@DigitalFreak, I feel you man, it's such a tough decision. I have a cowon s9 and I'm also looking for a new dap. Going to other forums and reading on everyone's personal reviews don't make things easier either. The new sony walkman z-series came out and hopefully this supports flac because of its android support. One of the reasons why I'm moving away from cowon was that I have a macbook. I do use linux and microsoft on pc's as well.
My s9 crashes everytime I unplug it after transferring my flac or any other file. Lots of people use mac these days and it'd be nice if I don't have to reinstall the firmware everytime I use my s9 and have issues with other macs. The buttons were easy to break and the touch UI could do so much better.
The eq settings are just phenomenal on cowons though. If there was a way to port those eq (bbe) settings on the sony walkman z series with flac support, I'll be one helluva happy customer. But we can't get all we want in a dap these days so I'll just leave it at that.
Sound quality, smooth user interface, build quality and flac support. That is all I need for a dap.