Editors' Note: The rating on this review has been lowered from 6.7 to 6.0 due to changes in the competitive marketplace.
The i-Station8, which is available in either white or black finishes to match your preferred iPod, has an impressive tower design that is dominated by eight tweeters and a subwoofer. It measures 8 by 9 by 2.5 inches, giving it the profile of a mini flat-screen TV. The square, centrally placed subwoofer is flanked on either side by four, 1-inch tweeters (their silver coloring contrasts nicely against the black version). Above the subwoofer is the brightly lit, single-line LCD that serves to display the title of the song currently in rotation. Below is the flip-down iPod "stage" for which Logic 3 provides five dock adapters, four for each of the docking iPods, and one that protects the port in the event that you're using the line-in feature instead. Unfortunately, even with the proper adapter in place, our 5G iPod didn't sit completely securely in the dock--it wobbled back and forth easily when touched. Also, the little stage in which the iPod sits has a cheap plasticky feel, like it could easily snap off if you're not careful.
Lining the front of the docking station are the power and volume buttons as well as the IR sensor. Of course, there's no need to use these controls, as an IR remote is included in the package. Unfortunately, thanks to its sharp and hard corners, the remote is very uncomfortable to hold and use; the bottom corner is constantly jabbing into your palm. Also, the remote's not terribly responsive. It's a shame, really, because the remote includes a plethora of buttons for controlling music playback, including album and playlist shuttle keys and shuffle and repeat function buttons, as well as the standard volume, play/pause, and track shuttle keys.
Flip the i-Station8 around, and you're greeted with ports to suit every function. There's the proprietary iPod connector pass-through for syncing your player with the computer without ever removing it from the speaker. There are also jacks for composite video, S-Video, and auxiliary line-in for using the Shuffle or non-iPod MP3 players (cable included). On the far right is a toggle for switching to battery power; a compartment on the bottom of the speaker houses six AA batteries (not included) in the event that you're without the AC power adapter. At the top, a notch is provided for stowing the remote when it's not in use.
The i-Station8 is a decent little performer, depending on how it's positioned and where you (and other listeners) are in relation to it. The stereo separation isn't great, so if you're sitting close the speaker, you'll want to have it at the same level as your head and pointing right at you. If you're further away, the positioning isn't as critical--just make sure you're not behind it, or the sound will be muffled by the bass since only the subwoofer goes all the way through the body. Overall, the bass is punchy, and the system offers good range and clarity across the mid- and high-ends. The i-Station8 also gets pretty loud, so it'd likely be suitable for a small party.