The Cowons are looking good…
Are you an EQ user, or not? I ask because if you’re not using their EQ and other sound enhancements, then they won’t sound any better than a Fuze or Clip+…although they do offer higher capacities (at least the J3, which is available in 32GB with a card slot).
My rockboxed Sansas, my Cowon i9, and my Touch 4G with the “Equalizer” and “EQu” apps all sound equally good to me with EQ’s/enhancements activated, except that the i9 has just a little bit more output power…but it’s not a big difference. Those in the know say that the Cowon i9, S9, and J3 all sound the same. Note also that I said rockboxed Sansas, with the rockbox EQ…the EQ in the Fuze original firmware quite frankly sucks…the newer Clip+ EQ is better, but still not up to the rockbox level EQ.
I’m not suggesting that you not buy a Cowon, not at all…just giving you an idea what to expect…after all, money doesn’t grow on trees! But the Fuzes are disappearing, and the Fuze+ looks like a fail…so it can’t hurt to broaden your horizons.
No, I’m not an EQ user. I leave the EQ on flat. I don’t even use it on my rockboxed fuze. The way the sansas sound is just fine to my ears so the Cowon’s audio quality will be good to me also.
The battery on my fuze has recently started to get overly warm when I charge it after a couple of hours so it may not last much longer. Much as I love my little sansas, the Cowon J3 is also a very good player.
It certainly is. A much nicer screen than any Sansa, battery runtime rated at 60+hours(with the requisite 128kbps files, etc.), and a little more output power do make for a nice player. And up to 32GB internal with an additional microsd slot, and the potential is there for a 64GB player!