I've had at least half a dozen MP3 players over the years. Currently I have 2 or 3, but my favorite one is the Creative Muvo. Besides playing MP3s and WMAs (which most of my music is ripped into)....it's also good for bringing files back and forth. It is no bigger than a bic lighter, and though it's "only" 1GB, it costs less than 100 buck and is incredibly durable. Plus 1GB of songs is plenty long enough for any plane trip, car ride or day at the gym you'll have. You don't need connection cables, because the thing itself is USB, so you just plug it right into your PC.
I might jump on the Ipod bandwagon someday for the cool factor, but for now this thing is the best little player I've ever had. Compare it to the Ipod Nano as far as features and price go.
The iPod equivalent is the iPod Shuffle. Wife has one, and it is the size of a 5-sticks gum pack. Holds about 120+ songs, and costs about $100. It is a Flash memory stick in essence, but has great sound quality
I have the now-outdated iPod Mini Blue (replaced by the iPod Nano). It is has a 4GB memory, which holds about 1,000 songs (I only got 950 songs). It has a few scracthes and dents, but works perfectly! I get an easy 10+ hours of play between charges.
Upload your CDs, download "illegal" songs, or buy direct from iTunes or WalMart.com. All the MP3 songs will work. The iPod will organize the songs by artist, album, or genre.
The most popular feature with iPods is the ease of use. Either the way to load songs or the simple controls, which is all done with the "wheel"
If you can find a iPod Mini for less $200, buy it! Otherwise, be cool and get the iPod Nano!