Archos 605 WiFi

Release date: 08/30/2007

Current street price:
$120 (30GB), $240 (80GB), $295 (160)

Why buy it?

Long before the iPod Touch came on the scene, the Editor's Choice award-winning Archos 605 WiFi was one of the first touch-screen portable media players on the scene with an integrated Web browser and Wi-Fi video downloads. At $120 for 30GB of storage, the 605 WiFi is less than half the price of a 32GB iPod Touch, and offers a larger screen and tons of audio and video codec support.

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SanDisk Sansa Clip

Release date: 10/09/2007

Current street price:
$22 (1GB), $35 (2GB), $45 (4GB), $70 (8GB)

Why buy it?

Tha SanDisk Sansa Clip is the shining star of budget MP3 players. It offers a clip-on design, FM radio, Mac and PC compatibility, a bright 1-inch screen, and remarkable sound quality.

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Ibiza Rhapsody

Release date: 11/29/2007

Current street price:
$145 (30GB), $126 (8GB), $110 (4GB)

Why buy it?

Here's another Wi-Fi-connected portable media player that was ahead of its time. The Haier brand is an odd duck in this market, but their Rhapsody-branded Ibiza player features a beautiful onscreen interface, up to 30GB of storage, and unlimited over-the-air-downloads for Rhapsody music subscribers. Even if subscription music isn't your thing, $145 is a great price for 30 gigs of music, plus the Ibiza offers killer podcast support and wireless updating.

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Slacker Portable Player (first-generation)

Release date: 02/04/2008

Current street price:
$55 (2GB)

Why buy it?

Slacker's online music streaming service has found some traction as an alternative to sites such as Pandora, iMeem, and Last.fm. But before the company successfully launched mobile apps that could piggyback on hardware like the iPhone or BlackBerry they created their own device that used a big 4-inch color screen and integrated memory configured in 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB capacities.

We weren't thrilled with the audio quality or awkward controls of Slacker's first-generation hardware--but then, we were evaluating it as a $200 device. At $55, it's a very different story. Pair it with some portable speakers and you've got a killer little Internet radio for under $100.

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Creative Zen

Release date: 09/14/2007

Current street price:
$70 (2GB), $85 (4GB), $110 (8GB)

Why buy it?

The Creative Zen has always been a well-priced portable media player with an attractive interface and great sound. But what makes the Zen such a killer deal is the memory expansion slot, which can handle SDHC cards up to 32GB. Pick up a 2GB Zen ($70) and a 16GB SD card ($40), and you could have a nice little 18GB MP3 player for just over $100. Not too shabby.

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Apple iPod Classic

Release date: 09/07/2007

Current street price:
$150 (80GB), $170 (120GB), $260 (160GB)

Why buy it?

Oh, the iPod Classic. The silver-haired, high-capacity symbol of the iPod's legacy. Some have speculated that 2009 may be the year that Apple finally drops the axe on the Classic, now that everyone is ga-ga for the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

But for those who still get a thrill from loading tons of music and video onto a single device, the iPod Classic's robust 80GB, 120GB, and whopping 160GB of hard-drive space is a killer feature that no app can replace.

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