I’ve owned the iRiver ihp-120 since it first came out in 2003 (debating between it and the Rio Karma. iPod wasn’t interesting to me, as it didn’t have the same features)
iRiver won, and I’m glad I got it. Optical out, LCD Remote, mic recording and with rockbox it has more firmware options (crossfade, directory organization, skins…)
Duke is right about the build quality. The only issues I’ve had is the battery life got too low (replaced) and the hdd crashed after it was dropped (replaced with a 30 gig). He did forget about dandelions…they will survive nukes too.