There are plenty of sweet alarm clocks available to add a bit of flair to your nightstand, but what about adding some smarts too? That’s where Lenovo’s Smart Clock 2 comes in. This adorable yet functional clock doubles as a smart display that’s powered by Google Assistant.
That means you can ask for weather updates or view Nest security camera feeds with the right voice command. And with a firm yet gentle tap on the top of the display, you can silence your morning wake-up alarm before starting your day.
Here’s what we think about the tiny smart display after using the $69 Lenovo Smart Clock 2 and the optional charging station for the last couple of weeks.
The who, what and how
Who this is for: The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is for someone who prefers Google Assistant over Amazon’s Alexa platform and is looking for a new alarm clock that does more than sound an alarm at a set time.
What you need to know: The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is a full-fledged smart display that uses Google Assistant for traffic reports, weather forecasts or streaming your Nest camera feed to your nightstand. The entire setup is small — with only a 4-inch display — so don’t expect to be able to read it clearly from across the room. If you want to add some utility to the Lenovo Smart Clock 2, you can pay a little extra for a charging station that adds a wireless charging pad to keep your phone or earbuds charged while you sleep.
How it compares: The $69 Smart Clock 2 has a more streamlined design compared to the original Smart Clock, which you can currently find heavily discounted. Because smart displays have traditionally been designed for users to watch camera feeds, stream videos or play games, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another device with a 4-inch display. The Google Nest Hub (which retails for $99 but is currently half off) has louder speakers and a bigger screen, while Lenovo’s standard $69 Smart Display 7 stands out with its great screen and design.
An attractive design with a truly tiny display
When we first opened the box that the Smart Clock 2 arrived in, we immediately found the display and marveled at just how small it is. No. Really. The best smart displays seem to only be getting bigger and smarter, with devices like the $250 Echo Show 10 and its 10-inch display that literally follows you around the room, or the 10-inch $229 Nest Hub Max with its large design.
The Smart Clock 2 measures 4.46 by 2.80 by 3.67 inches with a 4-inch touch-capable display and comes in three different color options: Heather Gray, Abyss Blue and Shadow Black. The display is plenty bright, but that’s not what matters most as an alarm clock. Instead, it’s how dim can the screen get while still being readable, but not something that keeps you up all night because it’s lighting up your room. We’re happy to report that we didn’t have to fiddle with its brightness settings during our testing — it automatically lowered its brightness as night approached but was still clearly readable from a few feet away. It’s not the best-looking display when it comes to saturation and vivid colors, but it doesn’t have to be.
On the back of the Smart Clock 2 is the power port and a mute switch that turns off the always-listening microphone. On the bottom of the clock is a set of pogo pins that are used to connect the display and provide power to the optional charging station.
The overall design changes from the original Smart Clock aren’t drastic. Lenovo added more color options and the option for the charge station but kept the fabric cover on the housing. It looks like a smaller version of the Nest Hub and Lenovo’s Smart Display, and that’s a good thing. If we could change anything about the design of the Smart Clock 2 it would be to shrink down the large black bezels that surround the screen, letting the display flow into the housing.
The station itself is rectangular, with a spot to place the Smart Clock 2 — complete with the connecting pogo pins and an LED light ring that goes around the bottom of the display — along with a wireless charging pad to the right of the screen. On the back of the station is a full-size USB port that you can use to connect a charger for your smartwatch.
The station adds $20 to the price of the setup, bringing the total to $89 for the Smart Clock 2 and the charging station.
Outside of picking the color of the fabric that covers the display’s housing, the only other major purchasing decision related to the Smart Clock 2 is whether or not you want the charging station.
There are some magnets inside the charging station that help hold your smartphone in place when it’s wirelessly charging. We only know this because the magnets even trick our MagSafe-equipped iPhone 13 Pro into thinking it’s on a MagSafe charging pad, playing the animation when we place our iPhone on the pad.
We were able to successfully charge several different models of phones on the wireless charging pad. The Pixel 5, a Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 13 Pro all charged without any issue. However, we never did get Google’s new Pixel 6 Pro to start charging on the pad. No matter how we placed the phone, the wireless charging coils were never recognized.
We’re a big fan of the Smart Clock 2 without the charging station simply because we appreciate the minimal approach of the clock on its own. That said, the charging station doesn’t take up that much space and is an affordable way of adding wireless charging to your nightstand.
Hey Google…let me sleep in!
The Smart Clock 2 is a smart display that uses Google Assistant to answer common questions, control your smart home and the like. Lenovo, however, has added a few features to the Smart Clock 2 that emphasize its primary job of waking you up in the morning.
For starters, whenever the alarm goes off, you can tap on the top of the display to either shut it off or snooze it. You’re able to control which of those two options are used in the settings.
There’s also a Sunrise Alarm feature that will slowly turn up the brightness of the display, gradually lighting up your room before the alarm sounds.
Additionally, there are several clock designs you can pick from. Options include traditional alarm clock designs or more interactive clocks that allow you to use a picture of your own, taken from your Google Photos account.
Navigating the Smart Clock 2’s interface feels a lot like getting around a smartwatch. You can long-press on the clock to pick a different clock design or customize the one you currently have set. For instance, you can add or remove the weather or change the color of the clock.
Swiping from any edge of the display will trigger a different action. Swiping down from the top will reveal settings shortcuts. Swiping up from the bottom gives you another set of device settings, while swiping toward the middle of the screen from the right edge scrolls through a built-in nap alarm that’s already set for 20 minutes (how cool is that?!) as well as your daily alarms and the current weather.
If you’re across the room, you can always use your voice to control the Smart Clock 2. It responds to “Hey Google” followed by your query or command. The Clock 2 woke to commands and responded just as seamlessly as the standard Nest Hub. Now that we think about it, the Clock 2 did a better job of weeding out any phrases that could sound like a false wake phrase, which is something that’s common across nearly all smart speakers or displays.
For example, you can ask for the current weather or a preview of what’s on your Google Calendar’s agenda for the day. You can also use it to control any of your smart home devices, like your porch light, Nest thermostat or front door lock. Granted, you’ll need to have all of those devices connected to your Google account via the Google Home app on your phone.
Speaking of the Home app, you can use an alarm to trigger a Routine you’ve created in the Home app. So, let’s say you have a Google Home Routine that turns on your lights and gives you a traffic update and the time of your first appointment. You can have your alarm trigger your Good Morning routine after you shut it off, helping you get your day started.
We appreciated the bonus information within a few seconds of waking up, but it’s not something we would leave on outside of testing, only because we don’t want to wake up our partner. Creating a Routine like the one we just mentioned is easy. In fact, Google has one that’s very close to that as the main template for a morning routine. You can add or remove items using the Home app on your phone, tailoring the Routine to fit your needs.
The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 is an adorable alarm clock that just so happens to have the power of Google Assistant built into it. You can use it to listen to podcasts while you fall asleep or start playing your favorite tunes when you get up in the morning — something that standard alarm clocks can do but without the style that the Smart Clock 2 offers.
For $70, it’s not a cheap alarm clock — but it isn’t just an alarm clock. You’re able to do so much more, and if you opt for the charging stand, those capabilities are expanded even more. Sure, you can get a Nest Hub for close to the same price, but it lacks the same alarm clock-specific features and takes up a lot more space on your nightstand.