I am a bit of a tech junkie and I am fortunate enough to own several of the best players on the market at the moment: 60Gb Creative ZEN Video:M purchased for a 'friend' who decided not to pay, 30GB 5th Gen Video IPod, I just had a 'notion' for it and the X5L. They are all nice players. I doubt anyone who purchased any one would be disapointed. However, the X5L gets my vote. Now if you are really going to watch video or view photos you'll probably be better off with the Creative if your a MAC user then the IPod is good for you. If you are primarily a music lover - then the X5L is the only serious contender.
These are my reasons in order of importance to me:
1: Sound quality - this is the best sounding mp3 player and it has support for OGG and FLAC. (Although some of Cowons flash memory players sound even better.)
2: Drag and drop music from any computer - Windows, Linux, MAC, Solaris, BSD. Lets face it theres no need for another layer of junk. No one can persuade me that it's consumers who need to be locked into a particular system which cripples the hardware they paid good money for.
3. Good FM radio. News - football.
4. I love the joystick that a lot of people love to hate... I find it quicker and more positive than the touch controls belonging to the other two players.
Cons - Line out isn't good. Theres a little dongle that plugs in the bottom that handles the USB, line in, line out and power connections - damn nuisance. Stupid two pin power adapter - the type that fits in a shaver socket. Very soft tracks tend to show up a little hiss. A little less noticeable on the iPod about the same on the Creative. Totally absent as far as I can tell on Cowon's IAudio U3 (hard drive noise?).