Lenovo and Google Figured Out the Perfect Alarm Clock

Illustration for article titled Lenovo and Google Figured Out the Perfect Alarm Clock
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

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 gray 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).

Illustration for article titled Lenovo and Google Figured Out the Perfect Alarm Clock

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.

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 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, a full $50 more than a Home Mini and $20 less than a Home Hub. It’s an awkward price, and likely makes the Home Hub a better deal for Google fans. While at $80 it’s still $50 cheaper than the Alexa equivalent, the Echo Spot, that product, though, 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.

Follow along with all of our CES 2019 coverage here.

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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The perfect alarm clock, or nearly, is my Sony Dream Machine.

  • Two alarms
  • a snooze bar that you can hit more than once. I actually hit it four times, go back to sleep for 40 minutes and then wake up feeling much better

So, what is a perfect alarm clock to me?

  • Needs to have multiple alarms
  • Needs to have an easy to hit snooze bar, not some annoying slide to unlock sort of thing
  • Needs to have a programmable snooze period.
  • programmable alarm that starts off very low and gently gets louder

I want to set the snooze for 30 minutes, then be able to just tap the thing to activate the snooze.

And yes, I set my alarm for 40 minutes before I actually need to get up. That time to lie in bed before I have to get makes my day work. I use the radio as an alarm. I hate ringing alarms.

If anyone knows of an Android or Windows alarm clock app that has all these features, please let me know.