I have in my crafting space the following machines:
Cricut Expression 2
Have to admit though since this has adventure happened l have had to research and visit various sites also my own personal opinion by using the machines..
The cricut does come off very badly. Its a great machine but there are draw backs. Like the cartridges cant be combined to another gypsy. I know they want to 'Protect the art work' but they have also to realize that some people due to one thing or another have to sell things.
I have approx 30 cartridges mostly bought from America as its a lot cheaper and they do work on my cricut with out any problem, [Shame on a person who stood there and toltaly denined that they would work and that the customer care would not be valid...] however the cost of them if l bought in the UK from a shopping Chanel would be approx. £1050 on top of the cost of the machine! So now l will just buy from across the pond via eBay or site here in the UK when they are holding a Sale of older Cartridges. A lot of the cartridges do contain a lot of graphic artwork, however they have started to introduce a much small content cartridge and not much difference in price. These are to me just a way of getting more money from us.
C&C do push the cartridges and they appear to be a 'Personal Fav of Mine' then its Oh this one is a Personal Fav... and on and on and on... The prices are not as was told C&C do not sell the cheapest cartridges.
The eCraft l find is not very good with very intricut designs and to be honest l only use it now for cutting out basic shapes and cards. [Not a great buy on my behalf. Other crafters may love the machine and think its the greatest just like the Cricut]
So if your in the market to buy a cutting machine then go for the Cameo. Its a lot more friendlier and craft ability is impressive. You don't have to buy a expensive cartridge filled with in some cases not very good artwork that only adds to the cost.
With the Cameo you log onto the internet store and only buy the design you want, they are mostly .99cents and there are a lot of free designs out there.
Only downside that l find is that when you download an file it can only be used for the cameo. This is okay if you only have the one machine.
That's the only the first of two issue for me. To use the 'Professional version so you can import SVG Files [This is the file format that is used for most of the die cutting machines] you have to upgrade and that's another $50.
There is a software package that's available on the market that works along most of the die cutting machines. [I am not sure if l can advertise the program so if you are interested send me an email and l will respond] Version 2 did work with the Cricut, however Cricut was the only manufacturer that took this company to court and made them remove the link. So version 3 [the current one] works with all of them bar Cricut. I guess they wanted crafters to buy into Cricut even more by this action.
There are Designers like myself making designs available for free. I hope to start to release a lot of my designs soon.
I design mostly Full Cards/Card Fronts and text items ie Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon etc.
I hope that this is some help, I just wanted to get something of my chest.
This is just my opinion and not anyone else's The events that have happened happened to me. Other people may have had a completely different outcome to their problem/situation.
If you want to know anything else please contact me
Have a wonderful weekend ahead.