Right now i use the 4ch HK Bixler radio. But I am looking into the Turnigy 9x with the FrSky Module for FPV. I only have about 2 years left in Hawaii and i wanna get some good films of the island before i go.
In my case I chose the Dx6i. For us, starting out as newbies, it was valuable to fly a similar radio that the majority of the guys in our club used. Dx6i and Dx7 pretty much rule around our club. Not to mention six bucks a pop for the Orange 6 receivers
If the 9x were more available when I was starting out I may have gone that route. There are several guys around here that use them and to a man they have been very happy with them.
There are lots of routes to take if you like tinkering with electronics. I don't, so the Turnigy stuff and all the modules aren't really my thing. For me the Spektrum has proven to be very reliable and I really like the programming my DX8 offers. I also like to be able to fly all of my older BNF equipment with it. I know I could have bought 27 9X's for the price of my Spektrum, but I'm happy with it and I don't have to tinker. I don't have to solder anything, I don't have to modify anything, I just open my case, take out my full featured radio and fly. That was worth the extra bucks. I don't know anyone with a Futaba or JR or Airtronics or any high end trusted brand radios that regret buying it.
Above all, I think that when learning (and I've posted this time and again) you should get a similar radio system as people you fly with. That provides you with lots of first hand knowledge and the ability to use a trainer cord for easier learning. With foam planes that you aren't worried about crashing it's not as important but when you build up a nice wood plane and you are afraid to maiden it, using a trainer cord to "buddy box" it the first time or two makes things a lot easier.