I spent per week with the Lenovo Good Clock Important with Alexa on my bedside desk, and I’m nonetheless uncertain why this product exists. A digital alarm clock you possibly can management together with your voice, the $69.99 Important is a brilliant speaker mixed with a conventional LED alarm clock. Nevertheless it’s not a very “good” good clock, and there are many glorious good alarm clocks on the market, even some made by Lenovo. This isn’t one among them.
The one use case I can see for the Important is for those who particularly need an Alexa voice assistant by your mattress, don’t need a show with a digital camera in it (all Echo good shows have cameras on board — a bit dodgy in a bed room), and need a bigger LED clock than what’s provided on the wonderful, camera-less Echo Dot with Clock ($60). If you’re versatile on any of those factors, there are higher choices (which we’ll get to).
In any other case, this clock appears like a half-hearted try on Lenovo’s half to capitalize on the recognition of Alexa. It’s the primary good clock from Lenovo that makes use of Amazon’s voice assistant — its different, higher fashions are all Google-based. (You received’t discover any Google-powered good audio system on the market on Amazon; go on — strive). Nevertheless it misses the mark in some ways.
The Lenovo Good Clock Important with Alexa is a brilliant digital alarm clock with Amazon’s voice assistant built-in. It really works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and is powered by a wall plug with a pleasant, lengthy five-foot cable. It has a four-inch segmented LED show that auto-dims reliably and comes encased in an upright fabric-wrapped physique that’s 4.46 inches broad and three.67 inches tall. It has a good speaker on board and a far-field microphone array to choose up your Alexa instructions.
Whereas the naming signifies it’s the identical because the $50 Lenovo Good Clock Important (which remains to be obtainable however solely comes with Google’s Assistant), this Important really has the identical design because the Lenovo Good Clock 2 (additionally Google-only). However, as an alternative of the full-color touchscreen of that machine, this Important has a monochrome non-touch LED show. The show reveals you the time (24 hours or customary) and the present outside temp and humidity studying. There’s additionally the choice of a decibel meter. I nonetheless haven’t discovered a cause to wish a decibel reader in my bed room — however I’m open to options.
The Important with Alexa is available in a peppy purple coloration or a extra muted blue, and once you situation a command to the voice assistant, the display shows two blinking zeros that resemble eyes. Contemplating this “cute issue” and the colour selections, this may very well be an possibility for a kid’s room — the place you may not need a tiny display that may play movies (as on the Echo Present 5 and Nest Hub — different good good alarm clock choices). However at $70 — $20 greater than the primary Important and the identical worth because the newer full good show model — that’s an costly alarm clock for a child.
The good clock’s 1.5-inch 3W front-firing speaker supplies surprisingly first rate sound, higher than most alarm clocks of its measurement and about pretty much as good as an Echo Dot. It additionally has a large sufficient quantity vary to allow you to get up gently or get jolted off the bed. The bodily snooze button labored reliably, and you should utilize the speaker as a Bluetooth speaker.
There are additionally pogo pins beneath the clock, which seem like they work with Lenovo’s Good Clock dock. That could be a nice product, which I’ve reviewed beforehand. It provides a 10-watt MagSafe-compatible wi-fi charger and an LED evening mild to the clock for simply $20 extra. Nonetheless, in response to Lenovo spokesperson Katie Dungan, the dock solely comes bundled with the Lenovo Good Clock 2 and may’t be bought individually or with the Important. In the event that they mounted this apparent oversight, I’d be extra inclined to advocate this clock.
That leaves the Necessities’ solely actual promoting level: the built-in Alexa. In my testing, the voice assistant within the clock was a lot slower to reply to voice instructions than the latest Echo gadgets. And whereas you are able to do customary stuff with the voice assistant — set timers and alarms, hearken to music and podcasts, management good dwelling gadgets, use Alexa expertise — as a third-party speaker, it lacks a whole lot of primary Echo features. For instance, it doesn’t work as an intercom (besides with different Lenovo clocks) or with Alexa calling options. You’ll be able to’t set it because the default speaker on your room within the Alexa app, and it didn’t work in a multiroom music setup in my testing.
You should use Alexa Routines with the Important. I examined one which’s triggered by dismissing an alarm. It labored reliably to activate the good lights in my room, learn my calendar for the day, and begin a radio station. However this solely works as soon as an alarm has sounded and also you’ve dismissed it.
If you wish to be woken up with a particular track or station, it’s essential use voice to set it up first. Then it would seem within the selection of alarm sounds within the Alexa smartphone app, which embody all kinds of ordinary alarm tones. You too can allow a ability and have, say, The Actual Housewives or Samuel L. Jackson wake you up.
Sadly, the Important doesn’t work with any of the newer “sound” triggers Echo gadgets have for Routines, the place you possibly can have the sound of working water or loud night breathing set off a Routine. I arrange an Echo Dot with Clock in my toilet to hear for the sound of working water. After I activate the bathe, it begins a Routine that reads the climate and my calendar after which performs the radio.
Arguably the Important’s greatest failing is it doesn’t have a touchscreen. Contemplating the virtually identically designed and priced Lenovo Good Clock 2 does have a touchscreen, I can’t perceive why they opted to forgo this comfort. Whereas its monochrome four-inch face is much less distracting than a wise show with no touchscreen, the Important depends on voice or the Alexa app for programming alarms. Voice isn’t all the time acceptable within the bed room, and the Alexa app will not be intuitive. There are three separate settings screens for the Important clock within the app, with every one providing completely different choices.
The Important additionally doesn’t hear in addition to different Echos, and I had a whole lot of bother summoning the assistant, usually resorting to pushing the button to get its consideration. The one on-device controls are for quantity and muting the microphone, plus the button to summon Alexa and one other one to snooze or present your alarm.
The Important is designed for individuals who need a easy, no-frills alarm clock, with the bonus of a wise assistant built-in. However, if that’s you, chances are high you additionally in all probability anticipate your easy alarm clock to have a battery backup. (I’ve written earlier than about how annoying I discover it that good alarm clocks don’t provide this.) In that case, this isn’t “important” sufficient for you.
In the event you’re not choosy about which voice assistant is in your bed room and simply need a good camera-free digital show to look at, the Nest Hub (second gen), which is $99.99 however usually on sale for significantly much less, is a greater bedside companion, including sleep monitoring and a touchscreen good show. It’s additionally a wonderful digital picture body.
If that’s too massive on your desk, the Lenovo Good Clock 2 ($69.99) with Google is a more sensible choice than the Alexa model. It’s the identical measurement because the Important however with a full-color touchscreen that may double as a digital picture body in addition to present you a dwell feed of your safety digital camera if one thing goes bump within the evening. It additionally prices the identical because the Important.
If you’re all set on Alexa, there aren’t any compelling causes to contemplate the Lenovo Good Clock Important with Alexa over Amazon’s Echo gadgets. The Echo Present 5 with its full-color touchscreen (it does have a digital camera, although it features a bodily shutter to dam it) and Echo Dot with Clock each make nice bedside companions. And whereas Lenovo’s good clocks are sometimes on sale, most Alexa gadgets additionally usually see worth drops. I’ve seen Present 5s for as low as $35. The Lenovo Important with Alexa is presently $50. At its full worth of $70, it’s a particular no. Nevertheless it could be price contemplating as a wise clock on your child if you’ll find it for $30.
Images by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge