Great review, kredig....thanks for your efforts. I have the original Fuze as well as the original Clip, and IMO the Fuze has a fuller, seeming more powerful sound than the Clip, which still has great sound but seems a little weak to me at driving headphones. I think the Fuze just has more power at driving music than the Clip, and this explains the slight difference in sound (warmer and more bass) between the two players. Regarding your comparisons with the Zen X-fi2: I've found that Creative players from around the ZVM era and beyond have what is known as the "Creative Sound", which is a distinctive warmer, sometimes referred to as fuller sound. I don't think the very early Nomad and Zen players had this type of sound.
It seems to be a very quality low-end flash DAP, as all Sansa players have been beginning with the e200 series. I'm enjoying my 1st-generation Fuze greatly, and when it ever bites the big one, I imagine the Fuze+ will be it's immediate replacement.
Thanks again for the review!