Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock full review
If you're wondering what a smart clock does, it's a combination device much like the Lavazza Voicy, a pod coffee machine with an integrated Amazon Alexa speaker.
These two-in-one products can be a good space saver, stopping you from cluttering your surfaces with single-use gadgets like the china cats on your grandma's shelves.
In the case of the Mi Smart Clock, it's a Google Assistant speaker that’s designed to sit on your bedside table and perform all the functions of an alarm clock. You can use the alarm clock features via its touchscreen and three physical buttons. The assistant controls are set up via the Google Home app. After it's integrated, you use voice control as you would any other home assistant.
Design and features
- 4-inch LED touchscreen
- 480 x 800 pixel display
In the box, you'll get the clock, which is a pleasingly designed little wedge of tech; a standard power adapter; and a user manual. There's no option to add batteries in case of a power cut, which would have been a nice feature.
The Mi smart clock bears more than a passing resemblance to the Lenovo smart clock. But this budget-friendly relation sells for less than two-thirds of Lenovo’s £79 offering.
The design trade-offs for the lower cost include a plastic shell, rather than the fabric finish of the Lenovo clock, and the lack of a USB port to charge your phone. In most other respects – its shape, its overall design and its features – it's extremely similar.
There's a different button layout and placement: three physical buttons on the top of the clock allow you to raise and lower the volume and quickly mute the mic – a reassuring feature on a device that'll stand next to your bed.
Plus, you'll find ten clock face designs that are familiar from other Google products. You can customise their colour and there are enough options that you can find something that's easy to read and works with your decor.
Although the clock has a 4-inch LED touchscreen, it’s not a full smart display, so you can't watch video content. But as it has a 480 x 800 pixel display and and poor viewing angles from the sides, you really wouldn't want to.
All you’ll use the screen for is the clock and basic assistant functions: time, settings and information on the music you're playing.
Set up and features
- Standard and light alarm
- Chromecast compatible
The best reason to buy the Mi smart clock is if you're already a Google Assistant household and you'd like an additional smart speaker to keep upstairs. In this case, set up is easy. Just plug in the smart clock, find it in the Google Home app and it should integrate into your system right away.
This means you can trigger smart household routines from the comfort of bed, such as switching lights and music off when you're ready to sleep, or turning on the coffee machine in the morning.
You can also ask Google to kick off the day with your morning playlist – but bear in mind that the speaker's sound quality isn’t great. It's fine when getting information on the weather or traffic but the sound is too thin to really enjoy music.
I found that I could handle a track or two when I was waking up and had the speaker right by my head. But by the time I was properly conscious and getting ready for the day ahead, I was itching to switch to my regular smart bedroom speaker, the Marshall Emberton.
Equally, I was keen to try out the light alarm feature, which slowly increases the light in the half hour before your alarm goes off, with the idea that you'll wake up more gently, feeling refreshed. However, it just doesn't have the brightness or the warmth of a dedicated light alarm, emitting instead an eerie, spectral grey light that did not constitute a good start to the day.
But this product is first and foremost a straightforward alarm clock and I found it to be very high-quality, with options for sounds, volume and snooze settings.
There are other nice touches, such as the night light (which saved the cat from an accidental boot to the head one night) and the sensor that dims the display to match the room's ambient light. Still, I found that the light emitted by the LED screen overnight was brighter than was ideal.
Price and availability
The Mi smart clock has limited availability in the UK and isn't currently for sale in the US. If you're in the UK, it's stocked by Game.
We've also found it from Xiaomi in the Netherlands for €44.95.
What the Mi smart clock does very well is allow you combine a lot of disparate bedroom devices into one neat little bundle: it’s a clock, alarm, light alarm, speaker, night light and home assistant.
The problem with it is that it doesn’t perform some of those roles as well as a single-function device.
However, if you want a smart speaker for your bedroom or an alarm clock with some extra features, this handy little device is well worth a spot on your bedside table.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock: Specs
- Smart clock with Google Assistant integration
- Display type: LED
- Screen size: 10.2 cm/ 4 inch
- Display resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
- Mains powered
- Weight: 272g.
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