits and upgrades:

  • Cameo light tote – Grey, Green
  • Curio dust cover – Grey, Blue
  • Whiteboard vinyl
  • Printable vinyl
  • Printable window cling materials – White, Clear
  • Duct tape sheets – Grey, White
  • Wood paper sheets – Dark, light, grey
  • Cork sheets
  • Leatherette sheets
  • Wash-away fabric stabilizer

New Silhouette Starter Kits for 2016/17

  • Sticker sampler pack
  • Vinyl starter pack – Basic, Neutral
  • Vinyl sampler pack – Bright & Bold
  • Chalkboard sampler kit
  • Chalkboard cardstock

New Cameo 3 Related Products

  • Cameo 3 – Bluetooth edition
  • Cameo 3 – Standard edition
  • Cameo 3 AutobBlade
  • Cameo 3 tote (reset)
  • Cameo 3 light tote – Grey
  • Cameo 3 dust cover – Grey, Pink

Other Updated Silhouette Products

  • Sketch pen starter kit
  • Neon sketch pen pack
  • Natural sketch pen pack
  • Metallic sketch pen pack
  • Washi sheets
  • Rose gold foil – Printable
  • Scratch-off sticker sheets – Gold, Printable
  • Metallic vinyl – Gold, Silver (9 in x 10 ft)
  • Metallic vinyl – Gold, Silver (12 in x 10 ft)
  • Metallic heat transfer – Gold, Silver, Pink, Mint (12 in x 36 in)
  • Stencil material sheets – Adhesive, Non-Adhesive
  • Clear transfer tape – 9 in, 12 in

Release list source: Silhouette School Blog

So… lots to look forward to from Silhouette in the next 12 months!

 

What do you think of the new Silhouette Cameo 3 machine?

A strong update? Or will you be sticking with your Cameo 2, Cricut Explore, etc?


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