Smart homes continue to enjoy great popularity, which is why many manufacturers offer a more or less large lineup of items. One of these manufacturers is Lenovo. Besides notebooks and tablets, they also offer smart displays, smart light bulbs or even alarm clocks. Last summer, the second generation of the Smart Clock, two years after the release of the first generation, was presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It is a smart alarm clock complete with 4″ touch display and Google Assistant. It is available in three different colors, and two of the three colors are bundled with a Qi charging dock. Besides the possibility to charge smartphones with up to 10 W, it also offers a night light. Lenovo’s Smart Clock 2 is available in stores for €69. If you want the bundle including the Qi charging dock, you will have to pay €89.
Whether the smart alarm clock can convince in everyday use and offers a real added value compared to other devices, we will clarify in the following review.
|Display||3.97″ LCD IPS touchscreen|
|Resolution||WVGA (480 x 800)|
|Audio||1.5″ 3W front speakers, Farfield microphone array|
|Sensors||L sensor, G sensor|
|CPU||MediaTek™ MT8167S processor (4 cores, 4x A35 @1.3GHz)|
|Memory||1 GB RAM + 8 GB Flash|
|Network connections||802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||Android 10|
|Color||Abyss Blue, Heather Grey, Shadow Black|
|Scope of delivery||Smart Clock 2, power adapter, user manual, Qi charging dock (bundled)|
|charging power||up to 10 W|
|Price||€ 79.99 *|
Scope of delivery
The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 comes in a compact cardboard box with the smart alarm clock pictured on the front. The Hey Google logo also directly shows which voice assistant you are using. If you have the bundle with the Qi charging dock, there are two more boxes inside. These are the packaging of the Smart Clock 2 and the dock that is underneath.
Inside the box of the Smart Clock 2 is the Smart Clock itself, the power adapter, and an instruction manual. In the other box, there is only the Qi charging dock and an instruction manual. A separate power adapter is not needed for this.
Design and workmanship
The bundle in the color Heather Grey is available to us for the test. The Smart Clock 2 is still available in blue and black, the Qi charging dock is only available in gray. The Smart Clock looks like a normal alarm clock in terms of size. The front features the almost 4-inch display and a small Lenovo logo on a dark gray background at the bottom edge. The rest of the device is covered with a light gray fabric. The number of controls is kept clear. Besides the touch display, there are only two volume buttons on the upper side and a microphone switch on the back. Furthermore, the power connector is also located there.
The Qi charging dock is also gray, as already mentioned. It is elongated, flat and offers a fixed place for the Smart Clock 2, which is simply plugged onto it. The power transfer works via the pins, a separate power supply is not necessary. The charging dock has a USB port, but it is a USB-A port that allows you to charge other devices, such as your smartwatch, via cable. Furthermore, there is a slightly transparent ring that serves as a night light. There are several LEDs behind it.
Overall, the design is rather restrained and unobtrusive, which makes it fit very well in most rooms. The material is plastic or fabric, which, however, are well processed.
Setting up and range of functions
Setting up the Smart Clock 2, especially if you already use or know other smart devices from Google’s ecosystem, is very straightforward. The Smart Clock 2 is plugged onto the dock and connected to power. The further steps, are explained via the display. The device is searched for via the Google Home app and can then be assigned to a room within the home. After that, you only have to allow access to the WLAN, confirm a few more points, can select your standard services and the setup is already finished.
The Smart Clock 2 not only displays the time with a variety of dials, but also has an extensive alarm function, which also includes a daylight alarm (but only uses the display, not the nightlight), a snooze function, and randomly generated piano music, as well as the integration of Google Calendar, music playback, and of course the voice assistant. Thanks to the Qi charging dock, probably the most important technology on the nightstand is also combined in one device. The contact surface for the smartphone is sufficiently large and charging worked reliably in the test.
In the practical test, all functions of the Smart Clock were extensively tested. It was used as a clock, alarm clock, to stream music, but also to control other devices as well as Google Assistant.
Display and user interface
The display proved to be sufficiently large and also bright enough in the test. We also found the resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, which is very low by today’s standards, to be sufficient for the purpose. Overall, the picture quality is rather average. The same applies to the Smart Clock 2’s interface. On the one hand, it is very clear and easy to understand, but this is unfortunately also due to the very limited range of functions it offers. If we compare the interface with that of the Google Nest Hub, we are missing a lot of practical functions. The Smart Clock 2 interface can be used to set the alarm clock, turn on the night light or start routines for the morning or night, for example. The good morning routine tells you the current temperature, gives you a forecast for the day, and then plays the news, such as the daily news in 100 seconds.
Sound quality and voice assistant
One of the most used functions will probably be music playback. For this, you can fall back on Spotify or YouTube Music, among others. The music can either be started via voice or on the smartphone and you then select the Smart Clock 2 as the playback device. There is no extensive music app, but information about the song, artist and also the cover are shown on the display. Even if you could assume that at first, waking up with music and playing videos are not possible on the Smart Clock 2. The sound quality is unfortunately rather average. Of course, you cannot expect miracles from such a compact device, but a Google Nest Mini, for example, sounds much better. This is probably not very annoying for alarm clocks, sounds for falling asleep or questions to the voice assistant, but the Smart Clock 2 is less suitable for listening to music for a longer period of time.
The aforementioned voice assistant from Google also works very well here. The microphone works reliably and the device only responds when it is addressed. Setting the alarm, asking for the time, the weather and other things or even starting music playback worked without problems at any time.
Much unused potential
Overall, the Smart Clock thus offers much more than a simple alarm clock. The routines proved to be very practical, as you have an overview of the most important things right after waking up. What is the weather like, how warm is it, what is going on in the world? The integration of the voice assistant is also pleasing. The approach is convincing, but the software, the interface and the range of functions leave many questions. Why can’t the night light be used as a wake-up light, why can’t a smart alarm clock wake me up with a Spotify playlist, why can’t videos run on the display and much more. Overall, you get the impression that much more would be possible and you do not take advantage of the possibilities that the device offers, so the added value compared to a smart speaker then remains rather manageable.
Summary of the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review
All in all, it is difficult to make a blanket recommendation. Yes, the Smart Clock 2 offers significantly more than a normal alarm clock. The range of functions is quite extensive, especially thanks to voice assistants, the display is partly very practical and the routines are especially helpful in the morning to quickly get the most important information. The integration of the charging pad is also appealing, since it directly combines the most important technology.
On the other hand, the range of functions is rather small. Many functions that you would actually expect are missing, partly also small things. The display is rather average, but sufficient for the content that can be displayed. The rather average sound quality, which is below the Nest Mini, is much more annoying. Furthermore, it can be assumed that potential buyers already own other smart home devices. If there is already a smart speaker in the room, the added value compared to a normal alarm clock is reduced again, since it already offers many of the functions. Add to that the price, which can be considered rather high when compared to other smart speakers or even smart displays.
Overall, the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is an interesting device, but it does not exhaust its potential. This is probably mainly interesting for users who mainly want to access the voice assistant besides the alarm clock and do not use smart speakers or displays. If one of the aforementioned devices is already present in the room, the benefit is still rather low.