It is out of your price range but it is a serious upgrade from the players in that rage, and is at least worth looking at. I have the Creative® 30GB NOMAD® Jukebox Zen Xtra
player. The software that comes with it is very easy to use and figure out, and it very fast at transferring files. Also it doubles as a portable Hardrive.
The battery has a 14hr life, and will play while charging.
It is $220, at bestbuy, (as compared to a 4 gig Ipod Mini @ $250), but I've heard of people say that they have found it online for under $200
Though save yourself some trouble and buy some aftermarket head phones at the time of purchase. The default ones are only so/so.
I have approximatly 2100 mp3s on mine, (most in the 256-320 range) and have only used 10 gig worth of space.