yess, the buttons do crack, no it doesnt affect performance. get the black one, as it makes cracks less visible.
sonicstage is good if you ONLY use it for transfers. don't use it to listen or rip CD's.
Thinking about buying this because, it has a removeable battery, long battery life, reviews says it sounds really good but.. I hear the buttons crack? does that make the player malfunction? Also, i hear sonic stage is terrible ( can anyone using it tell me?)