Alarm clocks reside by the bed for years, but are forgotten. We acknowledge their presence twice a day, once in the morning and the other time while setting an alarm before going to bed. With the Smart Clock 2, Lenovo isn’t trying to remodel our relationships with an alarm clock. Instead, it’s making the alarm clock we know a bit more intelligent and personal, elevating the status of a device that often gets neglected for what it is. But the question really is why should an alarm clock be modernised in the first place? I tried to find out the answer in my review of the Lenovo Smart Clock 2.
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 price in India: Rs 6,999
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review: Design and aesthetics
When I first saw the Smart Clock 2, my instant reaction was “thank god, it has a smaller footprint.” In a sea of smart displays that are powered by either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, the Smart Clock 2 sticks to the formula that made the original version a popular choice among consumers. The physical design hasn’t changed much but the new model has several cosmetic changes here and there. The Smart Clock measures 4.46 x 2.80 x 3.67 inches, so it doesn’t take much space on your bedside table. It comes in three different colour options and my unit has this Heather Gray finish. The exterior of the device has a fabric cover, which adds a fair amount of premiumness to the alarm clock. On the top of the clock are two buttons for volume control. Meanwhile, on the back of the Smart Clock 2 is the power switch and a mute button that turns off the always-listening microphone.
The whole package comes in two separate pieces of hardware, the alarm clock itself and the wireless charging station. The proposition of a wireless charging dock to the Smart Clock 2 provides a lot of usefulness to users, and I experienced that first hand. The dock connects magnetically and uses pogo pins to power the display.
The idea is to keep the phone or earbuds on the Qi wireless charging station (supports up to 10W) before going to bed and sleep peacefully without having to worry about the status of the battery on your smartphone/or wireless earbuds when you wake up in the morning. I found this feature particularly useful, because there have been times when I realised my phone was running on low battery just before stepping out for a morning walk. The wireless charger works perfectly fine with my iPhone 13 mini and Galaxy Buds 2. A nice touch is the presence of an LED light ring that goes around the bottom of the display. So when you keep your phone for charging on the dock, the “Night Light” briefly lits up, signalling the charging has started. Don’t worry, the wireless charging dock also has a USB-A port for charging peripherals.
Additionally, the Night Light feature can be manually turned on from the display. You can tweak the brightness as well as the exact time you require the Night Light to be in an active mode. I wish there was a physical button to activate the night light.
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review: Display and smart features
Compared to the Google Nest and Amazon Echo Show, the Smart Clock feels small and I get why it looks the way it does. A display larger than 4-inch makes a digital alarm clock pointless in my opinion. Speaking of the display, it automatically adjusts the brightness based on the lighting in the room, thanks to the built-in ambient light sensor. It gets dim in a dark room. That said, the display is still readable from a distance. But beyond that, the display is limited in capabilities and in no way matches the Google Next or Amazon Echo Show. Because the screen on those devices is a little bigger, it’s a lot easier to navigate the interface.
But do you really want to watch YouTube videos on a 4-inch screen? Probably not. All I want is a display that can tell me the time, weather, and let me know what music is playing. Just in case you are interested, the Smart Clock 2 can also be used as a digital photo frame by pulling out a single photo or an entire album of photos from your Google Photos library.
Regardless of how you categorise the Smart Clock 2, it’s essentially a Google Assistant-powered smart display that also doubles as a smart speaker (more on that later). The Smart Clock 2 works like any other Google Assistant speaker, except this one has a display. Just say “Hey, Google” before any command and the Assistant responds by showing the query you asked for. You can ask for the latest news, know the weather, play music via Spotify or any other music streaming platform, and control any smart home devices in your home, like a smart plug, or security camera. Based on my testing, I found that the Smart Clock 2 is designed to be used with your voice command. Of course, you can dig deeper into the settings and customize the Clock. For example, long press on the Smart Clock 2 changes different clock designs; you will also get the option to customise them further. Swiping down from the top will show settings shortcuts. Swiping up from the bottom lets you change the device’s settings, while swiping toward the middle of the screen from the right edge has a built-in nap alarm. It’s already pre-set for 20 minutes.
Setting up the Smart Clock 2 is easy. Download the Google Home app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and follow the instructions. The Smart Clock 2 lacks a built-in camera, and honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted any sort of camera on a device that resides next to my bed.
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review: Alarm clock and speakers
The Smart Clock 2 is first an alarm clock and then a smart display. Its job is to wake you up in the morning. You can set an alarm with your voice in seconds. To turn off the alarm in the morning, you need to tap on the top of the display to either shut it off or snooze it.
As I have mentioned before, the Smart Clock 2 is also a smart speaker. The speaker is loud and clear, but doesn’t have a tremendous amount of bass. It supports a range of music services, including Spotify and Apple Music. If you use Spotify, the screen shows album art and play controls. However, I faced issues pairing the Smart Clock 2 with Apple Music, despite being subscribed to the service. You can use it as a Bluetooth speaker.
Lenovo Smart Clock 2 review: Should you buy it?
At Rs 6,999, the Smart Clock 2 is a great little alarm clock that also happens to be a terrific smart speaker. Lenovo intentionally tried not to go into the territory of a full-fledged smart display and I get the reason why it chose that way. Sure, the Echo Show 5 or Google Nest are more capable but you are missing specific alarm clock features. The addition of a wireless charging dock and an LED Night Light is super convenient, something which is unique to the Smart Clock 2. Like any other product, the Smart Clock 2 is not perfect. It has its share of flaws, like Lenovo opted for the same MediaTek quad-core processor found inside the 2019’s Smart Clock. A device like this needed an improved user interface and a built-in battery.