I've been thinking about the same thing.
So far my research lead me to various threads and reviews that the Splash was a nice starter tablet for people learning how to draw. But I've seen recommendations for the Bamboo Create/Capture line instead.
The difference between the 3 is software packages, active area, pen type and chassis. The Splash and Capture have the same active area, which some people mentioned that its murder on your wrist. They also have the same pen type.
The Splash has the smallest software package and isn't multitouch, all black and missing programmable buttons on the face. (I doubt that multitouch is necessary for drawing.)
The Create has double the active size and a pen with a digital eraser on the end which sounds handy but practically every drawing program has erase function. The Capture is $85 on Amazon
. But I've seen sales on them from time to time.
The Create is about $150 which is probably out of your range. If it weren't for the Corel Essentials software package and the eraser pen, this would probably be a $100 tablet.
Then there's the Intuos5 line which is about $450 and higher but its double the pressure sensitivity and drawing area and the Cintiq line which is well, professionally expensive.
I also heard about Monoprice and its tablets but they probably don't have the compatibility of Wacom's drivers.
I have no experience with any of these, so my research continues.