Mine is the previous gen "matchbook" model with the controls on the unit. I can't be sure, but I don't think I'd miss the unit controls on the newest gen because I always end up controlling the unit from the headphone remote anyways.
Girish Vasmatkar wrote:...in terms of sound quality...
In terms of sound quality, the 2 biggest factors are:
File format and bit rate
Generally, the headphones that come with a player are just "OK." Consider spending a little more for nicer headphones that are suited to your style of music and your listening preferences. (No need to go overboard -- especially considering you're probably not going to be listening in an optimal environment anyway -- but you should notice a big difference at a modest increase in price.)
Choosing how you want to encode your music is basically a trade off between quality and file size. Google about compression and ear fatigue, then experiment by encoding the same song differently and see what your ears tell you.
When it comes to choosing between a Walkman or an iPod, you might consider what software you would rather use. Do you currently use iTunes? If not, download it and see if you like it.
"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer sscce.org