The growing family of Google Assistant devices got even larger recently with the addition of the Lenovo Smart Clock — a $79 smart companion designed for the bedroom.
Unlike the Google Home smart speaker range, the Lenovo Smart Clock sports a small display which enables visual and touchscreen features. This puts the Lenovo Smart Clock more in line with smart displays like Lenovo’s own range and the recently rebranded Google Nest Hub family.
If you’re looking for a bedside smart device, you’ll probably want something smaller than the Google Nest Hub Max or Lenovo Smart Display, which leaves you with the Lenovo Smart Clock or the regular Google Nest Hub.
But which is better? Find out in this Lenovo Smart Clock vs Google Nest Hub showdown!
Design and display
The Lenovo Smart Clock is the smallest Google Assistant device with a display to date. The 4-inch IPS LCD display is touch compatible and has an 800 x 480 resolution. The Google Nest Hub has a larger, 7-inch display with a slightly higher resolution (1,024 x 600). Unfortunately, both devices have sizable bezels.
Lenovo has clearly tailored the overall look of the Smart Clock to match Google’s Home range. The small, subtle form factor combined with the grey cloth material encasing the device is reminiscent of the Home Mini, though Lenovo has opted to include handy physical volume buttons on the top of the device.
Lenovo has tailored the Smart Clock to look like Google’s Home products.
The Google Nest Hub, meanwhile, has a more functional design that looks like someone stuck a tablet onto a Bluetooth speaker. The Nest Hub’s speaker section also has pastel-shaded cloth over the speaker, though it comes in a variety of color options besides gray.
Like the Smart Clock, the Nest Hub features volume controls via a rocker and both devices have a mute slider to turn off the microphone. The Smart Clock also has a USB port so you can charge your phone, smartwatch, or any other USB device via the Clock itself — perfect for ridding your bedside of cable spaghetti.
Related: Best smart displays: Google Nest Hub Max, Amazon Echo Show, and more
Elsewhere, the Lenovo Smart Clock and Google Nest Hub both have a single ambient light sensor sandwiched between two far-field microphones above the display. Likewise, neither device has a camera, which should ease privacy worries.
Like the Lenovo Smart Display, the Lenovo Smart Clock runs on Android Things with support for all the core Google Assistant functionality. That means you can check the weather, show calendar events, see info on your commute, control music playback, and more all through your voice or on the touchscreen through a slide-based UI unique to the Smart Clock.
The Smart Clock supports Routines for activating multiple Assistant features such as reading the news and reciting the weather forecast through a single command. These can be created and edited via the Google Home app, which is where you’ll set up your device and keep it updated.
Read more: Google Assistant guide: Make the most of your virtual assistant
The biggest difference between the two devices is that Google’s Nest Hub runs on a custom version of Google Cast hardware and software more commonly found on Chromecast products. This makes Google’s Hub a little smarter than Android Things smart displays; however, the Lenovo Smart Clock lacks even more basic features that you might expect to find on a smart device with any kind of display.
For starters, you can’t play any videos on the Smart Clock. Considering the small size it’s clear the Smart Clock was never designed for video playback, but it’s still odd to see basic functionality removed when it should at least have the option. This is made even more strange by the fact that the Smart Clock can show a video feed from Nest cameras, with other third-party camera support coming in a future update.
More disappointing is the complete lack of support for Google Photos. Many, myself included, use the Nest Hub and other smart displays to show album slideshows like a digital photo frame. This isn’t possible on the Smart Clock. While not ideal for video, the 4-inch display is more than large enough to show images. If you want to see snaps of your family and friends on your bedside, you’ll need a proper smart display.
Put simply, the Lenovo Smart Clock is more of a smart speaker that happens to have a display for showing the time and basic information, while the Google Nest Hub is built from the ground up to utilize the display’s full potential.
The Lenovo Smart Clock does have a few unique features related to the alarm. Both the Smart Clock and Google Nest Hub have ambient displays for keeping out light pollution at night, but the Smart Clock’s Sunrise Alarm feature smartly increases the brightness gradually from 30 minutes before your alarm goes off. You can also turn off the alarm through a single “stop” voice command or by firmly tapping the top of the device like a real alarm clock.
The Lenovo Smart Clock is outfitted with a three-watt speaker and two passive radiators. While it lacks bass, the Smart Clock sounds far better than the Google Home Mini overall with richer tones on music tracks. The Google Nest Hub sounds marginally better, but considering the size of the full-range speaker it’d be fair to expect a more marked difference between the two. Both devices support multi-room audio grouping and streaming for Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and more.
If you’re after a truly great audio experience, there are far better smart speaker devices out there than both the Lenovo Smart Clock and Google Nest Hub. Between the two, the Smart Clock fares slightly better in relative terms thanks to its cheaper price and smaller form factor.
Price and verdict
The Lenovo Smart Clock costs $79.99 and is available from Lenovo’s online store, Walmart, Best Buy, and several other major retailers in the U.S. It’s also available in the U.K. from Lenovo for £79.99.
The Google Nest Hub recently received a permanent price cut from $149 to $129, and is available to buy from the Google Store and various big U.S. retailers. The Google Nest Hub also dropped from £139 to £119 in the U.K..
The Lenovo Smart Clock is a glorified smart speaker with a display.
Unless you’re in the U.K. where the £40 price difference is more than worth the upgrade, the Lenovo Smart Clock does just enough to justify its place over the Nest Hub. The cheaper price doesn’t reflect a huge drop in quality in design, audio, or Google Assistant features, though it’s a shame to see so much potential wasted with only basic display functions.
Buyers that want a true smart display will find the Smart Clock sorely lacking. The Google Nest Hub is still arguably the best in the category, but if you just want a smart bedside sidekick for waking you up in the morning, the Lenovo Smart Clock fits the bill.
Lenovo Smart Clock alternatives
Not convinced by the Lenovo Smart Clock? Check out these other options currently available to buy!
Amazon Echo Spot
If you don’t mind switching to Alexa, the Amazon Echo Spot is the most obvious rival to the Lenovo Smart Clock. The Echo Spot does a little more with its circular screen but is far more expensive and has a camera which is a little invasive in a bedroom.
Google Home Mini
The Google Home Mini drops the display so you won’t be able to see the time but is a much cheaper option for your bedside table.
Lenovo Smart Display
Got plenty of space in your bedroom? Lenovo’s Smart Display line comes in 8-inch and 10-inch varieties. They also offer better audio, though once again you might not want a camera watching you while you sleep. Lenovo’s options here are also far more expensive.
JBL Link View
If you want a Google Assistant device that’s more like the Nest Hub, but with better audio, then the JBL Link View is worth a look.
That’s all for our Lenovo Smart Clock vs Google Nest Hub comparison. Which device do you think better suits the bedroom? Let us know in the comments.
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