iPod or Not?

So I’m on the fence of whether to get an iPod or some sort of non-Apple based “MP3” player.. I have primarily WMA’s in my collection thus far (although do admit that I installed iTunes the other night and converted a fair amount of my 60+ gigs of 192khz WMA to roughly 80+ gigs of 128khz m4a).. I really enjoy the space saving at a higher bitrate using WMA.  So I had pretty much decided on picking up an iPod, but then saw Dave Ciccone’s iPod Shuffle vs. Sandisk MP3 review on Scoble’s blog and it got me thinking.. do I really want to go with Apple?  I had been thinking about a Creative Zen Touch or the Archos Gmini XS200 – both 20 gigs and 50 bucks cheaper than the standard iPod. If I wanted to kick it up a notch, the 40gig Zen Touch ($329) is also $70 cheaper than the 40gig iPod ($399) – or 30 bucks more than the cheaper iPod and twice the storage!

Now here’s where it gets complicated – the Zen Touch isn’t quite as sexy as the iPod..   My good friend Laura who just bought an iPod mini (pink, of course) summed it up pretty well in her statement “Wow, some people get really into this… I just want something cute that plays music…”  As much as I would prefer to not think of my purchasing preferences as “cute or not“, I definitely agree – a big part of this decision is the device as a “fashion accessory“.. b.k.a – the “cute” factor.  So it’s gotten me thinking about the mini versions of these things.  The mini’s definitely have it goin’ on.. the Zen Micro is so much more aesthetically pleasing than its big brother Zen Touch.  The iPod mini has its big brother beat in that respect as well.  Although I do have to admit, I prefer the dark blue of the Zen Micro to the iPod mini’s light blue only offering (the Zen has a similar light blue to the iPod).  The iPod mini does have more of an annodized look as opposed to the molded plastic look of the Zen. So what to do…

It would be so much easier if there was a 5gb miniSD card available for the SP3i – then I would have both problems solved in one device… at this point, the best I can do is a 512MB for about $80 (or the alleged 1gb miniSD from Teravit for $185) plus the cost of the phone (which at this point is still in the $400 range).