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Philips DCM230

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iPod integration is still a hot property so it's no surprise there's a wealth of iPod clock radio's out there. While some are relatively cheap some are on the pricey side - but is it worth paying more? We take a look at two products that represent each of these categories. First is the shiny, expensive Philips DCM230, and then we move to the comparatively affordable iHome iH8.

Philips DCM230

Philips is one of those companies that you can rely on to produce a good looking product. Take its Aurea TV, which you can do if you have £3,000 to spare. With a chameleon like colour changing frame surrouding a large LCD it's a beautiful bit of design. Also this smart iPod dock/clock radio that I looked at back in July, shows that it knows how to make good looking products that don't cost the earth.
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The DCM230 is certainly in keeping with that high design reputation. Like the AJ300D it's an iPod dock/clock radio, though this one is on the large side. At 390mm wide, 140.5mm high and 200.5mm deep, you'll need a fairly substantial bedside table to put this on. It's more suitable setting will be a dressing table or a desk.

Drenched in shiny silver, the DCM230 will be a magpies delight. The whole speaker grille at the front is silver and the buttons at the top are also gleaming. The large central section, has a mirrored section in the middle and contains a oblong blue backlit LCD.
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The central mirrored section contains a slot for a CD player, while on top is the iPod dock, with the usual support for iPods from fourth gen onwards, including the mini and the nano, with a selection of docks supplied. To the left of this is a USB slot, from which you can play music directly, in either WMA or MP3 formats. However, AAC is not on the menu, and neither is lossless WMA or DRMed up WMA files. The files can be placed in the root or within folders.

There's a FM and MW tuner and you can store up to 20 presets. You can also add external sources via an auxiliary port, with one located at the top above the USB port. A small FM aerial is supplied that slides into a larger coaxial port, which can be used if you have a roof mounted aerial for optimal reception, and an oblong plastic aerial for medium wave is provided too. Round the back there's a headphone socket too so you can listen in peace.
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Also provided is a rather nice remote control, which has all the options and more that you might expect to find. In fact it feels almost over engineered. Its tapered edges on the base mean that it's very comfortable in the hand. It's got numbered buttons for direct access to tracks on CD, and the forward and back buttons will skip through tracks in both CDs and MP3s. All in all, it's a good range of options for the Philips.

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