+ Wednesday August 21st, 2019

Who says everything leaks before a major tech announcement? Overnight at CES 2019 Google and Lenovo pulled a surprise rabbit out of their hat, if the rabbit was a new Google Assistant device category, Smart Clocks.

Right off the bat, the Lenovo Smart Clock looks gorgeous; it’s clad in a very Google looking grey fabric, cementing it firmly in the ‘Home’ family of devices. It comes with a 4″ IPS LCD 480 x 800 touch screen display, 6W speaker, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5 and runs on Android things, but not the same version that you’ll find on non-Google Smart Displays.

The touchscreen device includes two buttons on the top for Volume up and down, a mute switch on the back and a USB-A port for charging your phone and while it’s not clear we’re hoping that it’s at least a 2.1 Amp output. Unfortunately, it’s powered via a non-USB cable, making you reliant on their in-the-box cable for getting it powered. It also would have been nice to have a USB-C output on the back, but I guess that might limit the usability for some users.

From a UI perspective the device can operate exactly as any Google Home speaker can, with voice control, including multi-cast speaker groups and access to the Google Assistant verbal smart home controls and routines. The display gives you up to 10 interchangeable clock faces at launch and a ‘card’ based UI.

Currently the cards seem limited to a few functions, time / clock, setting alarms, what’s next on your Google Calendar, weather and commute updates. Yo ucan also ask the Smark Clock to show you your NEST cameras, which is pretty handy. Google has apparently said more ‘cards’ will be coming in the future. What’s not there is Google Photos to turn your clock into an ambient photo frame during the day, a camera for Duo video calls, Duo for voice calls and most importantly Google’s new Home View control centre for home automation control.

It’s understandable why the Google-Lenovo partnership decided not to include a camera for a bedroom focused product, and no Google Smart speaker has Duo as yet for voice calling, however I think not including Google Photos is a miss – my daughter LOVES looking at the photos on our Assistant Smart Displays. The lack of a Home View card however is perplexing, especially on a product they are pushing as a smart home control device.

Hopefully, additional cards / functionality will be added and perhaps Photos and Home View will roll out later. Having not seen nor used the product I don’t think we can label the features as missing as yet – clearly, Google intended on creating a product category between a smart speaker and a smart display. Time will tell how well it’s received.

We’ve contacted our friends at Lenovo Australia to see if they intend on bringing the device to Australia, considering we received both the 8″ and 10.1″ Lenovo Smart Display there’s a good chance we’ll see this device launched locally. It’s due to launch in the USA in their Spring with a retail price of $79.99 which would see it priced around the $120 AUD mark if / when it makes it here.

Is a Google Assistant powered Smart Clock something you would want gracing your bedside table? Let us know below.

Source: Lenovo.

Duncan Jaffrey   Associate

Duncan Jaffrey

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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Jeni Skunk
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The only things I can see wrong with the hardware specs of this are, too low a resolution screen, the Lenovo specific power cable, and no microSD slot. 1280×800 screenres would have made this much better. Lenovo specific charging cable, NO! We left that Hell behind years ago and Lenovo want to bring it back? Lenovo can take that garbage and bugger off. No microSD slot, no way to easily load content onto the device. On the software side, it needs a digital photoframe mode, either as a stand alone photoframe app, or be able to use photos as a… Read more »

Tibb So
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Tibb So

Nice but it will undoubtedly be too pricey and the 7″ Google Home Hub already has a tiny screen so a 4″ one will be worse, although I am sure it will be better focused for it’s size.

Max Luong
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Looks awesome, but price does seem a bit high.

Chad Smith
Ausdroid Reader

My first thought was that this would be great for a home or office desk. It’s small and unobtrusive.
But if it’s A$120, then that’s also the same as a Pixel Stand (which I believe is way too much). Seems to be a large price disparity.
Google are really starting to muddy the waters around their assisted devices and where they, and their partners, think which devices should go where.

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