When the Lenovo Smart Clock debuted in 2019, we called it a superb bedside assistant. This Google Assistant-enabled smart display didn't try to do too much, and what it did do, it was excellent at. And, at $79, it wasn't too expensive, either.
But what if you want something even simpler? The new $49 Lenovo Smart Clock Essential looks to fill that niche; this smart speaker ditches the touchscreen of the Smart Clock for a four-inch LCD that displays the time and temperature, and not much else. But sometimes, that's all you need or want.
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential: Price and availability
The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential costs $49, and is available today at Best Buy and other major retailers.
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential: Design
The Smart Clock Essential is essentially the Lenovo Smart Clock with a simpler face. It has a trapezoidal design, whose face measures 4.7 inches by 2.5 inches; the device is 3.3 inches deep, so it'll fit comfortably on any nightstand.
The biggest difference is that, instead of a four-inch color touchscreen, the Smart Clock Essential has a monochrome LCD panel that shows the time, weather, and a few other, ahem, essential pieces of information. So, unlike the Smart Clock, which can show you directions and feeds from some of the best home security cameras, you're getting just the basics here.
As is the trend with most of the best smart speakers, the rear of the Smart Clock Essential is swathed in a light gray fabric, underneath which is housed a single 1-inch, 3-Watt speaker. The top of the device has touch controls for volume, Play, and an alarm.
The hard plastic rear section houses a USB port, which can be used to charge the device of your choice, and a slider to turn off the Smart Clock Essential's microphones. Another pleasant addition to the rear is an LED nightlight that encircles the back, and casts a soft glow (it's rated at 31 lumens).
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential: Outlook
One of our favorite smart speakers is the $59 Amazon Echo Dot with Clock; it offers just one feature over the regular Echo Dot—an LCD clock—but it's an extremely helpful addition. The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential looks like it will fill the same role for Google Assistant users, and for $10 less. We hope to test it out soon and let you know how it works.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.