I'm looking for a tablet to use in illustrating on a computer, priced between $150-$200. Any recommendations?
Funny as it may sound, I've heard nothing but good about Wacom's Bamboo tablet, which is in the $100-200 range. Other than that, I've seen people offer used previous-generation Intuos tablets in that range before as well.
I agree, wacom bamboo. But be sure to pick the so labelled "medium"(I think, not sure, is A5, and small is A6(the larger the number, the smaller size)) , not the "small" ones. Here the size does matter. It does have direct relation with fluid and good stroke. I rather prefer the Intuos gamma, and XL or L formats, (even being pricey) but that's me.
Beware, latest intuos 4 are a bit weaker to scratching, just don't apply too much pressure while drawing. IMHO, A medium bamboo is an ok fit for a designer doing not much drawing, a graphic artist doing mostly photo retouch and textures for games. But imho, a comic artist or illustrator definitely benefits from Intuos A4, and better the L or XL. (I own cintiq, intuos, bamboo, old graphire, even non wacom older brands: bestbuy, kurta tablets... And my conclussion is all about intuos and the size.)
Bamboo is pretty good, and a brand new one is within your price range. I'd also suggest checking out your local Craigslist for a used Intuos3.
Always get a Wacom. Other brands are just not worth it. The construction is shoddier, and they usually have big unwieldy batteries in the pen. Wacoms on the other hand are practically indestructible. My first tablet was purchased in highschool, and I kept using it until I had to replace it in grad school because my new computer no longer had a serial port. The actual tablet still worked great, I just needed a USB connection.