The Smart Clock Essential really blurs the lines on the smart display. Aesthetics aside, Lenovo’s new device probably has more in common with the Echo Dot with Clock than it does with the company’s first-generation Smart Clock. In fact, at $ 50, it’s actually $ 10 less expensive than Amazon’s offering.
Basically, the Essential is a Google Assistant smart speaker with a digital display. Which really makes you wonder what qualifies as “essential” these days. It shows the time and weather on its LED, but it doesn’t offer the kind of tactile interaction you expect from the form factor. There are still buttons that can be used to set the alarm and “a built-in light that helps you walk around without bumping into things,” which is fair enough.
But at the end of the day, it’s more like the Google Home Mini than the Nest Hub. And just like the first one, it’s priced so you can buy a bunch of them to put in various places around your house. There is a 3W speaker, which is designed more for alarm sounds than casual listening, although like other Google Assistant speakers, it can be paired as part of a group. Oh, and just like the original smartwatch, there’s an onboard USB port for charging devices while you sleep.
Honestly, that $ 50 price tag is really the best seller here, but it’s good to see hardware makers like Lenovo playing around with the form factor a bit, as voice-enabled devices take up an ever-increasing amount of space in the devices. counters in our kitchen and next to the bed. tables. Honestly, after testing the original smartwatch, I’m not sure I want or need more features next to my bed than Lenovo offers here.
It is scheduled to hit the retail sector next month. Just don’t call it a smart display.