There are numerous Google Assistant speakers and displays available on the market right now, but the most are actually only used as voice assistants with a few music and/or video functionalities. The Lenovo Smart Clock, which was created with your bedroom in mind and debuted in 2019, gets a replacement this year. I’ve been using the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 with its wireless charging port for a few weeks now, and it improves upon the design of the first model to be even better suited for the nightstand.
HARDWARE The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is physically quite similar to its predecessor, with a more aesthetically pleasing overall design. The new design has fewer flat edges and is higher. I really like the new blue colour, and it really has a smaller footprint on your nightstand, which is good. The fact that the top space is so small, which makes the smack option for snoozing the clock substantially less usable, is, in my opinion, the sole regression in the physical design. As a result, I stopped using that functionality because, given the short surface area, it simply wasn’t trustworthy enough.
The absence of the built-in USB connector on the clock itself is another noteworthy modification this time around. Instead, the wireless charging dock now has that port. Overall, it’s a fair deal, but a little annoying when you realize that the without that dock credit card is the cheapest payment option for this gadget. Buttons for physical volume control are located at the top of the device, and there is still a hardware mute switch on the rear, which is always lovely to see.
SOFTWARE The software is still a Google-made platform that is comparable to what you would see on a Nest Hub and matches the original design; it has just been scaled down to accommodate the much smaller screen. The screen on this year’s model feels about the same as the original, with slightly more consistent backlighting, as a brief aside.
The software is easy to use and runs effectively. The quick settings are displayed when you swipe down from the top, exactly like on a mobile device. The clockface can be quickly changed by long-pressing it, just like changing the watchface or wallpaper on a smartphone. Really, the Smart Clocks interface is so very easy that anyone with a rudimentary grasp of smartphones could probably get their head around it in a matter of minutes.
On this device, Google Assistant functions as usual, including the ability to handle instructions, conduct routines, and answer inquiries. Alarms, though, are the device’s most obvious application, and they function very identically to those on a Nest Hub or smart speaker. Simply ask Google to set an alarm, and it will do so without any hassle. With the ability to ask Google to adjust an alarm’s time without canceling it, things have improved on Google’s end since the last Smart Clock. Hey Google, set my alarm for 8 a.m. This is a great trick to use if you forget that you need to get up at a different time the following day.
Only two alarm-related problems with the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 really came up during my testing. The first is only a software bug. This interface, along with Google Assistant, will display an entry for each time you’ve set an alarm. As a result, the Alarms menu, which enables voice-free touch activation and deactivation of alarms, can be quite disorganized. The other frustrating issue I had, which appears to be a Google issue, is that my nightly Goodnight ritual on Assistant frequently fails to correctly request that the alarm be set. Sometimes, when I tell it what time I want the alarm to sound, it changes it to 4am instead of listening to me. It recently gave my wife and I a very harsh awakening because we didn’t aware it had messed up the time. I have no idea why, and nothing I do seems to correct it.
DOCK FOR WIRELESS CHARGING The addition of a wireless charging dock by Lenovo to this year’s Smart Clock is the truly innovative feature. The dock’s magnetic connection and power transfer utilise pins. One Qi wireless charging pad and one USB port are available when the devices are connected, making it very simple to charge a phone, earbuds, and smartwatch. I mostly utilized this configuration to power up my Pixel Buds, Galaxy Buds 2, and/or Galaxy Watch 4 while charging my phone on a vertical stand charger because I just prefer that setup.
The Smart Clock 2s dock’s confirmation that wireless charging has begun is a pretty lovely addition, though. You will notice a small pulse from the Night Light to signal charging has begun if alignment is good and charging begins up. This is a great addition for someone like myself who has frequently awakened to discover that they missed the alignment on other horizontal chargers. With settings to change the brightness and duration of the night light’s operation, the Night Light feature may also be activated manually from the display to provide some light in a dark room. This is also a wonderful improvement, however I do wish that it could be activated physically rather than only through software.
Lenovo claims the Smart Clock 2’s Qi pad can deliver up to 10W on compatible smartphones, but in my testing with a Galaxy Z Flip 3, that number stayed around 5W. But notwithstanding, I believe this is perfectly fair for a phone charger meant to be used overnight. I’d prefer save quicker speeds for desk or car chargers because the extra heat from any faster speeds will reduce the long-term battery health.
Having saying that, I did have a few criticisms. One is that the charging station can only be linked to the clock’s right side, where it emerges. Although it’s small, this has a significant impact on the experience. The clock is farther away from me than the charger because I sleep on the left side of the bed. Great for charging my phone, not so great at turning down the sound or snoozing the alarm. This layout would make it simple for my wife, who sleeps on the other side of the bed, to access the clock but much more difficult for her to reach the charging pad. Although either orientation can be a little annoying, having the option would be helpful.
The wireless charging pad’s extreme pickiness was my other problem. Any phone alignment for me required one or two attempts before charging could begin, which is why the night light pulse is so helpful. Furthermore, I discovered that I was unable to charge several devices at all. I encountered difficulties charging several gadgets with two distinct Smart Clock 2 units. The Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3 in particular wouldn’t charge, while other gadgets like the Pixel 6, Galaxy Z Flip 3, Pixel 4 XL, and others operated without a hitch. We couldn’t agree on exactly what was going on when we spoke with Lenovo, especially considering that the first one I had initially wouldn’t charge anything other than earbuds. Whatever the root cause, this appears to be a unique instance because Lenovo wasn’t immediately aware of the issue outside of my case and couldn’t internally duplicate it. The business is still investigating the potential causes of my problems. I discovered that some people were having problems with did report on earlier firmware, but on later versions (which I was running), everything is working properly.
LAST THOUGHTS My assessment of Lenovo’s follow-up to the original Smart Clock is that it very much makes for the perfect bedside companion. This year’s model truly doubles down on meeting your needs because the hardware was carefully created for only that use case. Although there are some oddities, the overall package is beautifully done.
You won’t be let down if you purchase it for yourself or a member of your family, in my opinion. The Smart Clock 2 costs $69 when purchased separately, and $89 when purchased with the dock. This is a great solution if you want to reduce the number of charging stations and USB ports on your nightstand, but the dock-free model is less practical.
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