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Review: See why the Lenovo Smart Clock is my new favorite for the bedroom

The clock with Google Assistant baked inside is a great introduction to smart speakers for those who have yet to take the plunge

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Overall Rating:
9
10

The new Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant is a small, smart speaker designed for the bedroom, but can at home in any room you choose. It's a bedside clock and alarm, yes, but the smart clock also a fairly robust addition to the Google Assistant line by packing many of the Google Home features into a smaller, we think more useful, package.

While testing the device, I have to admit, I didn't banish my smartphone from the bedroom. (I'm too worried about family being able to reach me at night.) In theory I could have, though, save for one learning curve worth noting.

There are 10 different clock faces to choose from on the Lenovo Smart Clock, including one that displays the weather There are 10 different clock faces to choose from on the Lenovo Smart Clock, including one that displays the weatherGearBrain

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In the box

Inside the box, you'll get the Lenovo Smart Clock, which features a touchscreen on the front face, with fabric covering the rest of the device. There are two ports in the back, one for power and one to charge USB devices, yes — like your phone. There's also a physical mute switch back there which turns off Google Assistant so the smart clock doesn't hear what you say. And for those even more concerned about privacy, the Lenovo device also doesn't have a camera — bonus.

Lenovo Smart Clock On Sale at Walmart - $79.99

Launching the clock is as simple as starting up other Google Home products, like the Google Home Mini. You plug the device into an electrical outlet, and then connect the clock to the Google Home app. If you don't have any other Google Home products, download that app — which is available for iOS and Android devices — and create an account.

After opening the Google Home app, ask it to discover the Lenovo Smart Clock, and then connect to your home Wi-Fi. You don't need a hub, and you don't an extra Google device — the clock works on its own.

The new Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant inside is $79.99 The new Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant inside is $79.99GearBrain

Using the touchscreen

The clock has a touchscreen interface — which means you can bring up features all by swiping and tapping on the screen. You can also turn off or snooze the alarm just by touching the top of the clock, one of my favorite features. And of course you can have Google Assistant turn off the alarm just by asking out loud.

You can control the clock three different ways: through a series of physical movements on the screen, though the Google Home mobile app, or by calling up Google Assistant through its "Hey Google" wake phrase, and then asking it to perform certain tasks.

Swiping up on the screen will bring up volume options for the alarm, brightness choices for the screen, device settings and a 'Do not disturb' icon, which mutes reminders and other notifications — although not alarms — from the Google Home app. Swiping down is where you can set alarms, play music and also launch the Good Night routine. Swiping left shows you the alarms, and swiping right brings up the time.

You can snooze or stop the alarm on the Lenovo Smart Clock by tapping the screen, the clock or just asking Google Assistant to stop You can snooze or stop the alarm on the Lenovo Smart Clock by tapping the screen, the clock or just asking Google Assistant out loudGearBrain

Alarm

The Lenovo Smart Clock is stocked with features — it's a Google Assistant product after all. But let's start with its key attraction: the alarm and clock. This is why most people are going to buy the device.

The clock face is customizable, there are 10 different designs, some with color, and some black and white. While they're all graphically clean and fun to look at (and crucially, easy to read), only one features the weather. I personally like hearing about the weather every morning (I have three weather apps on my smartphone alone) so I chose that face. The temperature is clearly labeled at the top, and you're also told the weather conditions with words at the bottom of the screen.

To set the alarm, you swipe down, and can choose to set a single alarm, make it repeat, add a feature called Sunrise alarm, which gradually brightens the display as the alarm goes off, or make it part of your Good morning routine. There are seven different alarm sounds — not a ton of options, but enough.

Lenovo Smart Clock On Sale at Walmart - $79.99

You can also create an alarm just by asking Google Assistant. Once the alarm is set you'll see the alarm icon at the top right of the screen — and do make sure you see this before you head off to sleep. (More on that in a minute.) The alarm, when it goes off, will also get louder, a nice feature for those who need an extra push out of bed.

One night, I thought the alarm was set — I had asked Google Assistant to do so by voice — but it never went off in the morning. In the darkness, with the screen dimmed, and in Night Mode, I may have accidentally pressed 'Delete' instead of 'Done' at the bottom of screen, clearly user error. But this is something to take note of in that you'll want to be aware of what you're pressing when you set an alarm, and consider setting this function before the lights are off at night.

You can set an alarm just by calling up Google Assistant on the Lenovo Smart Clock You can set an alarm just by calling up Google Assistant on the Lenovo Smart ClockGearBrain

Smart routines

Setting Google Routines is a great way to take advantage of multiple features at once, and these already exist with Google Assistant, they're not new to the Lenovo Smart Clock — but the device does make using these features more natural.

There are two easy ones to start with: Good Morning Routine and Good Night Routine, which are set up in the Google Home app. For the morning routine, you can set the Lenovo Smart Clock to tell you the traffic, read news alerts and the weather, for example.

The Good Night Routine can connect to other Google Assistant-enabled devices, by locking doors, turning off lights and even playing music and sound effects to lull you to sleep. You can also set a Dark Mode, which will lower the brightness of the screen to match the light already in the room.

All you need to do to launch these modes on the smart clock is say, "Hey Google, good night." or "Hey Google, good morning." Doing so prompts Google Assistant to start the tasks you've selected. In my case, when saying good night, I heard the weather for the next day, a request to ask what time to set my alarm, and heard Google wish me, by my name, "Good night."

Music

As for music, with Google Assistant a part of the Lenovo Smart Clock, you can connect to different sources including Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. YouTube always came up when I clicked Play Music as I didn't link my other services at set-up. You can always add these later. YouTube also played music I had been streaming on the channel from my computer. Do remember —this is a Google device, and it picks up your data from across the Google services you use. Note that video streaming, however, will not work on the Lenovo Smart Clock even with its screen.

Once you've connected the Lenovo Smart Clock in the Google Home app, you can start setting up routines Once you've connected the Lenovo Smart Clock in the Google Home app, you can start setting up routinesGearBrain

Broadcast

One of the best features of having multiple Google Home devices is Broadcast, the ability to record something in your voice — and then have it Broadcast across all the Google Home devices in a home. The Lenovo Smart Clock supports this feature, and you can send a Broadcast through the Google Home app, or just by asking Google Assistant out loud to launch Broadcast, recording directly from the clock, and then having your message sent out to other rooms.

'Do not Disturb' turns off notifications on the Lenovo Smart Clock 'Do not Disturb' turns off notifications on the Lenovo Smart ClockGearBrain

An alarm clock for the 21st Century?

For those who use Google Assistant devices at home, the Lenovo Smart Clock is a nice addition to your collection. It's robust, stocked with Google Assistant features, and folded into a bedside clock, a product that many people may be surprised they've missed.

The clock is also well-priced at $79.99, which is, we agree, more than a Google Home Mini which can bring up Google Assistant as well. But the touchscreen and alarm clock features we think make up for the difference in price. Plus we liked the privacy details, likely to appease those who are concerned about adding a smart speaker in the bedroom, with the physical mute button and the fact that there isn't a camera. (Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Google Home and Home Mini.)

Lenovo Smart Clock On Sale at Walmart - $79.99

Ultimately, we think the Lenovo Smart Clock is a solid option for those looking to wade into the smart speaker space and haven't yet. Just don't expect to jettison your smartphone from the bedroom any time soon.

Pros:

  • Connects to Google Assistant, and other Google Home devices
  • Feature-rich bedtime and morning routines
  • Easy to launch

Cons:

  • Touchscreen interface has a learning curve
  • Doesn't support video streaming
  • Only one color option

Specs:

  • Processor: Mediatek 8167S 1.5GHz
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Android Things
  • Display: 4-inch IPS, Touch Compatible
  • Speakers: 1 x 1.5", 3 Watt, 2 x Passive Radiators
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dimensions: 4.483" x 3.14" x 3.11" (113.88mm x 79.8mm x 79.2mm)
  • Weight: 0.723lbs (328g)
  • Color/Materials: Grey, Soft Touch Cloth
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