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It’s Time For A Desktop Cutting Revolution
Have you heard the latest news going around in the arts and crafts community?
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is finally here!
We’ve all been patiently waiting for this moment for quite some time now – Silhouette took its sweet time in designing the newest addition to the family. And considering the incredible success that they had with the Cameo 3, it’s no surprise:
The brand wanted to ensure that the next move they make counts – and started a full-blown desktop cutting revolution along the way, too.
So, whether you’re here to see what’s new or get an up-close-and-personal view of the machine, you’ll find your answers here, in my in-depth Silhouette Cameo 4 review.
From the brief, but essential Silhouette Cameo 3 vs. Cameo 4 comparison to a detailed analysis of its upgraded features and performance, I covered it all.
Let’s not waste any more time – we’ve waited long enough for the new Cameo 4!
Silhouette Cameo 4: Is It Time To Retire Your Cameo 3?
To say that crafters and DIY enthusiasts eagerly expected the new-and-improved version would be an understatement. As good as the Cameo 3 was, everyone was waiting for Silhouette’s next move – and what a move it was!
Let me introduce you to the new Silhouette Cameo 4:
The launch caused quite a hype – but it raised a few questions, as well.
What does this new release mean for those who already own the Cameo 3, and are generally happy with the performance of their current cutting machine?
Should they upgrade?
And what about Cricut users?
Will the Cameo 4 be enough to make them switch to Silhouette?
The biggest questions, however, seems to be:
How does the Cameo 4 stack up against its well-respected predecessor, the Cameo 3?
The improvements are enormous – and at times, even jaw-dropping – but I’ll try to sum them up in three key points:
- It’s More Powerful – The issue that seemed to pop up quite often when comparing the Cameo 3 with other cutting machines, especially Cricut models, was its evident lack of power. Packing a mighty punch and delivering an outstanding 5 kilograms of downward force, the Cameo 4 isn’t only upgraded – it’s worlds apart.
- It Cuts Faster – As announced by Silhouette, Cameo 4 is capable of handling all your cutting tasks up to three times faster than its predecessor.
- It’s Easier To Use – The new features present in the Cameo 4 take user-friendliness to a whole new level. From the automatic tool detection and single-tap AutoBlade to the integrated roll feed and the touch panel, everything’s about accessibility, improved visibility, and ease of use.
That’s it for now – this is only a brief overview of the essential upgrades and improvements. Plus, I think this is more than enough to give you a taste of what the Cameo 4 brings to the table.
The Cameo 4 is a superior cutting machine – as you’ll see later on in the review – and while it might be worth every penny, that doesn’t make it affordable.
Price-wise, it goes neck-to-neck with its main competitor, the Cricut Maker.
For those who aren’t looking to trade in their current Silhouette Cameo model for a new one, this might not matter as much. However, those who are on the market for a new cutting machine might appreciate the heads up.
On that note, if you’re working with a limited budget and you don’t necessarily need the extra boost in cutting performance, you might be better off sticking with Cameo 3, instead.
Here’s a reminder of what the Cameo 3 offers:
Silhouette Cameo 4 At A Glance: Grades Table
If you’re in a rush, these are the basics – an overview of the cutting machine’s performance, as shown in the table below.
|Silhouette Cameo 4 Review|
|Ease of Use||5/5|
|Value for Money||4.8/5|
Those would be my personal opinions and first impressions about the cutter’s main features. If you want to learn more about the aspects of its performance that led to these stellar grades, read my complete Silhouette Cameo 4 review!
The Silhouette Cameo 4 Review: An Honest & Unbiased Look
In the efforts to get to know the Cameo 4 a bit better, I gave its features and functionality as thorough of testing as I could in this short amount of time. And now, I’m about to share my findings with you – the good and the bad.
But before we dive into my Silhouette Cameo 4 review, I’d like to point something out:
The Silhouette Cameo 4 is still „fresh“ – and so are my impressions.
So, if you catch me referencing the Silhouette Cameo 3 a lot, and comparing the two, keep in mind that one was designed as a direct improvement of the other. Using the Cameo 3 as a reference point will not only help me get my point across but make it easier for you to put things in perspective, too.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s get straight to business!
Design & First Impressions
Call me shallow if you will, but the first thing that struck me right out of the box was the overall design of the Cameo 4. I was a huge fan of how the Cameo 3 was designed, with its sleek and modern-looking form, and I couldn’t help but notice the step back in the design department:
At the risk of sounding petty, the Cameo 4 seems to nowhere near as good-looking as its predecessor.
Despite it being relatively similar in size – measuring 22.4 x 7.9 x 6.7 inches – it somehow manages to appear bulky and boxy. And the fact that it weighs 14 pounds doesn’t help its case, either.
However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the redesign was somewhat „forced“ for lack of a better word. By taking a slightly different approach to design, Silhouette made way for several notable additions.
The first noticeable step-up is that Cameo 4 comes with a retractable lid. Finding the perfect spot for your cutting machine with sufficient overhead clearance is no longer an issue.
Then, there’s the addition of an integrated cross cutter, located on the back of the unit, and a pull-out roll feeder, which can fit rolls that are up to 150 feet long.
Here’s that built-in cross cutter I mentioned:
And if you’re wondering what happened to the LCD touch screen, know that it’s been replaced by a backlit touch panel with all the necessary controls. The interface „disappears“ when you turn off the machine, which is a nice touch, too.
Oh, and one more thing:
The Cameo 4 will be released in two more sizes! So, if the standard 12-inch cutting width doesn’t quite do it for you, know that the 15-inch and 20-inch versions are coming sometime next year.
Stand-Out Features & Functionality
The two things that give the Cameo 4 an edge over the previous models – its unparalleled speed and unprecedented power – both stem from the same feature:
A dual-motor system now drives the dual carriage.
The first carriage is the one behind the machine’s speed. Powered by a solenoid motor, it’s what gives the Cameo 4 the ability to perform all those intricate cuts and sketches up to three times faster than before.
The second carriage – the one on the right – is operated by a completely different motor, and is the source of the cutter’s unmatched power.
But as helpful as the addition of a second motor might be, it turned out to be a double-edged sword. I was beyond excited at the prospects of having the power and the speed of a dual carriage run by two separate motors at my disposal, only to learn that it doesn’t quite work as I imagined.
Because they’re both driven by two separate motors, each carriage ended up being reserved for specific tools only:
The AutoBlade, sketch pens, and other blades can only go into the left carriage, with the right carriage only accepting specialty tools – such as Silhouette’s new Rotary and Kraft blades.
See the Rotary Blade in action here:
As a result, you no longer have the option to sketch and cut or cut with two different blades loaded in each one, as you could with the Cameo 3. Now, you have to swap the tools in the left carriage between each pass.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but it will take some time to get used to this new setup.
On the plus side, the dual carriage comes with the Tool Type Detection feature:
It uses the tool sensor technology to detect which tool you loaded into the carriage, and adjust the settings accordingly – without you having to mess around with the Silhouette Studio settings.
Here’s the exclusive Kraft Blade in action:
When the Cameo 3 first came out and introduced the AutoBlade feature, it was a game-changer – and I was beyond pleased to see this technology make its way over to Cameo 4. What we have here is still the Silhouette’s signature cutting tool we all came to know and love – but redesigned.
What’s new, you ask?
It still detects the cut settings and adjusts the cutting depth automatically according to the material used, but it was reconfigured to include a single-tap reset. All it takes is a single tap, and the tool will adjust to the correct cutting depth, making this feature both faster and more intuitive, as well.
Of course, the round-up of its impressive features doesn’t end there. Silhouette went all out with the Cameo 4, making it as high-end and advanced as possible – but kept some its predecessor’s functionality, too:
- Bluetooth-enabled wireless connectivity
- Compatibility with PixScan technology
- Compatibility with the Print & Cut feature
- Optional matless cutting
Why fix it if it’s not broken, right?
Cutting Performance & Versatility
Hands down, the two most talked-about aspects of its performance – and the most significant selling points of the Cameo 4 – were its increased speed and unmatched cutting force. Ever since it was first announced, it was heavily advertised as three times faster and 20 times stronger than its predecessor.
These bold claims certainly raised a few eyebrows – and caused a lot of people to question whether Silhouette will be able to deliver on those promises. Now that the Cameo 4 is here, it’s clear that it not only met these expectations but surpassed them, as well.
Packing a jaw-dropping five kilograms of downward force, the Cameo 4 is anything but lacking in the power department. It’s the most powerful non-industrial cutting machine that the market has to offer!
To help you put things in perspective, let me remind you that the Cameo 3 offered a mere 210 grams of cutting force.
Moreover, it’s advertised as being at least two times faster than its predecessor – and up to three times faster when performing straight cuts.
What does this mean for its cutting performance?
The combined improvements in speed, strength, and cutting quality unlocked a whole new range of crafting projects that were previously deemed impossible with a Silhouette. Factor in the three-millimeter clearance and you have the perfect cutting machine.
Thicker and sturdier materials – including leather, balsa wood, craft foam, and mat board, to name a few – are all a piece of cake for the Silhouette Cameo 4.
It’s not that the previous model wasn’t capable of cutting a wide range of materials – it did boast the ability to cut over 100 different crafting mediums. But since it lacked power, it struggled with precision and consistency quite a bit.
That all changes with the Cameo 4 and its professional-level cutting performance, though. It doesn’t show any signs of struggling or compromising its precision; that has to be the most significant improvement of all.
Silhouette Studio Software
When I first gave Silhouette a try – which feels like a lifetime ago – I wasn’t too thrilled about its native software, the Silhouette Studio.
Don’t get me wrong; there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the software – but it had too steep of a learning curve, and more than a few glitches that needed addressing.
But with each update, the software became more and more streamlined, bringing us to what it is today – the Silhouette Studio 4.
Now, it’s easily one of the best cutting software that the market has to offer. I’d even go as far as to say that it blows the Cricut Design Space out of the water.
Get familiar with the Studio by watching this video:
It’s feature-rich, to say the least, compatible with both PC and Mac, and lets you work on your designs as well as any other professional photo-editing software would. Even more so, it allows direct interaction with photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and CorelDraw with ease.
There’s one little thing that keeps bugging me about the Silhouette Studio Software, though – and it’s been doing so for years now:
The Basic Edition still doesn’t include SVG file support.
I was hoping that they’ll take the hint from the competition, and include support for importing and exporting SVG files in the newest software update. Everyone was rooting for it – but to no avail:
The „luxury“ of working with SVG files directly still requires you to upgrade from the free version of the software to the paid Designer Edition.
Putting The Silhouette Cameo 4 To Work: What’s It Like?
All these new features and cutting-edge performance aside, there’s one more essential question to answer:
What’s it like using the Silhouette Cameo 4?
I already introduced you to its capabilities, which are nothing short of amazing – but that’s not what I’m talking about here. Instead, I’d like to shift the focus from the actual cutting machine to you, the user.
As powerful and versatile as the Cameo 4 is in general, it’s still vital that you take a moment to consider whether it’s the right cutting machine for you. That’s arguably the crucial step in finding the best cutting machine – figuring out if it meets your crafting needs and personal preferences.
I had the opportunity to work with a ton of different cutting machines over the years, and I like to think that I learned how to recognize an excellent cutting machine along the way, too. Now, I mentioned previously that these are only my first impressions:
The Cameo 4 is a brand new model, and there’s still plenty of room for exploring here.
As much as I tried to put it to the test in these short few days, I’m under the impression that I barely scratched the surface of what it’s truly capable of achieving.
Watch this video to kick-start your Cameo 4 journey:
However, there’s one thing that was clear from the start – Silhouette put a lot of thought and effort into designing not only a professional-level cutting machine but a user-friendly one, as well. And by that, I mean intuitive, packed with accessible features, and followed by a gentle learning curve.
The ideal cutting machine should be equally accessible to beginners as it is to the slightly more advanced users – and Silhouette managed to strike that perfect balance with the Cameo 4.
Here are a few essential tips for using the Silhouette Cameo 4:
Unboxing Your Silhouette Cameo 4: Included Accessories & Tools
What you expect to find in the box – other than the Cameo 4, that is?
Well, the essentials are all there, but don’t expect to be blown away by the number of accessories and tools included in the offer. Even though the Cameo 4 boasts compatibility with a whole new range of cutting tools, including Kraft and Rotary blades, these are all sold separately.
You’ll get the necessary operating cords – the power cord and the USB cable – and the digital download version of the Silhouette Studio Software, complete with access to 100 downloadable designs.
And once you register your machine, you’ll get a one-month Silhouette Design Store subscription as a bonus!
The box will also contain the AutoBlade tool, along with a 12-inch cutting mat. Most importantly, though, it comes with four tool adapters. That means that you can use your older Cameo tools with your new machine, which is a huge plus.
Again, it’s not much, but if you already have crafting supplies on hand, it should be more than enough to get you started.
Watch the unboxing of Cameo 4 in the video below:
Silhouette Cameo 4: Rundown Of The Pros & Cons
- Three times faster and 20 times more powerful than its predecessor
- Features a dual carriage with two different motors
- Comes with a single-tap AutoBlade and Tool Type Detection feature
- Supports Bluetooth connectivity for wireless operation
- Compatible with the PixScan technology and the Print & Cut feature
- Uses the updated version of the Silhouette Studio Software
- The software doesn’t support SVG files
- The two carriages only work with specific tools
- The cutter’s design is a bit clunky
Silhouette Cameo 4: The Final Verdict
I could sum up my Silhouette Cameo 4 review in a single sentence:
Silhouette went above and beyond with this one.
What they designed here is a professional-level cutting machine, and with that in mind, this should be a no-brainer purchase. I cannot recommend it enough.
It’s not an upgrade – it’s a game-changer.
You’re looking at a well-thought-out machine with seemingly unlimited potential and unmatched power – and one that’s backed up by ever-advancing software, too.
Even with the price tag in mind, for the quality and capability, you’re getting with the Cameo 4, it’s a steal.