This was my first graphics tablet. I love the Wacom’s Intuos3! It preforms great and can usually be found for a decent price.
Along with the pen, the Intuos3 comes with its own special mouse. The unique mouse is wireless but will only work on the tablet. This allows you to treat your tablet as a mouse pad when you don’t wish to use the pen.
Since the 4x5inch model is a lot less expensive that is what I chose as my first tablet. Personally, I prefer a bigger tablet to draw with, but that is just my personal preference. Even though I upgraded to a 12x12inch later I still stayed with the Intuos3, because I knew I would be happy with its performance and it was much cheaper than buying a newer model.
I would definitely recommend this to people who are just starting out in the digital arts, because compared to other tablets at similar prices, this one will give you the most bang for your buck.