I've been meaning to replace my old, half-dead portable CD player for a while, and I'm trying to do some research here. I've weighed the pros and cons of straight MP3 players, and, well, I'm leaning against it for two reasons: 1) the price (especially since I couldn't give a rat's about video capability), and 2) the large number of regular CDs I have.
I discovered not that long ago that I can fit over 500-600 MP3's at "less than best" sound quality on a CD without any major compromises in sound. (And, hey, I can always redo them at a higher sampling rate if the sound does suck.) So, for me, a hybrid-type player seems to make a lot more sense.
I'm having trouble finding unbiased reviews concerning a wide range of manufacturers, though. Sure, there are the usual idiots on amazon.com and circuitcity.com (1-star reviews for a product because amazon sent it the day after they said they would? Gimme a damn break), but that's about it.
Of the brands I'd consider buying, meaning no WM store brand, I keep coming back to a model from Philips that retails between $37 and $40 at most stores and online dealers. The few reviews I can find list some drawbacks, but they mainly seem like flornbesque complaints to me ("I doo not liek the hed phones the coard is to long"--Buy a new set of freaking headphones for $1.99, then, idiot!). There's a similar model that's about $10-$15 more, but the only extra features are a remote control (Why, on a portable model? Is there something I should know here?) and FM tuner, and I'm leaning toward those not being worth the extra cash.
Speaking of cash, I'd like to get my 50 or so Johnny Cash CDs on one MP3 CD so I can listen to them anywhere sometime fairly soon, so any hep here'd be hot (to quote everyone's favorite SW character).