Eh, I can't give you advice on other tablets, but my Wacom Bamboo Splash was only $60 on Amazon and it's been lovely to draw with (and bamboo dock has a lot of fun tools to play around with, like their doodler, a program that converts your written letters to text, and a few games like paper cakes)
I like Wacom best. If you want something cheaper from Wacom to start with, try one of their Bamboo tablets. I have the Intuos 4 and it works like a dream. But if you're planning on getting an Intuos, I'd highly recommend getting a medium size or larger. It's worth the larger price tag, trust me.