Technophile

Lenovo Smart Clock: Starting your day with the Google Assistant

Mala Bhargava | Updated on September 11, 2019 Published on September 11, 2019

Mostly a clock, but it can answer all the usual questions on traffic, weather, and more

This gadget has a screen smaller than a smartphone but triggers your routine

Cute. That’s the word that first pops into the heads of most who see this diminutive gadget from Lenovo. The cuteness illusion probably comes from the fact that we automatically compare it with other similar-but-larger devices. Set next to the Echo Show, for instance, it looks like the Show could be its mommy. Next to the Google Nest Hub, it’s like a younger sibling. In fact, the Smart Clock is smaller than the average phone with its four-inch screen. It sits unobtrusively at your bedside, which is precisely what it’s supposed to do rather than be the more full-fledged smart speaker with a screen like the Echo Show, Nest Hub or even Lenovo’s own larger device. The Lenovo Smart Clock really is a smart clock. There’s a limited number of things it can do, but that’s just fine for those who don’t want a more complex or expensive gadget.

Time and weather

As a clock, the Smart Clock will show you the time in a choice of clock faces, including one that changes photos. I did set it to show my own Google photos, which you can choose, but it kept switching from my photos back to general ones. It also shows you the temperature (unfortunately only outside temperature). If you swipe on the screen, you get an option to see the weather that day, view your events for the day or set an alarm. Using a voice command, you can also set timers. If you want to snooze an alarm just say ‘Five more minutes’. Or whack it lightly. The screen brightness goes down when the room is dark and you’re all set for a good night’s sleep.

The Smart Clock has a fabric back that sticks out. That’s the speaker part of it and it’s surprisingly loud and clear. It’s just the right sound for all the responses you’ll get for your commands and the alarm that should snap you out of your sleep. For music, it’s good for listening casually to a tune or two if you’re not looking for some powerful listening experience. It doesn’t have deep bass for a device that small, naturally, but all the same, it’s so much louder than you’d expect. It supports a few music sources including Gaana and Spotify. You can also ask it to play the news, after you choose sources from the Google Home app. It’s this app that you use to set it up and there’s really just nothing to it and it’s a matter of minutes. The clock takes a little while to start up first time, but after that, it is very responsive and quick.

Plan the day

With access to your voice match and your Google account, the Smart Clock can show you your day’s agenda via Calendar. But not Gmail, YouTube or other services. You can do basic searches, but not use a browser on-board or see videos any other way. The device also doesn’t have a camera so you can’t make video calls. I tried making regular calls and while it looked as if it tried to dial, it then would say there was no phone number associated with the contact. I have however seen reviewers in the US making calls with the device so perhaps the feature isn’t enabled here. It does turn on smart devices but not with full details on display as with other smart displays. It can also work with smart devices like cameras, to show you the view in another room, at the door, etc.

This simple little device doesn’t pretend to be a full smart display and its very minimalism may appeal to some people. But you wouldn’t be remiss in wondering whether a phone placed on a stand would not do the same job — especially with an always-on display and your voice to command Google right there anyway. I had an amusing time seeing which of the two — phones or clock — would respond to Google commands.

Lenovo Smart Clock
  • Price: ₹5,999
  • Pros: Small and fits into a bedroom well, loud, clear sound, minimalistic and simple to use, useful for a morning routine, works with smart devices
  • Cons: Could be a little cheaper considering a phone can do the same job and it’s not much bigger than one

Published on September 11, 2019
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