When it involves screens, the overall rule is the larger the higher. The Lenovo Smart Clock turns that perception on its head. With a display screen that’s smaller than most smartphones, the Smart Clock is a full-featured, great-sounding Google Assistant-powered sensible speaker with simply sufficient show to comfortably view photographs, movies, and, in fact, the time, which ought to make it the right mixture of sight and sound.
Except Lenovo hasn’t correctly taught it to do the stuff you anticipate a wise speaker with a show to do. It doesn’t hyperlink with Google Photos to point out photos you’ve snapped. It can’t show movies. And it doesn’t use the brand new Home View for controlling lights, thermostats, and different linked gadgets. So mainly, the $80 Lenovo Smart Clock is de facto only a sensible clock.
But it’s a very good one. The Lenovo Smart Clock is a wonderful (and cute) addition to the ever-expanding sensible show lineup, one which’s smaller than the each Google Nest Hub and the brand new Echo Show 5 that Amazon is delivery later this month. And when you’re bored with utilizing your cellphone to get up, it’ll positively make an important addition to your nightstand.
Small and complicated
The Lenovo Smart Clock clearly takes its design cues from the Nest Hub. While considerably smaller than Google’s gadget, the Smart Clock has a grey fabric-wrapped again that covers its 1.5-inch 3W speaker and passive radiators. It’s a bit bulbous at roughly 3 inches deep and I may do with thinner bezels, however the Smart Clock continues to be a lot sufficiently small to maintain on a nightstand.
And that’s most likely the place you’ll need to maintain it. The Smart Clock’s 4.48- x 2.9-inch body is in regards to the measurement of an old style alarm clock, a one-time bedside staple that was long-ago changed by a smartphone on a charging stand. But the place even one of the best always-on shows and wi-fi charging stands characteristic tiny numbers that aren’t really easy to see with bleary eyes.
The Smart Clock doesn’t have that downside. Like alarm clocks of yore, its show can simply be seen from throughout a room, and a wide range of faces will maintain it trying recent every morning. There are 10 completely different kinds to select from, and so they’re all refreshingly completely different. There are analog, digital, minimal, and colourful faces, in addition to weather-themed faces and a cool word-based one. An choice to randomly cycle via them can be good to have, nevertheless it’s straightforward sufficient to vary and customise the assorted faces by long-pressing on the display screen.
A extremely sensible clock
The Smart Clock doesn’t truly do something a Google Home Mini can’t, nevertheless it’s a a lot better bedside companion. It’s not simply that it has a display screen. Lenovo has rigorously thought-about the methods by which you’ll use the Smart Clock to emphasise options that aren’t as outstanding on different sensible audio system. For instance, in case your Wi-Fi goes out, it’ll nonetheless show the clock reasonably than the an error display screen.
For one, it doesn’t have a digital camera. Lenovo understands that almost all of Smart Clocks will probably be positioned in a bed room, so reasonably than implement a set of switches and toggles to show it off, it merely eradicated the danger altogether. The lack of a digital camera is perhaps a deal-breaker for some, however I’m keen to wager most individuals will purchase it as a result of it doesn’t have a digital camera reasonably than regardless of it.
But one of the best characteristic of the Smart Clock is a straightforward one: alarms. They’re at all times a faucet or a swipe away, however like another Assistant gadget, you’ll largely set them by asking. Like the Sunrise characteristic on Pixel telephones, alarms begin off low and progressively enhance in quantity, in order to not jerk you out of a deep sleep. The speaker is surprisingly good too, so it’s a bummer you could solely set it to play certainly one of six preset tones reasonably than a track or station.
It’s been so lengthy since I used an alarm clock with precise buttons that I hadn’t fairly realized how a lot of an annoyance snoozing has turn out to be on smartphones and sensible audio system. On the Smart Clock, you may faucet anyplace on the display screen to snooze reasonably than wrestle to faucet a small smartphone goal or hope it could perceive your groggy mumbles. And there’s a setting to regulate the size of snooze time, too: a small however welcome addition. There’s even a Nap Timer, which begins a 20-minute timer for a fast stretch of shuteye.
Amazon presents the identical options with the Echo Spot (and presumably the Echo Show 5 as properly), however no different Google Assistant gadget has such a stellar alarm expertise. It’s what separates the Smart Clock from different Assistant audio system, and my guess is it will likely be the beginning of a brand new line of diminutive sensible shows. Google just lately rebranded its 7-inch show as a Nest product, and I wouldn’t be stunned to see a smaller one launched in time for the vacation purchasing season.
A semi-smart show
For pretty much as good as it’s at alarms, nevertheless the Smart Clock isn’t as nice at being a wise show. While it dutifully does the issues a wise speaker ought to—residence management, common information questions, music playback, and many others.—it doesn’t benefit from its display screen past displaying the time. So you don’t get maps, track lyrics, or the Smart Dashboard on the Google Nest Hub.
The largest deficiency is that it could’t show photographs. While its display screen is an effective deal smaller than the Google Nest Hub and even most smartphones, it’s nonetheless a lot massive sufficient for photographs, particularly when the two.5-inch round Echo Spot manages to do it. Google Photos integration needs to be a faucet and a toggle away. Alas, it stays out of attain.
You can also’t watch movies on the Smart Clock. While it connects with a Chromecast to beam issues that Assistant finds, it could’t truly present them on its tiny display screen. That means when you put a Smart Clock in your kitchen, you gained’t be capable of use it to view recipes. Instead, Assistant will learn you the steps like it could on a Google Home, however all of the speaker will present is the coloured circles emblem. It’s a bummer for the reason that Smart Clock show is the right measurement for a countertop.
Should you purchase a Lenovo Smart Clock?
The Lenovo Smart Clock is likely one of the most intriguing sensible audio system to return alongside shortly, primarily as a result of it doesn’t attempt to be a do-everything gadget. It shirks most of the options we’ve come to anticipate in visible sensible audio system, however within the course of it creates a brand new kind of gadget.
As its identify suggests, the Lenovo Smart Clock is really a wiser clock. And it’s an important one. The solely downside is the worth. At $80, it’s solely $10 lower than the upcoming Echo Show 5 and about $20 lower than the going charge for the Google Nest Hub. If you’re affected person, you’ll most likely be capable of get it for nearer to $50, however ready for a sale to carry a tool all the way down to the worth it ought to have been at within the first place is hardly a powerful purchase advice.
But even when you pay full worth, you gained’t be dissatisfied with the Smart Clock. You simply would possibly need to purchase a extra succesful sensible show to go together with it.