At CES 2019, Lenovo has announced a slew of new products, and a year after announcing its (and a Google Assistant) first Smart Display, it is announcing a Smart Clock that has the Google Assistant built-in. It's essentially the same idea as the Lenovo Smart Display, but in a much smaller form factor. This Smart Clock sports a small 4-inch display with a 480x800 resolution. Lenovo has chosen to wrap the Smart Clock in fabric, which gives it a pretty nice look, especially for sitting on a night stand in your bedroom. There is a 3W speaker inside (which can peak at 6W) along with two passive radiators. This is going to allow for some decent sounding music, but not something that will blow your socks off. That's the entire point here though, this is meant as an alarm clock, not as a smart speaker to play music all day.
Internally, Lenovo has partnered with MediaTek, using the MT8167S processor which is clocked at 1.5GHz. There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage on-board as well. Seeing as this is a Google Assistant-powered device, these specs mean virtually nothing though. But it does mean that this should run pretty well. Lenovo has placed a microphone toggle on the back, so you can choose to keep the microphone off or on, if you wish. There is no camera on this Smart Clock, and that is a good decision by Lenovo, as it is going to make people more comfortable with putting this in their bedroom, since there is no clock on-board. There are ambient sensors in the Smart Clock though, allowing the brightness of the display to dim at night, so that it is not lighting up the entire room.
Works with groups in Google Assistant
The Lenovo Smart Clock is essentially the same as its Smart Display, but in a smaller form factor. Which means you can still set it up in a group, allowing you to stream audio to the Smart Clock as well as other Google Assistant speakers, TVs and Smart Displays within the house. You could ask the Google Assistant to play music on all speakers in your home and using the multiroom audio feature that it debuted last year, you'll have your music playing on all of the Google Assistant speakers and smart displays in your home at the same time. This is thanks to WiFi, and works about the same as Sonos, but across many other products. On top of that, it also will work with the Broadcast feature that Google debuted late last year, allowing you to send a message to all of the Google Assistant products in your home, and get everyone's attention at home. Broadcast essentially works like an intercom in your home, which is a pretty cool feature to have, especially if you already have a number of Google Assistant products in your home.
Still a Smart Speaker
Lenovo is making sure to emphasize that this is still a smart speaker. Allowing you to stream your favorite music, podcasts, audiobooks and more on the Smart Clock. Though it is a smaller smart speaker, so don't expect it to be an incredible sounding smart display here, with the 3W speaker included, the sound quality will also be worse than the original Echo Dot. However, for listening to music in bed, it shouldn't be a problem. Or maybe listening to an audiobook before you go to bed.
There is also Chromecast built-in, as is the case with all Google Assistant speakers. This will allow you to stream movies and TV shows on the Smart Clock, though it is a pretty small display, so you may not do that too often. But the functionality is here. You can also use it to control the TV in your bedroom - that is if you have an Android TV or a Roku hooked up to it, which has Google Assistant support.
Since this is also a smart speaker, you can still control your smart home products on this Smart Clock, allowing you to turn off the lights from your bed, without using your voice, which is a nice touch for sure. With the new interface that Google introduced last year, it also makes it much easier to control the lights and such from the display on the Smart Clock. As you are able to turn them all on or off at the same time, adjust specific rooms or specific light bulbs, and so much more.
Google Assistant's Wake-Up Routine will leave you well rested
There is support for Google Assistant's "gentle" wake-up routine, allowing you to set your lights to progressively brighten in your bedroom and your alarm to gradually increase in volume. This is better than just having your alarm blasting you at the time you set, as it allows you to wake up refreshed. This routine will also be able to trigger a morning routine. Which could include things like taking your phone off of silent or do not disturb, also telling you today's weather, news, traffic conditions and much more. The possibilities are endless here. Since the Lenovo Smart Clock works with Google Assistant, it will support a number of smart home products. In fact, Lenovo says that it supports over 10,000 products from about 1,000 partners and brands.
Pricing & Availability
Lenovo says that the Smart Clock should be available sometime in the Spring of 2019, and it will cost a mere $79. This makes it the cheapest "smart display" so far, being cheaper than the Google Home Hub. The Lenovo Smart Clock is also the smallest smart display announced so far. It's a rather interesting concept, especially since most people don't have a traditional alarm clock on their bedside table anymore, as their phone has replaced it as their alarm, and with the always-on display on most smartphones, it also shows you the time when you wake up in the middle of the night. So it's going to be rather interesting to see how well this sells when it does become available in a few months.