We found setting the alarm easy enough (you can wake up to your iPod, the radio, or a buzzer), and while the display isn't huge, it's easy enough to read from 5 or 6 feet away, and can be dimmed. If you're comparing alarm functionality, this model only allows you to set the alarm to go off daily, whereas the iH9 gives you the option of setting it to go off only on weekdays, weekends, or every day. It's also worth mentioning that you only get four presets for radio stations; we prefer at least six.
An included AC adapter powers the unit and two AAA batteries provide backup power for the clock and alarm in the event of a power failure. However, the batteries will not power the radio, your iPod, or the speakers.
The iH12 doesn't have any bass or treble controls, but you can engage the "3D sound-enhancement" circuitry with a press of a button on the small remote (which is easy to misplace). We've seen similar modes on other iPod audio systems, and they're designed through a bit of processing magic to expand the sound stage (when you have two speakers spaced only a few inches apart you get very little in the way of stereo separation). While it doesn't make much of an impact, the 3D mode on the iH12BR does improve the sound a touch and you'll want to keep it on once you've engage it.
Considering its size, we didn't expect the iH12BR to sound great--and it doesn't. That said, it's not terrible for a small speaker system. Overall, the sound is on the thin side (there's not a ton of bass), but the little system held together well enough at higher volumes and is able to fill a small room or office with sound. As long as you don't raise the volume too high, it won't make you cringe with bass-heavy material. Remember that you're dealing with a clock radio, not a boom box, and your expectations will more likely be met.
We put the iH12 up against the iH9, which carries a list price of $100 ($20 more than the iH12). The iH9 sounded a bit fuller and richer, but the difference wasn't night and day. We preferred the form factor of the iH12 to the iH9, and ultimately, if you like the cube design and can live with four presets on the radio, the iH12 should work out just fine for you.