Deal of the week – the Archos 20 Gb MP3 Recorder, available from Amazon for a scant $130 after mail-in rebate. This player is fully loaded; it records from any source, has USB 2.0 transfer, works as an external hard-drive, supports on-the-fly playlists, and if you’re not happy with the already rich feature set of the Archos, you can upgrade with a freeware ROM replacement that allows you to read text files, supports mid-track resume (important for audio books), extends battery life, plays 8 games and supports 23 languages.
Note: this Archos player is not one that I’ve used myself, but it’s very similar to the Archos Jukebox Multimedia I reviewed favorably a little more than a year ago. My only problem with that unit has been that the battery no longer holds a charge, which seems to be the norm with these sorts of electronics. Luckily, unlike an iPod, the battery is user-replaceable for $50 if it goes out after warranty.