I bought a Cricut after months of shunning the little beige bug. I broke down in the wake of holiday sales. I probably didn't get the best deal in town (179 at AC Moore with a free Cricut bag) but I am satisfied. I was planning to hold out for a Wishblade, but I want to wait until I upgrade my computer later next year before I get one.
The die cutting station in my scraproom is getting crowded with my sizzix, zipemate, big shot, quickutz, Xyron PCS and now my Cricut. Good thing my DH doesn't know these machines all basically do the same things. I would never be able to live it down after I went on and on about all his unnecessary tools.
I plugged my PCS and my Cricut in side by side, just to see if I really did own two "apples". Short Answer: NO. The PCS is out of box easy to use (and its pink!). No set up needed, just punch in your shape book and go. The Cricut had some minor assembly required. It took me a good 15 minutes to figure out how to get the blade attached to the machine. In my defense, it was late and I was a bit tired when I was setting it up.
With the PCS, you just click on the picture of what you want to cut to select it. You don't even really need to understand English to work it. There is a little more thought involved with operating the Cricut. You have to type in your word, select your special features (ie shadows, charms, outlines etc) set the size, etc... Generally there is just more button pushing required with the Cricut. To break it down...my mom could use the PCS with no effort, the Cricut would require her to think a bit more than she may like.
The PCS shape books are inexpensive. I think I have about 10 or so and none of them broke the bank to acquire. Many of them I got for 1/2 price. I just spent 150 bucks for 3 Cricut cartridges on Ebay. Ouch! But the Cricut cartridges are still cheaper than purchasing alphabets for my Sizzix or quickutz.
I should just stop now, because I cannot truly compare the Cricut to the PCS, they are such different machines. Definitely they are apples and oranges. The PCS has such cute shapes and a larger variety of them available. The Cricut is a little powerhouse for fonts - the size range it cuts, its speed....really great for cutting letters. Honestly, I couldn't choose one over the other. (Well maybe I would choose my PCS because its pink!) I feel they are both useful in my crafting. As is my sizzix/bigshot/zipemate - those machines are without compare in their ability to cut all sorts of media. If only I could get a good deal on a sizzix or a big shot alphabet, I would be in die cut heaven. And not to shortchange my quickutz. I love the tiny letters I can cut with it, granted I do use my sizzix/zipemate/big shot to cut them. The smaller letters are great for cards and mini albums. The Cricut and the PCS are not able to cut that small at this point.
In closing, my cluttered die cutting station is filled with useful tools that frankly, I don't want to give up. They all perform different functions and really cannont be compared to each other. Except for my sizzix, zipemate, and big shot - those three have some serious overlapping features, but I will save that for another entry.