CES 2019: Lenovo and Google Figured Out the Perfect Alarm Clock

By Alex Cranz on at

It took a couple of years, but we finally have the perfect application of Google Assistant—an alarm clock. The Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant looks like a sibling to Google’s Home Hub and Home Mini. Only instead of being a hub for smart home control, or a dinky speaker with Google Assistant built in, its primary function is as a Google Assistant powered alarm clock.

The device is covered in a grey fabric reminiscent of the fabric on the Home Hub and Mini. The only part not covered in fabric is the 4-inch touch display, which has the option to display three different kinds of alarm clock faces (with more planned).

Unfortunately, there’s no audio out on the Smart Clock, so it’s not quite a minor upgrade to the Home Mini. It does have a physical mute button and a USB port for charging a device (like your phone), and it has a 6W speaker built in for acceptable, but not exceptional audio.

This thing really is meant to blast noise at you at six in the morning, so you don’t miss a meeting. Not to play smooth jazz as you wind down with a book. Though it can certainly do that, as well as handle many other Google Assistant features, like providing the weather, controlling you smart home via voice (there’s no onscreen control), handling wake up routines. It also lets you set alarms and timers with a shout and even get the news. You know, all the things you probably actually use a Google Home or Echo product for.

Yes, it will show you the weather.

A physical mute button!

You’ll be able to control aspects of the device on screen, but this UI isn’t final.

There are only two things that might give you pause. One is some lag I noticed during the demo. There was a bit of a delay between asking Google for something and Google delivering the answer. Google and Lenovo both noted that this was likely due to the setting, a hotel full of horrible wifi killing signals that often ruins demos like the one I saw. Though an Alexa device I saw in the same suite didn’t seem to have the same kind of lag. Hopefully, this is simply a hiccup of the location and the device being a demo unit and not a final product.

The other thing that could stop you from buying this over some other less intelligent or attractive alarm clock is the price. When it ships in the spring, it will retail for $80 (£63; UK pricing and availability TBA), more than a £50 Home Mini but much less than a £140 Home Hub. It’s an awkward price, and likely makes the Home Hub a better deal for Google fans. While it’s still noticeably cheaper than the £120 Alexa equivalent, the Echo Spot, that product actually has a camera built in for video calls. So will you survive without an alarm clock that can let you look at friends and family? We can’t say that for certain because we haven’t reviewed it yet. So stay tuned to see if this good idea is worth its price tag.

Featured image: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)