battery life on E200 series is probably a good 15-20 (more than 15 but less than 20) or so anyways... so the difference is negligible in real world use between e200 series and Sansa Fuze (if you went from like 5-6hours to 24 then. yes it would be a huge difference battery wise. but 15-20 to 24hours aint much)... since each of them is more than practical and odds are either way you would be able to recharge in between a 15+ hours of use span anyways.... and besides it's better to slightly drain a Lithium-Ion battery and the charge it vs fully drain it then charge it... it's easier on the battery from what i read by doing small drains on battery then recharge... so basically if you used it a few hours or so per day i would toss it on the charger to top it off 1 time per day.
the Fuze is being worked on (to support Rockbox) but it could be well over a year before Rockbox is actually supported... most likely it will be later than sooner. im guessing probably a good 1+ years before it's ready for use for the average joe. heck even the v2 e200's aint even ready for the general public and i think they have been in development longer than the Fuze has.
i tend to view refurbished players differently than Therian does... because if something is refurbished it probably means it was inspected by a REAL PERSON to make sure it was in good running order and not just a mass produced machine and then shipped out.... so based on that i think a refurbished one would probably 'in a way' be better than a new one especially if you get it cheap enough.
i guess the nice thing about the Fuze is that it's got a bigger screen than the e200 series which if you plan on watching video it's probably a better choice but for me i would rather avoid players no Rockbox support and at the end of the day these types of devices AUDIO is the primary reason for them.
so based purely on AUDIO i would say the e200 series is a better buy especially since you can get a MicroSDHC card for pretty cheap ($15-20 for 8GB... 4GB is around $10) and have ALOT of storage vs your current 3GB. but i guess it depends on your music storage requirements because 3GB could be plenty for you where other people it might not be enough.
but i guess either way for 47 bucks or so that's a pretty reasonable price for a device like that
im just curious but does the Sansa Fuze have a user-replaceable battery?
you said, "Main selling point was the price + 24 hours of battery for audio"
with Rockbox i heard the e200 series gets better battery life than Stock firmware and like i was saying above it's roughly 15-18 hours on estimates i seen ran with Rockbox on rockbox's website.
price wise i would guess you could get a cheap e200 (i.e. e250 or e260) and then buy a MicroSDHC card and get it for roughly the same price you got that Fuze for and have ALOT more storage.
just some thoughts ... i guess it just depends on what you look for most but to me Rockbox is a major benefit as it just offers alot more control over your device and it's under constant development where as after a product reaches a certain age it's pretty much droped from Firmware updates from the manufacturer.