(Pocket-lint) - Lenovo announced a Smart Clock at CES 2019 featuring Google Assistant built-in, like its Smart Display. The Smart Clock is pitched as the "ultimate bedroom companion", putting it in direct competition with Amazon's Echo Spot.
Amazon's Echo Spot offers Alexa skills and Lenovo's Smart Clock delivers Google smarts, but how else do these two bedside devices compare?
Design and display
- Echo Spot: 2.5-inch display, circular, camera
- Smart Clock: 4-inch display, rectangular, USB port
The Amazon Echo Spot is a small circular device that is 104mm wide and 97mm tall, making it a great size for a bedside table. It has a smooth plastic finish, available in black and white, and it features a 2.5-inch display on the front, with a camera present above the screen.
On the top of the Spot, there is a microphone and camera on/off button, a volume up button and a volume down button. You'll also find a four-microphone array, along with a 3.5mm audio output and a power port at the rear. A 1.4-inch speaker is present at the bottom of the Spot.
The Lenovo Smart Clock has a 4-inch rectangular display, making it a little larger than the Echo Spot, though it offers a more bedroom-friendly finish with a material body, like Google Home devices, allowing it to blend in.
The Smart Clock has physical volume controls at the top, coupled with a 3.5mm audio input, a microphone on/off button and a USB port for charging devices at the rear. It too has a speaker, though the grilles are hidden and it is a little more powerful with a 6W main speaker and two passive radiators on board.
There is no camera on board the Smart Clock either - which some may prefer for a bedroom device, while others may want a camera for video calls.
Features and voice control
- Echo Spot: Alexa voice control, Amazon shopping, multiroom audio, video calling
- Smart Clock: Google Assistant voice control, Chromecast support, charging
The Amazon Echo Spot has Alexa voice control and therefore it offers everything the larger Echo does in a smaller format. You can therefore ask the Spot to play music, read the news, answer questions, set an alarm, control your smart home devices and even call or message anyone who has an Echo device or the Alexa app, to name but a few features.
Alexa has thousands of skills, from ordering a pizza to tracking your fitness goals and the Spot offers access to all of them. The Spot is also compatible with multiroom, allowing you to connect to other speakers in your home to play music in different rooms.
Users can also order millions of products from Amazon using just their voice and the Echo Spot. Voice orders all include Prime delivery, assuming you have an account, and Alexa can track your delivery for you.
The Lenovo Smart Clock meanwhile, offers everything Google Assistant does so it too is capable of responding to commands such as play music, read the news, set an alarm, whilst also answering questions with the power of Google search behind the responses.
It can also control compatible smart home devices, like turning your lights down, or showing you the camera in your living room, just like the Echo Spot. It's also possible to set up routines on the Smart Clock, as you can with Google Home Hub. For example, saying "Ok Google, Good Night" could see all your compatible smart lights turn off, your first calendar event for the next day appear on the screen and your phone turn on silent.
Those with a Chromecast can also ask the Lenovo Smart Clock to "play Power on Bedroom TV" for example and it will start playing, no remote needed (as long as your TV is on).
- Echo Spot: £119.99
- Smart Clock: $79.99
The Amazon Echo Spot is £119.99 and it is available now.
The Lenovo Smart Clock will cost $79.99 and it will be available in Spring 2019. UK pricing has yet to be announced.
Amazon's Echo Spot brings Alexa capabilities to your home in a small and subtle device. It has a camera so it can be used for video calls and there are thousands and thousands of Alexa skills to take advantage of. For those with other Amazon Echo devices, or with an Amazon Prime account, it's a great bedside device.
On the other hand, the Lenovo Smart Clock has a more powerful speaker, a more premium finish and a larger display, making it more useful for checking a living room camera for example. You also get Chromecast compatibility and there is a convenient USB charging port on the rear.
Overall, the decision between these two devices will likely come down to which voice assistant you want or already have in your home. Amazon Alexa currently has the advantage in terms of compatible devices and services, but Google Assistant has the advantage in terms of search and its conversational abilities.