One look makes it clear what we’re dealing with - an LCD clock/radio with alarm, that happens to have an iPod dock. The iH8 looks rather monolithic in black, but this effect is diminished with the white version.
The iH8 features a pleasurably large LCD display, relaying time, sleep status, radio frequency, MW/FM, iPod status, alarm 1/2 status, radio presets, volume level, and backup battery status. A screen this bright could be intrusive, so it can be dimmed when required. Up top we find two dials, with tactile click action - volume, and set (multipurpose, for parameter editing).
Between them resides the iPod dock connector, and 13 backlit buttons, dealing with radio presets, sound sources, EQ, sleep, alarm functions, snooze, and LCD dimming. At the back there are two bass ports, DC mains in, line in/out ports, hardwired FM antenna, MW antenna port, and controls for clock adjustment. Lift the iH8 to install back-up batteries, which will keep the time and a basic buzzer alarm in case of mains failure.
The package includes iPod dock adaptors in all sizes, MW antenna and stand, a huge mains power transformer, stereo lead for line in/out, and a remote control.
Two alarms can be set - Alarm 1 using the iPod or buzzer, Alarm 2 using the radio. Sleep mode allows settings of 15 to 120 minutes. It’s easy to make adjustments to the iH8 settings - for example, just press and hold any preset button to store the current radio tuning. We really appreciated the remote control, and quickly became dependent on it.
As well as radio and alarm related controls, it offers limited iPod control: play, pause, stop, scan, next/previous song. There’s no way to navigate playlists.
The iH8 sounds great, with plenty of bass available through those ports - you can feel the air pumping out of them. And a further advanced touch is that separate EQ adjustments can be made for iPod and radio use. A DAB version of the iHome is all we're waiting for.