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Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro Review: Pros and Cons of the 24" CAMEO

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro is finally here...and so is my first 24" CAMEO Pro review!

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As I always do, I'm here to give you guys all the information - pros and cons -so YOU can make an educated decision on if the new Silhouette CAMEO Pro should find a spot in your craft room! 

I've said this before and I'll say it again... Silhouette School is an independent blog owned and operated by me (and my husband and our lovely and longtime assistant Ashlee)..it supports our entire family.  The blog was started was a hobby in January 2014 and it's now the largest free resource for Silhouette tutorials, product info, techniques, deals and reviews.

Over the last nearly 7 years in this industry, I have formed many wonderful friendships and partnerships at Silhouette America and retailers across the industry. This allows me to have an even deeper understanding of this market and a louder voice for you - the consumer! 

You begged for a wider machine and I relentlessly pushed for it. I am honored to have been asked to sit down with Silhouette execs more than two and a half years ago to present your voices in what ultimately helped convince Silhouette to bring both the 15" Silhouette CAMEO Plus and now - after an 18 month wait from the official "20" CAMEO Pro" announcement - the 24" CAMEO Pro to market.

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One thing I pride myself on and one thing that has never changed since I started this journey is staying in YOUR corner and gaining and keeping your trust.  This forces me to be transparent, honest, and upfront with you so I can provide you with all the information - good, bad, and indifferent -  so you can make the best decision for you.

That does not change today or ever even when - in a rare case - I am provided with a product, like in the case of the 24" Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro.  I will give you my full honest opinion just the same as I did when I purchased all my previous Silhouette machines.

Finally, in fairness I first got my hands on a CAMEO 4 Pro and the Silhouette Studio V4.4 software to run it in late September. Even in those 5 or 6 weeks, there's no way I could even begin to act like I have tested every feature of it and for that reason consider these my first thoughts and this my first of many Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro reviews.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk CAMEO 4 Pro pros and cons!

Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro - Pros 

The 24" size. I mean what more can you say? Silhouette originally announced the Silhouette CAMEO Pro as a 20" machine, but upped it by 4" giving us not only a 24" vinyl cutting machine, but in doing so giving users the ability to cut all standard-size materials on the market.  A 20" machine would have meant users, retailers, or manufactures would have had to trim off 4" from the standard 24" roll of adhesive vinyl, creating wasted material and money. But the 24" CAMEO Pro machine totally avoids that while also allowing users to cut materials in any width up to 24" with or without a cutting mat!  

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The roller bar and rollers on the CAMEO 4 Pro have both been updated to accommodate the bigger, heavier, and wider machine.  Huge pro here is the rollers are extremely easy to slide to adjust. 

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Just like the 12" CAMEO 4 and 15" CAMEO 4 Plus, the Silhouette CAMEO 4 Pro features high speed and increased force giving it the ability to cut up to 3x faster than a CAMEO 3 and provides 20x more downward force. These are powerful features that are limited based on the material you are cutting. The limited access to these features - only when they are appropriate for the tool and material being cut - is a pro due to how it prevents against misuse. It's not a fail safe for bad cuts, but it helps.

I love the new smart tool dual carriage which auto detects the tool that's in the carriage and automatically changes the cut settings in Silhouette Studio accordingly. The tool detection sensors are both on the Automatic Blade as well as the blue Sketch pen adapter that comes with the Pro.

The CAMEO 4 Pro uses the Type B Autoblade which taps just one time to re-set to 0 then taps to the blade settings, (ie 1 tap to 0, then 2 taps to blade depth of 2 for a total of 3 taps). This significantly cuts down on the number of times the blade needs to tap before cutting.  I consider the single-tape Autoblade  a pro when it's working. I should point out I've had no issues with it so far on the Pro!

Unfortunately, as we've learned with the CAMEO 4 and the 15" CAMEO Plus, which uses the same Autoblade and tool carriage, there is a combination of user error and equipment error which can turn the Autoblade into a con as well. When the tool is not loaded correctly (most commonly not fully inserted into the carriage) or when it's not tapping/adjusting correctly for one reason or another it leads to bad cuts.

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The mat loading sensor on the CAMEO 4 Pro is even more beneficial on this wide machine than it is on the 12 and 15" machines.  The mat loading sensor allows you to push the control panel button to load the mat, then gives you 3 seconds to hold your mat or material with both hands before the rollers start feeding it in. Without it, it would be nearly impossible to hold the material or mat evenly with two hands so it loads straight and reach the load button at the same time. 
 
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The CAMEO Pro roll feeder has to be considered not only a pro, but an improvement from the built in roll feeders on the other CAMEO 4 machines. Those have proven to be not substantial enough and lacking a lock to keep them in place while cutting.  The CAMEO 4 Pro's roll feeder, however, is not built in but  does come with the machine. The 4 piece adjustable width roll feeder is more substantially built and has a lot fewer moving parts making it more stable. 
 
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You can add the largest block into the center and the whole thing doubles as a mat support for the 24"x24" CAMEO 4 Pro cutting mat. Big plus!
 
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While it does come in pieces, the roll feeder parts nest together for easier storage which is another added plus.

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As with the other CAMEO 4 machines, the pro also has a cross cutter that's built into the back of the CAMEO 4. It's not something you're going to use on every cut or even most cuts, but it's definitely a nice to have and adds something to the machine without taking away another feature.  The built in cross cutter is also a huge improvement over the small handheld letter opener-looking tool that passed for a cross cutter on older CAMEO models.

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Again, like the other CAMEO 4 models, the retractable lid means you don't need to account for overhead clearance. 

And speaking of design, while the CAMEO 4 Pro machine is obviously longer at 34.5" long, the height and depth have remained as compact as the 12" CAMEO 4 and 15" CAMEO Plus.  This is a big pro as it allows the machine to still be stored on a narrow shelf.

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The CAMEO 4 machine runs on Silhouette Studio with a quick and easy update to V4.4.279 which is a big plus for existing users adding a CAMEO Pro on. It connects easily to Bluetooth and the process for firmware updates - when one is needed - requires only you plug in by USB.  
Because the Pro has Bluetooth it means you can use the machine with the Silhouette's Mobile App, Silhouette Go.

Silhouette CAMEO 4 Cons

As with anything, there are some cons or at least some things you should be aware of. 

Along with the Type B Auto Blade that comes with the CAMEO Pro, only the blue sketch pen adapter is included out of the box.  The 12" and 15" CAMEO 4 machines both included 4 different adapters. However, with the change, unless CAMEO Pro users purchase more adapters separately,  Type A tools (Ratchet Blade, Deep Cut blade, Premium Blade) and the 2mm Kraft Black can't be used in the CAMEO Pro.

The reason Silhouette is not including the black (ratchet blade adapter), gray (deep cut blade adapter), and white adapters (2mm kraft blade) with the  CAMEO 4 Pro, is because new Type B Ratchet, Premium, and 2mm Kraft Blade tools exclusively for the CAMEO 4 models are coming..but they're not available yet and as of this writing there's no release date.

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Because the carriages are run by two different types of motors, each is designed for only specific tools.  That means tools can not be used interchangeably in each carriage and therefore it's not possible to use the dual carriage for things like sketch and cut, foil and cut, and cutting with two cutting blades on different settings for stickers, etc - where a blade and pen or two blades need to placed in each of the two carriages. On the CAMEO 4 those tools can ONLY go in Carriage 1.

You can still perform a sketch and cut or foil and cut, but you'll need to pause the machine between each pass to swap the tool in Carriage 1 and adjust the settings in Silhouette Studio.

The tool storage drawer that was present on the CAMEO 3, but removed on the CAMEO 4 and CAMEO Plus to make room for the built in roll feeder, unfortunately didn't make its way back on the Pro.  

Speaking of the roll feeder, while it cut a 6' and 30' roll with no issue, a 24" x 150' roll proved too heavy. It's a bummer because for business users 150' rolls of vinyl are the most economical.

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Just like the other CAMEO 4 machines, there is not an input for a USB thumb drive...if you are looking for that option. 

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What I would consider the biggest pro, is also related to the biggest con: the size of the machine. While the cutting area is 24", the machine itself is 34.5" wide. While considered a desktop cutter, it takes up a lot of space on a table or work and for some people it's going to be too much space to spare. Look how it takes up my entire craft table..and it requires even more room in front when using the roll feeder or mat support. 
 
The biggest con, in my opinion, is the lack of a CAMEO 4 Pro stand.  Every other 24" cutting machine on the market, that I could find, has an available stand.  
 
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The range of CAMEO 4 Pro's Bluetooth seems smaller than my other Silhouette Bluetooth machines. 
 
I was curious about this actually so I did a test putting my 12" CAMEO 4, 24" CAMEO Pro and Portrait 3 all on the same table - powered and Bluetooth on - about 10-12' (feet) from my computer.  Only the 12" CAMEO 4 and Portrait 3 showed up as "Available" in my machine list. 
 
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Then I switched the Bluetooth dongles in the 24" CAMEO Pro and Portrait 3....the distance and positioning of the machines from the computer was exactly the same. 
 
This time only the CAMEO Pro and 12" CAMEO 4 showed as available in my machine list. So my conclusion is something is different about the Bluetooth dongle in the Pro...or maybe just in my early-stage CAMEO 4 Pro.

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And finally, my CAMEO 4 Pro seems to bow slightly in the middle. It doesn't effect cutting or closing the lid, but it is something to watch out for. 
 
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Final (First) Thoughts on CAMEO 4 Pro

I can honestly say, it's a solid machine with huge potential that runs on always-advancing free software on both Mac and PC!  The $499 price puts the CAMEO Pro among the few lower priced 24" vinyl cutting machines. But it's more than a vinyl cutter. When you consider the speed, downward force, 3mm clearance and ability to use standard blades, kraft blades, and a rotary blade - it's the clear winner on value for the features and number of materials it can cut!

Without a stand available, which will present an issue for some users, with the inability to successfully cut the 150' rolls of vinyl, and with what appears to be a limited Bluetooth range, I'm giving the CAMEO 4 Pro a B+. 

I believe a CAMEO 4 Pro stand would solve not only the desktop/shelf storage issue many will find, but would likely also be a solution for cutting the heaviest rolls of vinyl as stands use a different type of roll holder which allow rolls to spin more freely during cutting. 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!


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2 comments

  1. Thank you for being so informative. I buy HTV on 20" rolls. Will I be able to feed a 20" roll with no mat?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will the 4 Pro be able to cut heavy stencil material, such as mylar?

    ReplyDelete

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