Lenovo Smart Clock Review 2019
An interesting new take on the classic alarm clock
With the Lenovo Smart Clock, it may seem like Lenovo is trying to slip a smart device into that most private of spaces – your bedroom. That’s despite increased anxiety about tech creeping its way into every corner of our lives. However, after spending some time with the Smart Clock, it proves to be a surprisingly compelling package with some truly useful features.
- Excels as an alarm clock
- Extra Google Home and Assistant functionality is handy
- UI is pretty intuitive
- Doesn’t look out of place at home
- Google Assistant occasionally fumbles commands
- Pretty pricey for an alarm clock
We all know that we spend too much time on our phones, particularly late at night and early in the morning. While companies have been busy creating dark modes and blue light filters for phones to reduce eye strain, neither of these will be as good as avoiding your phone altogether.
Step forward Lenovo, which is hoping the Smart Clock will change your habits. The idea is that by having a smart alarm clock next to your bed, you won’t need to open your bright phone screen to check the time whilst still semi-sleeping, and immediately get distracted by a notification.
However, the Smart Clock also plays music and controls your smart home devices, making it a mite more useful than any old analogue clock. So, does it deserve a place on your bedside table?
In this review:
- Lenovo Smart Clock features – Does a lot more than it says on the tin
- Lenovo Smart Clock display – Small but well-judged
- Lenovo Smart Clock Audio – Struggles to fill big rooms
- Lenovo Smart Clock cost and value for money – A bit more expensive than it needs to be
- Lenovo Smart Clock Verdict – Should you buy this smart alarm clock?
Lenovo Smart Clock Features
The Smart Clock, while offering a slightly reduced Google Assistant experience, packs plenty of features into its small 4×3-inch frame.
And yes, you read that right — reduced experience. Lenovo has deliberately removed certain features normally found on Google Assistant smart hubs. The idea is that, as the Smart Clock will be used in bedrooms, there are some features you don’t want or need.
It’s still an alarm clock
Let’s start with the basics. The Smart Clock functions as a Google Assistant-powered alarm clock. You can set alarms with voice commands or by using the Google Home app. You can even tap on top of the Smart Clock to snooze your alarm — just like a regular alarm clock!
It also has a sunrise alarm feature, which gradually illuminates the display in the thirty minutes before your alarm goes off. This should give you a more gentle wake-up than a sudden alarm, but we didn’t really noticed a great deal of difference.
Lenovo has removed a load of features normally found on smart hubs, such as its own Smart Display, in order to make the Smart Clock more appropriate for bedroom-use.
It’s removed the camera for (understandable) privacy reasons, and the Smart Clock also won’t show YouTube videos, in order to prevent binge-watching before bedtime.
However, Lenovo has added a couple of bits to make the Smart Clock easier to live with. For example, it comes with an easy-to-find mute button on the back and an ambient light sensor which matches the display’s brightness to the lighting conditions in your room.
The Smart Clock also connects with Headspace mindfulness app, so you can do some guided meditation before bed.
Find out more about the Smart Clock's features
Lenovo Smart Clock Display
The Smart Clock uses a small 4-inch display with a 480×800 pixel resolution. That doesn’t sound impressive on paper, but, given all you need to see is what time it is, you don’t need a bigger display.
While you primarily control the Smart Clock with your voice, the small display also works as a touchscreen.
Given how small this display is, though, Lenovo’s had to completely redesign the user interface. Instead of the typical tile-based UI found on other Google Assistant smart hubs, you get a card-based system. This means you have to swipe back-and-forth between lots of different menus to get stuff done. It’s fairly intuitive, but it is easy to get lost within the sub-menus when you start using the device.
Lenovo Smart Clock Audio
Of course, the Smart Clock isn’t designed to replace your dedicated speakers. But, you can use it to play music from Spotify, YouTube Music, and different radio stations — and many people will do just this when waking up in the morning.
If we’re honest, the Smart Clock audio quality isn’t exactly great. The sound lacks depth and bass. You wouldn’t plan a house party around this little speaker, but it’s perfectly reasonable for waking up to first thing in the morning.
Lenovo Smart Clock Cost and Value for Money
The Smart Clock will set you back $79.99 in the US, and £79.99 in the UK. That makes it $30 more than the Google Home Mini, but $10 less than a regular Google Home. If you want a similarly small smart assistant with a screen, you’ll need to get the $129.99 Amazon Echo Spot.
At $79.99, the Smart Clock is quite pricey — especially when compared to regular alarm clocks or non-smart clock radios.
But, that’s not really why we’re here. The Smart Clock isn’t a device that can really be that easily quantified. It adds a little extra value over time, helping you sleep better and keeping you off your phone late at night and early in the morning. For the price, it won’t be right for everyone — but it might be right for you.
Lenovo Smart Clock – The Verdict
The Smart Clock is a strange device to review. It isn’t going to replace your main smart hub, or your main speaker set. But then, it isn’t meant to. It doesn’t have any real rivals, either, which makes it difficult to compare.
But, can you put a price on improved sleep and a better quality of life? Yes, about $79.99, actually. And, for our money, we’d be quite tempted to give the little Lenovo a home on our bedside table.
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