The Lenovo Smart Clock started shipping out to customers this week. Developed alongside Google, it’s a bedside alarm clock that responds to voice commands through Google Assistant. It has a simple touchscreen so you can check your calendar and the weather when you first wake up.
Because it was developed with Google, it was obviously meant to coexist with the Google Home Hub) in Google’s smart home product line. The Nest Hub is a smart display with a more robust touchscreen that can play videos, show you pictures and do lots of other tasks that the Lenovo Smart Clock can’t.Hub (formerly the
The Nest Hub retails for $130, the Lenovo Smart Clock for $80, but the Nest Hub isfor even less than the retail price of the Lenovo Smart Clock. In that case, it can be hard to justify spending roughly the same amount on a device with a less capable touchscreen.
In my, I mentioned this as one of the downsides of the Lenovo Smart Clock. You shouldn’t buy it expecting all of the same features as a full-sized smart display. You’ll be disappointed. That said, the Lenovo Smart Clock is unique enough to stand on its own and it’s generally a better gadget if you specifically want a smart gadget for your bedside table. Here’s why.
The Lenovo Smart Clock is a better fit if you want to get away from your phone before bed. The Nest Hub can’t do everything you can do on a phone, but you can still use it to watch YouTube videos and scroll through images.
The Lenovo Smart Clock is closer in functionality to a smart speaker as the touchscreen only offers a few prescribed functions while still letting you issue any of Google Assistant’s recognized voice commands. For certain families, that more limited functionality will be a good thing.
If you want to limit screen time for yourself and your family, the Lenovo Smart Clock offers a viable alternative. You can still see the most pressing pieces of info — you can check on your security cam, look at your calendar, and see the forecast and your commute.
Lenovo was intentional with the features left out of the Smart Clock. What remains makes sense for your bedside and for the things you need to know when you’re going to sleep or first waking up. It offers enough info that you could reasonably turn off your phone without the temptation to keep consuming the vast content of the internet anyway.
You can set an alarm with a voice command to the Google Nest Hub, so you can use it to wake you up, but the Lenovo Smart Clock is designed for that task. It will suggest alarms based on your first appointment the next day. You can set multiple alarms and customize each one. You can change the alarm tones, the snooze length and the volume of the alarm (separate from the volume of the speaker).
Your alarm can trigger your good morning routine, which will tell you about your calendar and play the news by default. You can also customize the routine to control your smart home devices and more in the. This routine won’t trigger when you snooze, just when you stop your alarm for good.
My favorite feature of the bunch is the sunrise function. Turn this on, and the screen on the Lenovo Smart Clock will gradually start getting brighter 30 minutes before your scheduled alarm. This wake-up light serves to naturally ease you out of your sleep leading up to your wake-up time and it works great. The Nest Hub could potentially add this feature in a future update, but right now, the Lenovo Clock has it and the Nest Hub doesn’t.
Smack to snooze
When your alarm does start buzzing, you can smack the top of the Lenovo Smart Clock to get it to stop. You can customize this so that hitting it will cause it to snooze or stop entirely, which is pretty great. If you use the Nest Hub as an alarm, you can stop it just by saying “Stop” or you can hit a snooze button on the touchscreen. Neither is an arduous task, and you have those options with the Lenovo Clock too. When I’m groggy in the morning, I get a lot of satisfaction from stopping my alarm with a little bit of brute force.
I almost always hit snooze a couple of times and finding a button on the Nest Hub’s screen is honestly more work than I want when I’m still struggling to wake up. Smacking the top of the Lenovo Smart Clock feels right — a call back to a big snooze button on the top of a traditional alarm clock. The fact that you can customize what happens when you hit it makes it even better.
Believe it or not, the little Lenovo Smart Clock sounds better when it’s playing music than the Nest Hub. The Nest Hub isn’t exactly a giant device and neither one can do more than fill a room with background music, but Lenovo makes great use of its built-in 3W speaker and two passive radiators.
It sounds pretty good, especially for its size, and doesn’t have any noticeable distortion in sound quality, even at max volume. Again, don’t expect booming stereo sound — Lenovo’s alarm clock is tiny — but it’s good enough to outclass the tinny and underwhelming sound quality of the Nest Hub.
Fits in better
I love the cute and colorful design of the Nest Hub. It could blend into a wide variety of rooms and Google offers a few color choices for the fabric exterior. The Lenovo Smart Clock just has the one grey fabric finish, but it’s perfect for your nightstand.
Neither has a built-in camera and both have a mute switch to help with peace of mind. Plus, they both have an ambient light sensor to minimize glow from the display. But Lenovo’s alarm clock is small enough to fit onto any open surface in your bedroom. It has a USB port for charging your phone and the rectangular front is pleasantly reminiscent of old school alarms with a modern twist.
Nevertheless, wait for a sale
The Google Nest Hub is a great smart display. The Lenovo Smart Clock is a great smart alarm clock. Both are helpful smart home gadgets. Yes, they both have Google Assistant built in for voice control and the screen on the Nest Hub does more, but the Lenovo Smart Clock is perfectly suited for what it is. If you specifically want to upgrade your alarm clock with smarts, this cute little gadget from Lenovo is your best option right now.
With that said, the frequent sales on the Nest Hub make the Lenovo Smart Clock seem overpriced. Its more limited functionality makes a lot more sense when it’s $50 less than the Nest Hub.has also gone on sale a few times since it was released last year, and your best bet might be to wait for a similar sale on the Lenovo Smart Clock. Once it’s discounted, if you don’t need all of the features of the Nest Hub, you can save money by going with the more streamlined bedside gadget.