Last year we were blown away by Lenovo’s Smart Clock, a Google Assistant gadget that makes a perfect companion to your night stand. Lenovo is back with a simpler, cheaper design, if you prefer the look and function of a more old-fashioned alarm clock but still want some smart speaker capability.
The Smart Clock Essential uses an old-fashioned non-touch LCD display (the kind that only illuminates a few digits) which can show the current time, weather, and a few status icons. It’s wrapped in fabric with some physical control buttons on top, very much like the original Smart Clock, with a USB-A port on the back for charging your phone. It also has an integrated night light ring on the rear.
Inside the unassuming exterior is a standard Google-powered smart speaker, complete with microphones for voice commands. Essentially, it’s a tiny little Nest Home Mini with a clock face attached. Like the original Smart Clock, a physical on-off switch on the rear can disable the microphones.
The Smart Clock Essential will be released sometime in September, with an MSRP of $50. But considering how frequently we’ve seen the original Smart Clock at half its retail price, it might be prudent to wait for a sale.