On its face, there's nothing inherently wrong with the Lenovo Smart Clock. It's a perfectly good clock. It's a perfectly good Google Assistant device. And it does those two things together quite well.

But you can't help but get the feeling that this $80 alarm clock should be able to do more. After all, it's got a 4-inch display. It's got all the smarts Google can fit into a tiny little device — and that's a lot. It's got all the microphones and speakers and everything else you'd expect in something like this in 2019.

But the Lenovo Smart Clock is, first and foremost, a clock. Don't buy this with the expectation that it'll be an inexpensive way to watch YouTube on a nightstand, because it can't. You can't watch YouTube TV. You can't use Chromecast to feed it some other live stream.

To beat that horse just a little more — it's a smart clock. Period.

And on the other hand, perhaps that's fine. Phones are larger than 4 inches these days. Just use it instead, right? Or get a better option like the Nest Hub. (Formerly known as the Google Home Hub.) Or take a look at the upcoming Amazon Echo Show 5, which is going to be very interesting at just $90 and will do a lot more than the Lenovo Smart Clock.

The one bit of video I've managed to eke out of the Smart Clock comes from my Nest cameras and Nest Hello doorbell. And it's fine for that, I guess, if a little small.

And maybe this is just a larger existentital question. Does a product have to do as much as possible, even if it's not really meant to? Can a clock just be a clock?

Or does everything have to max out its possibilities, never mind that it's not necessarily the right tool for the right job.

Smart Home

Lenovo Smart Clock

It's a clock. A smart clock.

Don't look for this to do too much beyond what the name implies. It's a smart clock, with a touchscreen and Google Assistant. It's not a hub.

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