Senior Staff Writer, Tech AdvisorJAN 5, 2022 12:00 am GMT
Alexa is already available on a huge range of different devices, from speakers and sound bars to TVs and even coffee machines, but Lenovo just added another to the mix at CES 2022. The company’s new Smart Clock Essential, a smart display similar to
Amazon’s Echo Show 5, now has Amazon’s virtual assistant built-in, after the original model used the Google Assistant instead.
The motivation for this change is unclear, although Lenovo might sell both devices simultaneously. One advantage of Alexa is its integration with more smart home tech – everything from security cameras and thermostats to light bulbs and kitchen appliances can be controlled with your voice. The Google Assistant can do the same, but its selection is more limited.
Aside from a glowing blue light when talking to Alexa, the new Smart Clock Essential is largely unchanged design-wise. You get the same 4in LED display and soft touch fabric exterior, albeit in new Misty Blue and Clay Red colour options. The two microphones can be disabled at any time using a the physical switch, while a 3W speaker should provide decent, if not room-filling, audio.
However, if you use YouTube Music, you’re out of luck – Amazon Music is the main streaming service for tunes and podcasts. It does still support Spotify too, though. All the other smart functionality you’ll find on an Amazon Echo speaker is here, including news & weather, timers and integration with Amazon Shopping.
As you might expect from a bedside clock, it can wake you up in the morning with an alarm. But it’s at night where the Smart Clock Essential comes into its own, offering a range of customisable light settings to suit your mood. It’s also compatible with Lenovo’s Wireless Charging Dock with Night Light, which combines Qi charging with a reassuring glow for children going to sleep. That kid-friendly theme is emphasised by new Ambient Light Docks, which can give the clock a fun Squid or Sealion design.
However, these are both optional accessories you’ll need to pay extra for. The Smart Clock Essential itself will be available sometime before the end of January 2022, starting at US$59.99 (approx. £44).
As the resident expert on Windows, Senior Staff Writer Anyron’s main focus is PCs and laptops. Much of the rest of his time is split between smartphones, tablets and audio, with a particular focus on Android devices.