Here’s my advice: 1) There are exceptions but generally, don’t get a player from a non-computer electronics company. Sony is a prime example. DRM out the ears. 2) Think really hard about how much music you want to carry around. This generally determines what type of player you get (solid state, MP3-CD, or hard drive based). 3) Consider the features that matter to you. Do you want to use it as a portable storage device for non-MP3 files? Do you want it to be credit card sized? Do you need to play CDA as well? This works with #2 to help decide what kind of player you want. 4) Check return policy and try playing with a store model if possible. 5) If possible, pay with a credit card that can extend your warranty or offers complaint resolution services. Many times, I’ve gotten out of a raw deal because my credit card company took up for me. If I’d paid in cash, I’d be screwed. I needed a LOT of storage capacity, not something measured in megabytes. I wanted to use it for portable stoage. I needed it to work even on a bumpy road, and my hatred for lugging around and swapping CDs is a big part of why I got into MP3 in the first place. So a hard drive player was for me. I was eyeing the Creative Nomad Jukebox until Archos put their Jukebox 6000 on sale for under $200. It’s rough around the edges but I use the hell out of it. And it connects to every computer at my university to give me 6 GB of personal storage. Fuck Zip disks!