Runner-up: Sony NWZ-A866
Smaller and lighter than the iPod Touch, it retains excellent build quality and a colourful interface. The SensMe feature, which magically arranges tracks into moods, retained an air of mystery and wonder, and the bundled headphones were better than Apple's equivalent. Our panel liked the drag-and-drop interface which freed them from the binds of iTunes, and the pitch and speed alteration modes, which would appeal to musicans. Its main downside was value - at £220 for the 32GB model it's expensive for what is still at its heart a basic player - but if you don't want to go down the Apple route, this remains your best bet.