[Review] Lenovo’s Smart Clock Essential
While there are plenty of alarm clock apps for your phone, you could place a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo Dot, Google Nest Mini, or a HomePod mini from Apple on your bedside table and tell it to do things. A crucial missing aspect is getting a visual presentation of the time. Lenovo's Smart Clock Essential brings in the visual, voice control and touch control to an alarm clock that functions as a smart speaker doesn't have.
Lenovo’s newest entrant in the smart-speaker space, the $49.99 Smart Clock Essential, is a voice-controlled Alexa speaker with a simple black-and-white segmented LED display. It features a bright, easy-to-read display that shows you the current time, weather conditions, day and your most recent alarms.
It adjusts its brightness depending on the light levels in the room, making it easy to read day or night. There's no touchscreen, can't display photos or video, and can't be used for browsing online. In other words, it's a smart speaker that looks like an old-school 90's clock radio.
The Smart Clock Essential’s design embodies the combination of ideas that makes it somewhat interesting. From the front, its large white numbers on a black background make it look like a typical, bare-bone alarm clock. On top of the device are four buttons for managing alarms, play/pause, and volume.
The sides of the Smart Clock Essential are wrapped in fabric, a trend that has become popular with smart speakers in recent years.
The Smart Clock Essential is a practical alarm clock. You can set multiple alarms on the Smart Clock Essential, either by pressing buttons on top or through voice commands. It also has a snooze function that works by tapping twice on top of the clock. The assistant is no other than Alexa herself. Providing her with an ample load of tips, tricks, and your usual what's the weather like today, it will deliver.
The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is ok as a smart speaker, but don’t expect it to replace your primary music speaker. While it is loud enough to listen to in a quiet room and the sound quality is surprisingly good for such a small device, the bass is lacking, and the sound sucks at high volumes. Listening to weather reports, news updates, or your preferred podcast certainly does the job. The Smart Clock Essential isn't a full smart display, but it offers more utility and alarm clock features than a screen-less Nest Mini or Echo Dot.