I picked up the sansa e280, it kicks ass, 8gigs and an awesome price/gb ratio. Currently people are working at getting Rockbox software to run on the unit, that will allow it to play anything. Its got many more features over the ipod, ie: FM radio, voice recorder, replacable battery, to name a few. I got it at amazon, it was 180 back then, now its 190. As with any player you'll want to get better headphones, the originals are pretty cheap, just like ipods'.
just checked pricegrabber, and it looks like buy.com has it for 182 currently.