From loitering around MP3 sites I've gained the impression that the favourite brands are Sansa, Creative Zen, Cowon, Sony, (some) Samsungs, Archos -- not in any particular order.
The only ones I see regularly in retailers are Sony and (if I didn't already have a touchscreen LG bought used for peanuts) I'd probably look at those (or Sansa for low price).
Do feel free to avoid iPod -- good players, bad iTunes, horrid company.
I have finally given up my CD Player and not sure which item to purchase. I like the idea of the IPOD and is considering the classic but I can't get over the ARCHOS. I am a simple person I want a MP3 which will store the most music not interested in all that other technical stuff. Which one is a smarter purchase and please tell me why. Oh before I forget I am aware that the IPOD is linked to ITUNES for its music for anyone with ARCHOS knowledge where is the music linked to for this item. I have plenty of CD I want to destroy I need a MP3 storage home for them. Please Help!