Since I gave up iTunes and went to Foobar2000; I have also decided to research other portable mp3 players as well. I ended up purchasing a Creative Zen V Plus. I have always been a fan of Creative products and this little guy does not disappoint. I have the 4GB model which allows me to store enough music and podcasts for trips and long walks.
You can use Zencast to synchronize your playlists or download music and podcasts. It is not necessary so I just simply drag and drop audio files on to it. The operation with the joystick takes getting used to but it works. The OLED screen is crisp and bright for navigation and showing album art. You can watch short video clips on it. You can also use the Creative Zen V as a digital voice recorder. What is most impressive is now small and light the unit is. The Plus model also comes with an FM tuner which is an added benefit.