First of all, are you sure you can GET that iRiver? I WAS going to get that model but then i realized that they dont make them anymore and the only one in stock in my whole state was in a city a hundred miles away so either way, the iRiver would be better. the new iRiver has a color screen and therefor can display pictures but either way, iRiver has SO many more features than the iPod. Like you said you would use the input to record songs and if you have a digital camera then you can directly import images. the iRiver supports a remote with a 4 line display. AND for your car, you could use an FM transmitter.
I'm about to buy one of these two; my intent is to (i) download my existing CD library about 80-100 CD's)onto my mp-3 player (either directly or through the home computer; I know the iriver can do it directly) and (ii) download my two friends' mp-3 libraries (one has an ipod and one an iriver h-120)onto my home computer (new Dell with Windows XP) and pick and choose from there what to put on my mp-3. As to newly released music, I'll probably continue buying CD's for my home system and the car (since it seems there's not a good solution yet for cars without cassette players that only have a CD player). I'd appreciate any thoughts about which of the two above players (or maybe another player) is best; thanks.