Remote's are often one area where manufacturers choose to save costs and there's no doubt that the case here. The iHome iH8 remote is a small affair with buttons that are no more than just raised bumps, which are hard to press. You get the main functions such as Play/Pause, and EQ alterations but there's no way of controlling the iPod with it.
The EQ settings provided are just Bass, Treble and Balance. The amount of volume that the iH8 produces is enough to fill a bedroom but there's not enough here to get a party started. The sound quality is notable for being less offensive that we found on the disappointing Philips DCM230, but neither does it have any particular strengths. It made all tracks sound a little compressed and a touch muddy, with no sense of space or depth in the sound, with the soundstage not helped by the closeness of the two speakers.
Tweaking the EQ settings does help bring more weight and clarity into the mix, but there are only limited gains to be made. There's no deep bass or sparkly top end stuff, but it doesn't distort or sound overly strained either. It's perfectly fine though for a clock radio though, but don't think of this as something you'll want to listen to music on for extended period.
Of the two docks, the Philips DCM230 certainly has it in the looks department, and you might very well be tempted if you want to throw CD playback into the mix, while the USB port is a great feature too. However, the sound quality just isn't acceptable for the money Philips is asking.
The iH8 pushes out less volume and has a more coherent sound, so for Â£100 or so less than the Philips, it comes across as the better proposition. If you want a clock/radio with an iPod dock then, the iHome iH8 is worth considering, though I have my reservations about the dated styling.