Originally Posted by Spiike
My ipod is comming in a month from that freeipods.com thing, so I can't comment on long term use, but I have played around and listened to my roommate's 4g ipod, and a couple friend's ipod minis. They're decent products with a very solid design. Sound quality was excellent. The little earbuds makes the music a little bright, but hooking up my roommate's ipod to my $1000 yamaha receiver, the ipod produced excellent sound with minimal tweaking.
You didn't mention Dell's mp3 player, which I had for a short time. It is in the same price range, but the interface was really annoying. Sound quality is decent. That lil thing was returned in a hurry though.
I've also been told that the interface on the hp iriver is too complicated and has a slight learning curve, also the lcd is a bit cramped. I've seen carbon fiber ipod skins that make it look like the iriver, so aesthetics alone shouldn't sway your opinion.
Anything will sound great when you plug it into a 1000 dollar reciever.
Allow me to quote someone who just got a free ipod on head-fi.org:
"Overall: The iPod is a fairly quality piece of work hardware and software wise that is marred by horrible default earbuds, poor format support, poor gapless/prebuffering support and an extremely ghosty (i.e. slow response time) LCD. iTunes for Windows is... iffy."
But hey, you look like "cool" with it.
I have used the h320 and can tell you without a doubt:
1.runs longer than the ipod by 5 hours.
2. sounds hell of a lot better.
And when you have a mp3/.ogg/??/ player that has radio, recording, and all these other functions compared to a player (ipod) that does practically nothing, of course you need to take a few minutes to learn how to navigate it.
But this is an mp3 player we're talking about here, not surgery.