Lenovo Smart Clock

We’ve enjoyed our time with Lenovo’s Smart Clocks, which pack nice displays and Google Assistant voice functionality into a series of cute-looking alarm clocks for your nightstand. But if you prefer Alexa, Lenovo finally has you covered with the obviously named Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In.

New for CES 2022 and launching this month for $59.99, the Smart Clock Essential With Alexa packs some promising features into an attractive, affordable little accessory — and works with some adorable, kid-friendly lighting docks. We got to spend some hands-on time with Lenovo’s latest Smart Clock ahead of its official release. Here are our early impressions.

Same attractive design — now with Alexa

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The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa looks similar to previous Smart Clocks we’ve tested, and that’s not a bad thing. Lenovo’s small alarm clock has an attractive mesh coating that comes in either Misty Blue or Clay Red, as well as large physical buttons up top for controlling volume or snoozing that ever-dreaded morning alarm. Its digital LED display looks bright and bold, and while we didn’t get a chance to test its audio, it packs 3W front-facing speakers for pumping out music and waking you up in the morning.

The big difference this time around is right in that name, as this is Lenovo’s first smart alarm clock to support Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. And for folks already deep into the Alexa ecosystem, this clock is ideal to do things like order items on Amazon using your voice or control any Alexa-compatible smart home gadgets you may have set up at home.

A fun dock that brings things to life

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While the latest Lenovo Smart Clock is charming and functional on its own, it really came to life once we got to use it with Lenovo’s new Ambient Light Docks. Once attached to the clock, these docks can glow different colors to set the mood, and even come with their own special effects, which reflect on the clock display.

We tried out Ambient Light docks inspired by a seal and an octopus, and once we put the clock on top, the display briefly became the “eyes” of its respective sea creature. It’s a delightful effect, perfect for kids, and can be added to your Smart Clock this month for $29.99 each.

The takeaway

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The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa is looking like a solid option for folks who want an alarm clock that can also control all the Alexa-powered gadgets in your home. But should you buy one over Amazon’s Echo Dot With Clock, which sells for $59 and is often discounted for less?

Because the Echo Dot is more of an orb that displays the time through its mesh exterior, we could see Lenovo’s option appealing to folks who want something that looks more like a traditional alarm clock with a big screen. And while both clocks support external stands for extra lighting and personalization, Lenovo’s Ambient Light Docks could be especially appealing for folks who want to add some fun, kid-friendly flair to their alarm clock.

Lenovo’s latest alarm clock is one of our finalists for the best of CES 2022, and we look forward to testing it against our picks for the best alarm clocks as soon as we get one in our hands.