The name is a mouthful. And there’s a reason for that. This is Lenovo’s attempt to clear up any ambiguity. All the three big siblings mentioned above rely on the Google Assistant for smartness. This is the company’s first attempt to capitalize on Alexa’s popularity. That’s true, at least in some parts of the world, where Alexa is still better recognized as a smart assistant than Google Assistant.
Now it costs approx 3,999 with your choice of Misty Blue and Clay Red colours. There’s also the Amazon Echo Show 5 in the same ecosystem (which costs around 5,499). And if you’re not quite convinced it’s just the Amazon Alexa assistant you need, there’s still the second-generation Google Next Hub (almost) 6,999) that continues to age with new functionality with the update – the new Home app and support for the Matera smart home standard are the latest in that chapter.
This neatly brings us back to the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in. As a Lenovo Smart Clock user (who has been around for over a year now), it makes sense that the latest addition to the Smart Bedside Screen portfolio adds something valuable in terms of upgrades. It all sounds very similar. Mind you, it mostly works as it should. Logically, you would expect more over time.
Let’s assume you want Alexa smartness in the bedroom. Plus definitely a very useful alarm clock. There’s no front facing camera on the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in, which is probably why you want it. Not everyone wants a smart device with a camera sitting in their bedroom.
The 4-inch display is ticking the boxes. It’s crisp, easy to read even when dim and has good brightness levels to deal with mid-afternoon environments on a bright and sunny day. And like we mentioned, the auto-dimming screen just takes care of itself once you turn off the lights for the night. Mind you, this isn’t a color display – it’s monochrome, and it looks like it was made for a purpose. Or two
It’s not even a touch screen. It’s just your voice to get the job done. No slick interface to surf around.
Full marks to Lenovo for not ignoring the basics. The power cable is long (by our reckoning, it’ll be at least 4 metres), which means you don’t have to worry if the power socket is a bit far from the bedside table.
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You get most of the options that Alexa offers on other smart speakers and smart displays, such as a choice of music streaming apps. For example, Spotify could be your port of call if Amazon Music doesn’t cut it. There’s a speaker (it’s on the front, to keep things really simple) that handles duties for the alarm clock and music playback. The sound quality is expectedly limited if you want to use it for music.
The main highlight of the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in is Alexa, and we should note that it feels a bit sluggish compared to Amazon’s own devices. That’s just too much time to answer, which is not a difficulty, is still a bit unpredictable.
For some reason, it takes a little more effort to summon Alexa on the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in (we always make a move toward this smart speaker). The microphones aren’t as good as the ones Amazon uses in even the basic Echo Dot series. Again, something you’ll get used to over time, but still ranks among a smart home device as we enter the year 2023.
It’ll do most of the things Alexa does otherwise too — set alarms, play music, control some smart home devices (it’s not a full hub, and not all smart home devices may be compatible) and give you a quick audio update of your calendar. is run through.
The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in may not play well with other Alexa speakers, which means intercom or Alexa calling doesn’t work here.
It would make a lot more sense if Lenovo bundled (even as an option) a wireless charging dock with the Smart Clock 2. These two devices have essentially the same design, and there’s a wireless charger on the bedside table for your phone, earbuds. or smartwatch (provided it didn’t carry a proprietary charger), there would have been added utility. For now, that option isn’t even listed.
If you’re stressing over Alexa on the bedside table, your choices narrow greatly, with the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa built-in as well as the Echo 5. The latter, for a little more money, can make one do even more. Which might be a better bet in the long run? At the same time, if you haven’t made up your mind about a particular voice assistant yet, the second-generation Google Nest Hub will still trump everything else on pure functionality and experience.