I got a Graphire2 back around 2004, and it's been the most solid, dependable pointer/mouse I've ever had. I gave one to my mother; she paints murals, and uses hers almost constantly to draw sketches and proposals. She said that being able to draw on a photo of the location was a real plus, she can give her customers an idea of what the finished product will look like.
The only times I had problems with the tablet turned out to have some external cause; once was a corrupted driver (OLD and kludgy computer) and more recently getting into Ham radio. (The first antenna I used was even more of a kludge than the computer. 40 meter really seems to mess with the tablet the most, 20 less so, 15 meter no problem. I don't have enough room to put up an antenna for 80 meter, so I don't get on that band much.)
Sadly Wacom discontinued the Graphire series some time ago. I haven't checked to see if they have something in the same price range, IIRC they were around a hundred bucks.