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Here's Our Cameo 3 Review.
So Silhouette has finally released its Cameo 3 die cutting machine. And at first we said, “yaaaay!!” But now….we say, “Really, Silhouette?! Really?”
We wanted to hold off on this guide until the new Silhouette Studio 4.0 software was released…..but since that seems like it will never happen, we decided to publish our review anyway!
So what’s the deal with the new machine? Is it really that different from the old one?
Actually, yes it is quite different. Silhouette has added a number of new features to the Cameo 3 and they have finally brought it up to date.
Keep reading for our Silhouette Cameo 3 review and to see how it compares to the Cameo 2.
So . . . what is our Silhouette Cameo 3 Review?
Overall, we have to say that Silhouette has brought some really convenient features to this machine. Here are our favorites.
Auto Blade: In the older versions of the Cameo, you have to manually set the blade before each job, but now the machine comes with an auto blade that does this automatically. You can still use your old blades though. (See the cons section)
Extra Storage: Along the top edge and below the cutting platform, there are storage trays. They are big enough to hold your extra blades, sketch pens, tweezers, and whatever other small tools you need. You can also extend the cutting platform by pulling out the tabs beside the bottom storage drawers.
Dual Blade Holder: You can put two blades in the machine and cut with both on a single pass. You can adjust the depth of each blade separately. If you like to make stickers, this is an awesome feature. It is also useful for sketching and cutting at the same time.
Cross Cutting Tool: The Cameo 3 makes it much easier to cut long pieces of vinyl, fabric, and other media. It comes with a small blade and a built in cutting tray. Just slide the blade along the track and you are good to go.
Touch Screen: Hallelujah, there is a touchscreen! You can navigate the device’s menu and even get some helpful tutorials, with the press of a button. For now, we even like the loud “click” the machine makes when you touch a button. 😀 …..but it might get annoying after a while.
Auto Load: The older Silhouettes require you to manually tell it if you are loading a cutting mat or just the medium by itself. Now, the Cameo 3 automatically makes that determination for you based on the settings you select in the Studio software. If you have ever been on autopilot and hit the wrong button….then had to unload & reload your project again, you will understand how convenient this really is.
Optional Bluetooth: You can choose to use the machine with a standard USB cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. We appreciate the option, since there are some connectivity issues in the firmware. It’s hard to keep it from disconnecting from the bluetooth.
Tiny Multi-tool: The Cameo 3 also comes with a multi-tool which allows you to manually adjust the blade and remove the blade cap, plus access the bluetooth button. It’s great to have all these features combined into one, but the multi-tool is so thin and tiny that it almost looks like leftover plastic from the manufacturing process. Good thing there is built in storage, because we would definitely lose this tool otherwise. (Actually, we are probably going to lose it anyway.)
We appreciate a lot of the features on the new Silhouette Cameo 3, but we are pretty disappointed about several issues. Here is why we say, “Really Silhouette?!”
Same Ol’ Cutting Force: Even if you use a deep-cutting blade, you still can’t cut thick materials like leather or metal. The machine seems to have exactly the same amount of cutting power as the older models. We would have like to see a bit more pressure and depth.
Heavy & Large: If you have tons of space in your craft room, this might not be an issue for you. But instead of making the machine sleeker than its predecessor, the Silhouette is even bulkier. It weighs 9lbs and is 2 inches wider than the Cameo 2!
Replacement Blades Still Expensive: We switched over to non-branded blades as soon as the first blades on our Silhouette Portrait and original Silhouette Cameo dulled. There is no reason to keep paying $10-15 for each blade. You can click here to check if the CB09 blades are on Amazon (they are often out of stock) or you can go to Aliexpress and do a search. (Hint: Make sure you order at least one blade holder, not just the blades themselves) The CB09 blades absolutely work as well as the Silhouette ones, but it does take a few trials to understand how they work.
Still Loud: We recognize that all the cutting machines are loud. But so were computer printers back in the day. If a printer can be whisper quiet now, why can’t these cutting machines at least come down to a few decibels below screeching?
Buggy Software Issues: Since the Cameo 3 is designed to work with Silhouette Studio 4.0, it gets buggy and freaks out randomly with the older versions of SS. That wouldn’t be a problem except the new software isn’t out yet. Its release date has been pushed back twice already. Now it is December and there is still no word about when it might come out.
Overall, we have to say that the Silhouette Cameo 3 is thoughtfully designed. It is such an upgrade from the Cameo 2. And the original Cameo? What a pain. We are glad that Silhouette has finally started to listen to feedback from users.
On the Cameo 3, everything from the power cord threader to the storage trays is well thought out. It is clear that the competition from the Cricut Explore 2 has encouraged Silhouette to step up their game. Who ever said that competition hurts the free market?
However, the Cameo 3 is big and loud, with an equally big price tag. If you do a lot of cutting, then the Cameo 3 might be worth it. If not, have you thought about just getting a Silhouette Portrait? The price tag is significantly less. You cannot emboss with the Portrait, though, so we can understand the appeal of a bigger machine.
BUT – and this is a big but, (hehe big butt), without the Silhouette Studio 4.0 software, we cannot say that the Cameo 3 is such a great improvement that it is worth ditching your current machine.