The smart home is getting smarter and more complete as increasing numbers of devices become available. In 2018 we saw the Google Home Hub make for a great central control centre using Google Assistant voice and touchscreen controls.
For 2019 that ideal is being distilled in different flavours, with the Lenovo Smart Clock doing exactly what it says on the tin: acting as a Google Assistant-powered bedside clock, with many of the great feature of Google Home Hub, but in a simplified format more suitable for an alarm clock.
The Lenovo Smart Clock is one the first dedicated products of its kind (the Amazon Echo Spot isn't a million miles off for an Alexa equivalent) and, although simple, we think that's likely key to its success. For it makes alarm clocks smarter and more interesting.
Design and display
- Integrated speaker (1.5in 3W with peak power of 6W) and 2x passive radiators
- Volume up/down physical controls
- 4-inch screen with touch control
- 114 x 79 x 80mm; 328g
- USB port to rear
- Bluetooth 5.0
With the 4-inch display at the front tapering off in a cut-off prism-like shape, the Smart Clock is a simple, unfussy looking product. It's finished in a soft-touch grey material cladding that looks a lot like the Google Home Hub's finish – making it look like part of that family, in a sense.
That screen is small in scale, but spot on for an alarm clock size. It doesn't need to display loads of data: ultimately it's a clock face (multiple faces are selectable), with various Google 'cards' available to swipe through should you want to look at, say, the weather or open a music player.
The Smart Clock has an integrated speaker which, considering the size, sounds perfectly fine. It's not an epic soundsystem – but as a bedside 'radio' it's suited to purpose to get your day started with some tunes, should you so wish. There are physical controls to adjust the volume if you don't want to bark instructions at Google Assistant using your voice.
There's also a USB port to the rear which makes a lot of sense, as you can plug your phone into this to recharge should you wish.
- Google Assistant built-in voice control
- Mute switch (ceases listening)
- Day/night modes
The real beauty in the Smart Clock is how it integrates with other smart products. Much like Google Home Hub, the Lenovo product can be used as an interface to switch on smart lights/plugs, trigger Google Routines at given times, and so forth.
As this is Google-centric, any Google calendar appointments will sync between Android phone and the Smart Clock, with the software not only able to present the calendar – but also suggest alarm times. And it'll likely only get smarter in the future with routings and timings based on additional data.
Alarms can be switched off by using your voice, the touchscreen or physically tapping the product itself to trigger a morning Routine.
The clock face also has an ambient light sensor, so while it's bright in the day as per our pictures, it dims accordingly at night and becomes a black-and-white visual when it's particularly dark to avoid disturbing your sleep. An OLED screen would cater better for this idea than an IPS LCD, however, which is one area that could be improved.
The Smart Clock can also pair with other multi-room speaker devices on your smart network. There's Chromecast integration too, so you can use the Smart Clock as a controller to project content onto a larger screen if you want to watch something before getting some shut-eye.
We like the Lenovo Smart Clock for the way it brings advancements to otherwise simple tasks: setting alarms, integrating Routines with associated smart products, and potentially acting as a mini 'hub' to your smart home if you don't need a larger-screen device.
It's relatively affordable, too, with our only initial qualm being that an OLED panel would make for better night-time illumination (or lack of it) for a true black-out clock face.
The Lenovo Smart Clock will be available from 'Spring 2019', priced $79.99.