Alarm clocks are a necessary evil for most of us who work. However, there’s no rule that says our clocks have to be boring or serve just a single function. In fact, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In says the exact opposite with its sleek design and fun features.
I was an early adopter of the Amazon Echo and actually still have a couple first generation models running within my house. I also have a lot of other smart home devices and love how much simpler they make my life. However, I had never tested out a smart clock or even considered buying one. After all, does it really matter if the annoying thing that beeps at me every morning can also connect to my home network?
Well, as I learned through my test drive of the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential (with Alexa built-in), it’s actually very handy to have a clock that essentially functions like an Amazon Echo as well.
- Dimensions: 3.67 x 4.46 x 2.80in (9.33 x 11.35 x 7.13cm)
- Weight: 0.55lbs (249g)
- Display: 4in Digital LED
- Touch Screen: No
- Audio: 3W speaker (~ 92 db max output)
- Camera: N/A
- Connectivity: WiFi 5 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth® 5.1
- Voice Assist: Amazon Alexa built-in
When I unboxed the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential, I was impressed by how small and lightweight it was. It takes up barely any space on your nightstand or desk, and it’s light enough that you could easily pack it for vacation if you wanted. The fabric material is also an interesting part of the design, and much softer on the hand than traditional plastic alarm clocks.
The clock comes with an included DC adapter, and does need to be plugged in to work. However, it is also compatible with the Lenovo Smart Clock docking eco system, which is great for those who already have one. Personally, I think a battery would make this even better in case of power outages or if you have limited outlets, but it’s not exactly a necessity for a clock.
For the display’s extra features, you have two options: you can either set it to show the weather conditions in your area, or you can use it as a noise meter (with readings in decibels). You can also adjust the screen’s brightness.
The clock pairs with your Wi-Fi network and can connect to other devices through Bluetooth. Thanks to the built-in Amazon Alexa connectivity, this clock can do many things for you—but more on that later.
You’d probably guess the speaker doesn’t have the greatest output ever. However, for a small, 1 x 1.5-inch 3-watt speaker, it definitely gets the job done. I tried playing one of my favorite Lizzo songs at max volume, and could hear everything clearly without any quality issues. The response time for the voice assist is also fairly quick—as long as you remember to say “Alexa!” first.
Beyond that, you have the option to set multiple alarms using the buttons on the top of the clock itself, or you can ask Alexa to set an alarm for you.
Personally, I found the set up for the alarms a bit frustrating. You have to push specific buttons in a specific order, and if you pause for a few seconds, it clears out the alarm you were programming. I also had trouble getting it to save the alarms. For this reason, I’d recommend telling Alexa to set the alarm for you.
Streamlined Setup With Bluetooth
I think we all have a love-hate relationship with smart home technology in terms of setup. Sometimes, devices run into issues connecting to Wi-Fi networks or syncing with your smartphone. However, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essentials took just a few minutes to set up. Needless to say, I was impressed with the setup process.
Once I opened the box and plugged the clock in, it told me (in Alexa’s voice) to use my smartphone to complete the setup process. Luckily, I already had the Alexa app (available for iPhone and Android) installed on my phone since I have a few Amazon Echoes throughout the house, so I just opened the app and went to Add Device.
From there, the Alexa app pretty much took over and walked me through the setup.
You do need an Amazon account to use the Alexa app. However, you do not need an Amazon Prime subscription.
The entire process took maybe two minutes, although I did have to wait a minute for the clock to perform a firmware update. Once the clock was connected and the firmware was up to date, I could easily change items from within the Alexa app.
Alexa Does It All
- Android Compatibility: 6.0+
- iOS Compatibility: 11.0+
- PC Compatibility: Windows 10
- Mac Compatibility: Not Available
If you look at the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential without any context, it just looks like a basic alarm clock with a modern design. As you can imagine, though, the fact that Amazon Alexa is built into the device is the real reason this clock is so handy.
Once you pair your smart clock with your Amazon account, you can control it from the Alexa app. I used the app to adjust the screen brightness, volume, and alarm sound. You can also adjust the time zone, measurement standards the clock uses (i.e. changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius), schedule routines, or make announcements to the device.
Even without the app, you can simply say, “Alexa!” and give commands once you’ve connected the device. The clock will then respond and perform the requested action. During my testing, I asked Alexa to set alarms and timers, play music, and answer simple questions.
My children had far greater fun—they asked Alexa to play fart sounds and giggled for nearly an hour. You can also ask Alexa to perform commands to other devices (like a smart thermostat) as long as the other device is also Alexa compatible.
Should You Buy the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential?
If you are looking for a smart clock, or even a basic alarm clock with some bells and whistles, then you should absolutely consider the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential. It offers a wide array of features thanks to the Amazon Alexa compatibility, and it’s a small clock that functions even without the Alexa app. It will fit right in with the other smart devices in your home, especially if most of them are already Alexa-compatible.
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In
$72 $94 Save $22
- Lightweight and small
- Easy setup
- Amazon Alexa compatibility
- Satisfactory speaker
- No battery
- Difficult to set alarms without Alexa