Saturday , December 5 2020

Lenovo Smart Clock Essential cuts the screen but keeps the smarts

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The trimmed-down smart clock keeps the display minimal while still showing the time and acting as a smart speaker.

The original Lenovo Smart Clock was one of the first smart alarms that I actually liked. I generally prefer simpler alarms, but Lenovo’s model brought an elegant touchscreen to the bedside so you could view the weather forecast or play music. It doubled as a Google Assistant smart speaker similar to the Nest Mini. For the new Smart Clock Essential, Lenovo is leaning into the mantra that less is more.

The simple touchscreen has been replaced with a clock, the weather and indicators for when you have an alarm set. As with the original Smart Clock, an ambient light sensor will help it adjust the brightness based on the light in the room. The Smart Clock Essential also has a night-light embedded in the back of the body.

That white ring functions as a night light with a gentle 31 lumens. 

While I liked the original Lenovo Smart Clock, I occasionally missed the functionality of smart displays like the Nest Hub, which lets you watch videos and access a smart home control panel. You could check your smart cam on the Clock, but you were generally limited to a few simple screens of info. The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is going further away from smart displays, but it could still make sense if you just want a smart speaker with an alarm clock.

The Essential will have a physical button to control alarms, or you can set them with a voice command. It has a 3-watt speaker so you can still listen to music and include it in groups for synced music with other Google smart speakers. 

It also gives Google a smart speaker comparable to the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock. Google hasn’t yet released an own-brand smart speaker with a time display. 

The price also makes the simplified screen appealing. The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential will be $49, which is the same as the Nest Mini without a clock and $10 less than the Dot with Clock. Lenovo’s simplified smart alarm is due to hit shelves in time for the holidays.

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