For better or worse, the alarm clock has become a staple of modern living, a necessity of life like a microwave or squaty potty.

Without them, we wouldn't wake up for work. When you think about it, alarm clocks can be considered early pioneers of the smart home, thanks to their multiple functionalities.

Which is ironic, because alarm clocks have remained relatively unchanged over the past several years. Amazon has taken a crack at making the alarm clock more intelligent, and now it's Lenovo's turn with the $79 Smart Clock.

Wakey, wakey

Lenovo Smart Clock

A smarter way to wake up

Lenovo's smart alarm clock is an affordable bedside companion that will make waking up a more pleasant experience. But if it was between this and Google's Nest Hub, I'd go with the Nest Hub any day of the week.

The Good

  • Small, attractive design
  • Multiple clock faces to choose from
  • Google Assistant always there
  • Decent sound

The Bad

  • Poor screen quality
  • Not nearly as powerful as Google Nest Hub

Lenovo Smart Clock What I like

If you have an old school alarm clock sitting on your nightstand (guilty), the Lenovo Smart Clock is a major upgrade. The biggest feature is its integration with Google Assistant, which you can instruct to set alarms, turn on/off lights, and more. And if you have routines set up, Google Assistant can perform multiple functions with just a simple phrase.

Think of the Lenovo Smart Clock as a Home Mini equipped with a 4-inch display (albeit one that's very low resolution). It features a meshed fabric cover, weighs less than a pound, and sports a modern design that will fit nicely with any decor. It's a fitting expression of what an alarm clock with Google Assistant should look like.

Like Google's Nest Hub, the Lenovo Smart Clock doesn't come equipped with a camera, making it feel much less invasive considering this will likely be placed next to your bed. It does, however, feature two far-field microphones, which are necessary for hearing you utter "Ok Google." These microphones can be muted with the press of a button.

Lenovo's Smart Clock is a great bedside companion, but it has some pretty obvious limitations

Everything you need to setup the Lenovo Smart Clock is found in the Google Home app; Lenovo, thankfully, isn't forcing users to download anything additional. I already have the Google Home app, which I use to manage the Nest Hub, so setting up the Lenovo Smart Clock was a breeze.

If you've used a smart home device equipped with Google Assistant, navigating the Smart Clock will feel familiar. What's different about Lenovo's device is it emphasizes being a clock, not necessarily a hub for Google's services and your many different smart home gadgets.

Once you set an alarm, either with your voice or manually on the device itself, the Smart Clock will start to learn. Let's say you have a meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. the next morning; the Smart Clock will suggest a time for you to wake up. If you want, an alarm can even trigger your morning routine with commute info, weather, etc.

The Smart Clock also features a "sunrise alarm," which will gradually brighten the display to gently wake you up. Once an alarm does go off, it starts off quiet and slowly gets louder. These features work well together, because it means you're not startled awake, which is so often the case with traditional alarm clocks.

In addition to simply being an alarm clock, the Smart Clock is a pretty decent speaker for its size (equipped with a 1.5-inch, 3-watt tweeter and two passive radiators). It features a variety of tones to wake you up, and it can play music from the usual sources, including Spotify and YouTube Music.

If you like customization, the Lenovo Smart Clock features plenty of clock faces ranging from modernist to timeless to retro. There's even a clock face that includes weather information, so you don't have to constantly ask Google Assistant if it's going to rain.

Lenovo Smart Clock What needs improvement

At just $79, the Lenovo Smart Clock is an affordable entry into the smart home market; it's cheaper than the Echo Spot ($129) and Google's delightful Nest Hub ($99), making it a very attractive option. But that cheap price doesn't come without shortcomings.

Granted, many of the Smart Clock's limitations are by design, but as a current Nest Hub user, I couldn't help but miss seeing my Google Photos upon waking up. And the Smart Clock can't play videos, whether that be YouTube or through casting, making it a less capable companion in the kitchen.

Overall, the Smart Clock is far less visual, despite its 4-inch display It'll show you the time and you can swipe down to quickly access a few smart home controls, but that's about it. There are a few exceptions, however, like the ability to view a live stream with your Nest Cam.

Lenovo Smart Clock Should you buy it?

The Lenovo Smart Clock fits right in on my nightstand, and I enjoyed it for what it was. It's easy to set alarms and to interact with Google Assistant. But having fallen in love with the Nest Hub, I'd much rather spend the extra $20 to get the larger display and additional functionality.

Amazon also has a new Echo Show 5 on the way that offers a larger display and the same experience you'd get on a larger Show. The Smart Clock does its job and does it well, but if you already own a Home Mini or Nest Hub, there's no reason to get one.

4 out of 5

If you don't have any smart home devices with Google Assistant, the Smart Clock is a nice place to start and capably modernizes the alarm clock. However, I'd still recommend the Nest Hub over the Smart Clock, mostly because I just really love its functionality as a digital picture frame.

Wakey, wakey

Lenovo Smart Clock

A smarter way to wake up

Lenovo's smart alarm clock is an affordable bedside companion that will make waking up a more pleasant experience. But if it was between this and Google's Nest Hub, I'd go with the Nest Hub any day of the week.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.