Hey everyone! Ken here with Ken's Kreations.

I am so thankful to all of my followers who patiently wait for my review videos. Machine reviews tend to take some time to shoot, edit, and voice-over, however I always try delivering the best user experience I can. With that said I know everyone is wondering:
"Should I buy or upgrade to the Silhouette Cameo 3?"

I am so excited to bring you the review for the Silhouette Cameo 3 as this machine brings us some new features. Now keep in mind this review will concentrate on the machine ONLY. At the time of this review Silhouette, America HAS NOT released the new Silhouette Studio software. Below is my full video review, however under the video I will also go into more details on the new Silhouette Cameo 3 to help with your buying decision!

The Silhouette Cameo 3 offers some great cosmetic and convenience advancements over the Silhouette Cameo 2. Now for this review I will not cover features and benefits already released and used in previous machines. Just for some peace of mind this machine WILL SUPPORT Print-Then-Cut/Tracing (Seen Here), PixScan Technology (Seen Here). Neither of these received upgrades on the machine, however it might be updated with the new release of the Silhouette Studio. The machine also features some breakout hits of the Silhouette Cameo 2, including a cross-cutter and storage (lots of it) Here is some of the features of the Silhouette Cameo 3:

  • Dual carriages to cut and print without stopping.
  • 12-inch cutting and drawing width
  • 2mm cutting clearance to cut more materials
  • Full-color LCD touch screen for navigation and use. This touch screen allows you to choose between languages, set the sleep time, change the color scheme, display help icons, and even view a tutorial.
  • PixScan™ technology compatibility
  • PC and Mac compatibility
  • Bluetooth enabled to send cut jobs wirelessly (two different models see below)
  • Mat Free cutting capability to cut lined media up to 10 feet long
  • Handy on-unit cross cutter for cutting materials fed directly from a roll.
  • Built-in accessory storage unit to store a spare blade

Some pretty exciting stuff. Now the first thing I noticed is the fact that Silhouette looks towards the Cricut Explore Air Machine for the dual carriage technology. This really is great and saves a lot of time. The Silhouette Cameo 3 has developed a new push technology to secure your blade or tools into the dual carriage over the screw method seen in previous models. With the exception of the Silhouette AutoBlade all tools can be used on either side and the user determines in the software what the machine is doing. Currently all of the previous tools released for the Silhouette Curio fit into the dual carriage which is a huge advantage. I was able to use my Silhouette Standard BladePremium BladeDeep Cut BladeSketch Pens, and all of the Silhouette Curio Tools. However, this machine offers something new, the Silhouette AutoBlade.
The Silhouette AutoBlade is Silhouette's version of the Cricut Explore Machine's smart dial. It is exclusive to the Silhouette Cameo 3. Now the Silhouette AutoBlade works by self-adjusting the blade to the settings in Silhouette Studio by  "punching" in the auto blade portion of the machine. This does not eliminate the selection of material in the current version of the software! It is important to note that you still have to select the correct material and program specialty materials. All the Silhouette AutoBlade does is change it to that setting eliminate the user from doing it. It is important that in the current version of the software the Silhouette AutoBlade DOES NOT adjust to the material rather to what the program is stating that material should be set at. This might change in update Silhouette Studio programs, but for me was a HUGE disappointment. 

Now let's talk about the touch screen and the ability to cut CORD free as the Silhouette Cameo 3 welcomes Bluetooth technology, or does it? The new touch screen display is pretty nice and simplified. It now features an unload/load to lessen the confusion around material vs mat option. The touchscreen allows you to change the language, set sleep time, change the color scheme, display help icons, and even view tutorials. In addition to the new features, they have added a speaker that gives you sound while you make selections. However, the most exciting addition to the menu is the ability to use BLUETOOTH! These features finally give Silhouette users the ability to cut without a USB cord. Now keep in mind Silhouette released two different bundles a STANDARD edition and a BLUETOOTH edition. Here is how you will note the difference:

Now for the following keep in mind that Silhouette has not released the updated Studio. With that said, the user experience for the Silhouette Cameo 3 was terrible. The way you connect to Bluetooth is frustrating and even to the day of this release I have YET to get Silhouette Studio to connect to my Bluetooth. After spending 2 hours on this (I kid you not), I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to use this feature at this time. I researched in many groups, chat forums, and online only to find out that MANY users were experiencing this same issue and the ONLY people who I have seen connect to Bluetooth are the select few people who were sent a machine ahead of time. I have YET to see a video showing the Silhouette Cameo 3 actually connecting to Bluetooth. This was beyond frustrating and actually made me walk away from my review to not tarnish my other thoughts on this machine. Hopefully in the updated software this issue will be resolved or many users will be upset. 

One of the nicest upgrades that the Silhouette Cameo 3 brings us is the storage, and we have a lot of it! It seems this is another area that the Silhouette Cameo 3 takes a note from the Cricut Explore Machine as the storage is almost identical to that machine. We have storage for tools and the cross cutter underneath the machine. On the top left of the machine we have a spot for blades and sketch pens. We even have nice pen storage along the top length of the machine. They even gave a nice little storage part for the power cord in the back. This is a nice welcomed addition to the Silhouette Cameo 3.

Another thing to keep in mind with Silhouette Cameo 3 is how you will use the machine. Why you ask? Because Silhouette offers different versions of the studio software and depending on what you want to do well determine which software to go with. The Basic Edition is free, however, If you want the ability to cut SVG files and much more you will need to upgrade to the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition at the cost of 49.99. Take a look at the graphic above to see what all comes with each version.

This brings me to the BIGGEST FRUSTRATION that I have with the Silhouette Cameo 3, the force of the machine! The Silhouette Cameo 3 has a cutting force of 210 grams, and guess what? That is the EXACT cutting force of the Silhouette Cameo 2. What did they change, well they gave you a higher clearance on the machine to fit thicker materials, but not necessarily CUT thicker materials. And the noise level? Exactly the same as previous models!! The Silhouette Cameo 3 is compatible with the Deep Cut Blade, combined with double cuts that might be able to cut thicker materials...BUT NOT GUARANTEED! This machine will be able to cut Paper, Tissue Paper, Vinyl, Iron-On, Craft Foam, Light Weight Fabric, and Rhinestone. This machine WILL STRUGGLE with thicker materials like Leather, Balsa Wood, Acetate, Shrinky Dinks, and more. This is the "What were they thinking?" of my review as this is the biggest PRO for the Cricut Explore Machine. The fact that the  Cricut Explore Machine can cut these materials and at a fraction of the sound, would be enough for me as the owner of a competitor machine to invest in improving my next machine. I feel this was a misstep on Silhouette's part. 

So there you have it! When I review the  Silhouette Cameo 3 I have mixed feelings. I feel it is 100% an upgrade from the Silhouette Cameo 2 for cosmetic and convince items like the dual carriage, storage, and the overall look. However with the current software it totally misses on the Bluetooth set-up, cutting of thicker materials, intricate cuts, and simplicity of design. I have always said that the Silhouette Cameo 3 has great software with tons of options, but can be intimidating to a new user. Because of my mixed results I do not feel that the Silhouette Cameo 3 is the most versatile machine. Simply put here it is:

1) If you are a Silhouette fan and will ONLY own Silhouette machines, then upgrade from your current Silhouette machine to the Silhouette Cameo 3.
2) If you are deciding what machine to buy that can cut thicker materials, is user friendly and gives stunning results, you might want to look to another machine. 

I am excited to already announce that I am currently in production and shooting the video for the Silhouette Cameo 3 vs  Cricut Explore Air. These two machines are the most requested reviewed machines I get on a daily basis and I am excited to see what the results are. Both machines have their HIGH and LOW points and at the end of the day usually, I can direct you to the machine you need by two simple questions:

"What will you be using your machine for?"
"How comfortable are you using and learning new software?"

Make sure you do not miss out on the video by subscribing to my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here.

Ken's Kreations

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