We can't say that we've seen an abundance of affordable iPod alarm clock radios. The second you add "iPod" to the equation, you're looking at a price between $70 and $80 at the minimum.
Philips has entered the iPod alarm clock radio market with a variety of models, and its DC190--the cheapest of the line at $50--is what we looked at. Here we have a solid-performing device that is blemished by one significant detail: sound quality.
The DC190 is actually a slick-looking alarm clock. It stands about the size of a page-a-day desk calendar and has smooth, curved edges. The main LCD display is hidden behind the reflective front panel, which actually serves as a pretty decent mirror.
The orange LCD looks neat and is easy to read. A variety of little icons surround the main time display, giving you details about which alarms are set and what audio source is currently selected.
Most of the DC190's control buttons are hidden to the left and right sides (where you'll also find the speakers). We found it a bit difficult to reach these, as you'll most likely need to turn the device around to see what you're doing. The rear of the alarm clock has a wake source slider (you can choose from buzz, iPod, or FM radio) in addition to tuning buttons, and alarm- and time-set functions. Also, here you'll find a 3.5 millimeter jack for connecting other audio devices.
The iPod dock is a fold-down design. To reveal it, you need to first push in on the faux brushed-metal panel and then manually pull it down. Behind the actual iPod dock is a unique spring-loaded rubber stopper that will allow your device to fit snugly in the dock. The DC190 is compatible with fifth-generation iPods and higher. Basically, if your device has a color screen, it should play nicely. Next to the dock are play/pause and skip forward and backward track buttons. Whether the DC190 is on or off, the second you attach an iPod, it'll immediately begin playing. Also, whenever attached, the DC190 will charge your iPod.