Hello. I'm an visual communications student and also a digital artist. I purchased the 6 x8 Wacom Graphire 2 (sapphire) three years ago and now it's starting to malfunction (as in the USB cord won't be detected by the computer sometimes). Even though it wasn't as high tech as the Intuos, I liked the fact that I didn't have to pay for a mouse and also because it was really light and portable. I'm now looking to buy a new tablet and am considering the Intous 3 (6 x 8), but I have two questons: Is the Intous portable? As in can it be stuffed in a backpack (mine can hold a laptop with a 15.4 " screen, tht of the MacBook Pro specifically). And like the Graphire, does the Intous come with a protective layer of glass or some sort? I wouldn't want the drawing surface to be scratched. Also, does the mouse come in handy? I'm not too convinced about Wacom's decision in shipping tablets that necessarily accompanies a mouse, although they do look sweet. I'd just like feedback on these. I'll be waiting for your answers. Thanks a lot!