Lenovo Smart Clock 2 in the test: your smart companion at the bed
RRP $ 70.00
“The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is a great advancement of the Smart Clock product line that offers a lot of functionality and added value.”
Full color LCD screen
Base plate with USB-A and Qi charging function
Great value for money
No video streaming
Limited configuration via app
Lenovo produced the first Google Assistant smart display in 2018 and has been in this category ever since. While Google traditionally focused on the kitchen with its smart screens, Lenovo turned to the bedroom, first with the Smart Clock, then with the Smart Clock Essential, and now with the.
It’s true that Google’s newest Nest Hub (2 on your bedside table, without the creepy “Sleep Watching” sign. Who’s the king of the bedroom?
Simple, intelligent design
Lenovo hasn’t evolved much of its design through the various iterations of its smart clocks. It still uses the same woven fabric cover on the outside, with an LCD screen on the front. This is a 4 inch LCD that is a bit small but is more than enough for a watch face. There are a variety of watch faces to choose from, including your Google Photos if you want. The touchscreen is a bit fussy and sometimes cannot register touches or perform the swiping movements that the operating system depends on.
For the same money, you could buy an alarm clock, a Nest Mini 2, and a Qi charging plate, and you still wouldn’t get all of the features that the Smart Clock 2 brings to your bedside table.
The latest addition to this generation of Smart Clock is on the bottom. Together with the Smart Clock you receive a base plate with a USB-A connection for charging another device and a MagSafe-compatible Qi charging plate for wireless charging of your smartphone. The charging plate charges with 5 watts, 7.5 W or 10 W and contains a magnetic circuit that you can touch on your MagSafe-compatible phones. MagSafe is a nice addition as it reduces the risk of accidentally taking your phone off the charger while you sleep.
Speaking of knocking things off the plate, the clock is intelligently designed so that the power cord plugs into the clock itself and copper contacts on the underside connect and power the plate. This way the clock works without a base depending on how much space your bedside table has. Speaking of magnets, the clock also attaches to the base with magnets, which makes it pretty secure.
In addition, there are volume buttons on top of the clock and in between there is a touch sensitive area that you can use to stop or snooze your alarm clock depending on the configuration. Of course, you can also tell Google to take a nap or just stop your alarm clock. A mute switch on the back deactivates the microphone for the Google Assistant.
As for the sound quality, it’s pretty good. A pair of 3W speakers will power the alarm clock and the music you play with it. There is very little bass at the lower end, but the rest of the sound range is adequately represented. It’s roughly what you get from a Nest Mini 2.
Swipe and gestures
While you use the Google Home app to configure WiFi, its location in your home, and various video and audio services, most of the device setup is done on the device. Android Things powers the watch and is full of gestures and taps to configure everything you need. Most commands can be performed using “Hey Google” commands, such as setting alarms, adjusting the volume, and turning on the night light.
Other options come from swiping from the bottom of the user interface, while others come from swiping down from the top. The frustrating thing is that these gestures aren’t particularly intuitive, and most people don’t use Android Things enough for these gestures to become second nature.
While I would never advocate a separate app for just one watch, I would like to see more features built into the Google Home app.
Your watch face also has a kind of ticker that you can swipe through to play music, view your reminders and calendar entries, set an alarm, and much more. Once you get used to it, it works pretty well, but the majority of my interactions with the watch came from the Google Assistant, which is both good and bad. On the one hand, it’s great to go to bed and tell Google to set an alarm. On the other hand, it can get frustrating when you ask for an alarm clock at 7:15 am and it replies, “7:50 am, you got it!”
This is nothing new to the Google Assistant, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Most of the time it works with no issues, but when there is one, it’s annoying. I would also like to have more control over the watch, which is available through an app. While touching is a great way to manipulate settings, reaching over and touching the watch isn’t a great experience. While I would never advocate a separate app for just one watch, I would like to see more features built into the Google Home app. It would be nice if, for example, you could set an alarm or adjust the dial there.
No Netflix allowed
Finally, I have to admit that I was torn by this detail whether it is positive or negative, but this watch has a full color screen that cannot play video. What about it? You can stream audio to the watch, which is nice, but since there’s a full color LCD screen, why can’t I turn on a movie to sleep in? Perhaps this is just too little of a potential use for the watch, but it appears to be an oversight.
On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t want Lenovo to allow me to watch a movie on a 4-inch screen. I understand that, and maybe Lenovo will save me from myself through the lack of compatibility. I can’t disagree. But I think overall I’d rather have a choice.
This is a nice update to the Lenovo Smart Clock line of devices. The pallet accessories in particular are our favorite. The Google Assistant is a great way to wake up and start routines. I would like a bigger screen, video capabilities, and a more intuitive user interface, but those omissions don’t detract from the overall experience very much.
You get loads of utility and functionality for $ 70. Not only is this a good product, but it is also a good value.
Is there a better alternative?
There’s not a lot of competition in this space yet, but the closest competitor actively battling for a spot on your bedside table is the Nest Hub (2nd generation). This device costs a little more but adds portable sleep tracking to the package, which is sure to be compelling. It also offers video streaming capabilities and a bigger screen. If you want these additions, you’re probably better off with the Nest Hub (2nd Generation). However, if you don’t mind not playing videos, or you want a smaller screen or a qi charging plate, this is a great pickup.
If you’re completely completely unaware of the Google ecosystem, or are more connected to Amazon’s, the Echo Show 8 or Echo Show 10 are both great choices. It all depends on your preferences.
How long it will take?
The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is well made and solid with a fabric cover. I do not expect any problems with this device in the long term. It has a one-year limited warranty available on Lenovo’s support website.
Should I buy it?
Yes, this is a great pickup for the price. In fact, there is no clear winner between the Nest Hub (2nd generation) and this one. If you want a little more, you pay a little more. For the same money, you could buy an alarm clock, Nest Mini 2, and Qi charging plate and you still wouldn’t find all of this device’s features on your bedside table.