It's funny, but I considered many of the same factors about a year ago. I'd started with OM cameras, and, due to focussing problems and aging eyes, made the mistake of seeling the best of those (OM4T) to buy a Nikon F70. The excellent metering and focus system were a miracle at first, but couldn't qwite make up for the bulk and awkward user interface. Replaced it with an F80, which was lighter and handled better, but somehow souless.
When the D70 came out, I tried to like it, and tried it and the Canon 20D repeatedly. The I tried the E-1. As much as I--and many a salesman--tried to talk me into the flashy tech of especially the 20D, the E-1 was the camera I ended up buying, and have ended up using, both in the -40 winters we have here and in the rainforests of Dominica.
It hasn't been perfect. The autocus could certainly be better, the meterng more sophisticated and the ISO higher ...but I doubt that I'd even have dared to take a D70 or a 20D along to some of the places and situations in which it took pretty good, and sometimes superb pictures!