Today I jumped and bought a MP3 player. I've convinced myself that it'll help motivate me to get in shape this spring, getting me out and running. I've been looking at flash based players because I don't have the need to carry my entire music library with me (none of the iPods are big enough anyways) and I like the size, battery life, and lack of moving parts advantages offered by flash based units. For a while I was convinced I wanted to get the iPod Shuffle, but I went into a Sony Store the other day and saw the Sony NW-E105, a 512 MB flash based player, that claims to get 70 hours playback from one AAA battery. While I doubt it goes that long, having an easily switchable battery and a small screen are considerable advantages over the Shuffle. While the Sony SonicStage software is fairly intuitive, it would be nice if it supported Windows Explorer drag-and-drop MP3 loading. It does however allow regular data storage via Explorer.
The headphones that came with it are not very good quality, but my girlfriend gave me her iPod earbuds because they don't fit her, so I use them with it, and the sound quality is quite good. The controls are very easy to use, and at $139.99 (CDN, before tax) was a good deal. The Shuffle 512 MB compares at $129.99, with an internal battery and no screen.