My iPod is dead

Some time ago, I said that “my iPod was dying”: — well, it’s now thoroughly dead. A round in the washing machine at 40°C took care of that.
*I am not sorry.* But I _am_ looking for another player. The same requirements as last still apply:
* Must support any OS
* Must work as a regular mass-storage device
* Must be flash-based. 8GB or above
* Should have decent multi-format support
* Should be small
* Should have upgradable firmware
* Should sound better than the iPod
* May have radio
* May have video playback capabilities, but this is not important
So, what should I pick?
I have shortlisted a few candidates:
* “The Meizu M6SL”: — likable as this device seems to be, I’m a bit unsure about build and sound quality. I would appreciate input from someone who owns one.
* The Sony NWZ-S618 — It seems reasonably compatible with Linux, has good battery life, and allegedly good sound.
* The “Samsung YP-P2”: — seems like a really nice alternative, but it seems to be quite a bit more expensive than the alternatives, and while it supports replacing the firmware, I find it a bit worrying that people have reported bricking of devices just to “switch between MTP and UMS modes”:, I am sceptical.
Are there any other alternatives I absolutely _must_ look at?

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  1. This is purely anecdotal, of course, but I had a Samsung YP-T6Z a few years ago, and it broke twice within the space of six months. No telling whether more recent models are as shabbily built, though, of course.
    In my book the Meizu has the advantage of actually playing a useful format out-of-the-box (FLAC), but the trouble is actually finding one. If you’re looking for feedback from owners, is probably a good place to start.
    Good luck, Arve. 🙂

  2. Per Øyvind Øygard

     /  2008-03-31

    I’m quite happy with my iAudio 7. It has an outstanding battery-life of 60h, excellent audio quality, requires no drivers so you can charge or upload from any os/computer, plays mp3/ogg/flac, and is quite compact and solid.
    There are however a few cons too. While it’s small, it’s also quite thick, which can be annoying. It uses touch controls for navigation, which works rather badly, sometimes even requiring a reboot if it’s been heated up in your pocket or the sun. Ogg playback is bugged and comes with a slight hiss; a future fix for this is possible, but iaudio are quite slow. And finally, playback is not gapless.
    It also has a radio, video, and radio/mic/line-in recording capabilities. These are however quite secondary since the radio reception (which I haven’t tried extensively) is said to be poor, and the video playback is about as good as you can imagine on such a small screen.

  3. na

     /  2008-03-31
  4. Take a look at Cowon iAudio 7 and iAudio U5.

  5. NA

     /  2008-03-31

    Didn’t know that.
    I liked my Creative Zen Vision M (used it at my past work), but i’m not going to buy myself a Creative now!