As we near the holiday shopping season and lots of electronics start plummeting in price, we thought it a good time to get our hands on the new Lenovo Smart Clock Essential as it is becoming available for as little as $25 as of the writing of this post. For that small asking price, the smallest smart clock Lenovo makes brings a lot to the table in a package that accomplishes much of what you need out of a smart alarm clock and little else. Let’s take a look.
From the get-go, this is an attractive little package, keeping the gray cloth look that is so trendy with smart speakers and pairing it with a jet-black front display. There’s not much else to look at apart from the four buttons up top that give you volume, play/pause, and alarm controls. The clock is dense, looks great, and will blend in to nearly any decor it finds itself in.
Booting it up, you can set up this clock the same way you’d handle any Google Assistant smart speaker and within a few minutes, you are ready to roll after going through the steps in the Google Home app. A big benefit of your clock having some smarts is the fact that the time and temperature are all set without any further effort. For a device that feels very much like an older style alarm clock, this is a nice touch.
Once you are set up and running, there’s really little to do. Think of this thing as a Nest Mini with an LCD clock/weather interface. That screen will not do any fancy tricks and only serves to show the current time and temperature, but I love the slightly-retro look that screams basic, simple, and utilitarian. Apart from this front display, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is there to deliver alarms, solid sound, a night light, and some basic charging.
For the alarms part, I’d recommend sticking to the Google Assistant to set those. Just tell the clock when to set the alarm and how to repeat it and you’ll immediately see it listed as one of you alarms you can cycle through via the dedicated alarm button on the top of the device. As you add more, you can remove them quickly by pushing the volume down and alarm button at the same time. It’s quick, easy and effective and your alarm volume can be changed in the same manner.
As for the speaker, if you’ve heard a Nest Mini, you get an idea of what this little guy is capable of. While you won’t get booming bass here, the sound is rich, full, and surprisingly loud. As a bedside speaker, it will 100% do the job and will make for an excellent podcast or audio book playback tool.
Around back, you get a couple other nice creature comforts in the built-in nightlight and a USB Type A port for hooking up any random charging cord you’d like. I’ll be using that to charge my Fitbit Versa 2 and I’ll 100% be using the nightlight around back for those early morning trips to the bathroom that happen after one too many waters before bed. That light can be triggered by a long-press of the volume down button and the brightness is easily adjusted with a simple voice command.
All told, this is a great, affordable smart device that does exactly what you need in a clock and little else. The sound is solid, there are nice extras, and you can see your clock clearly and control you alarms as needed. For me, this is a beautiful marriage of smart speaker and simple clock, and it has quickly earned a spot on my nightstand as a device I think anyone would love to own. At this $25 – $30 price, it’s an easy gift that I think just about anyone would find wildly useful, too.