Lenovo is debuting a revamped version of its pared-down Smart Clock Essential, this time with Alexa onboard rather than Google Assistant. Lenovo is also showing off an optional dock for the clock that glows in a variety of colors.
Slated for release this month, the Smart Clock Essential with Alexa Built-in (that’s the official name) has a new design similar to the recent Lenovo Smart Clock 2, with a taller, narrower look and a fabric-covered shell.
Unlike the Smart Clock 2, the Smart Clock Essential doesn’t have a full-on touch display; instead, the non-touch, auto-dim screen offers just the basics, including a jumbo digital clock, the outside temperature and humidity, the day of the week, and so on.
Of course, the best feature on the updated Smart Clock Essential is built-in Alexa, allowing you to set alarms and timers, get a detailed weather report, check your schedule, control smart home devices, and more, all with voice commands. You can also ask Alexa to tee up some tunes, which you can play through the clock’s integrated 3-watt driver or via a Bluetooth-connected speaker.
This marks the first of Lenovo’s smart clocks to come with built-in Alexa. The original Lenovo Smart Clock and Smart Clock 2 both came with built-in Google Assistant, as did the first-generation Smart Clock Essential.
On top of the new Smart Clock Essential are buttons for volume control, the Alexa “action” button, and a snooze button, while a switch in back lets you mute the clock’s 2-microphone array for privacy. The clock lacks a camera, which isn’t surprising given that the display lacks video capability.
Besides the Alexa-enabled Smart Clock Essential, Lenovo is also touting an Ambient Light Dock as an optional accessory.
The bubble-shaped Ambient Light Dock comes with eight light modes, ranging from solid and multi-color scenes to rhythmic motion lighting. You can change the light modes by tapping the top of the docked Smart Clock Essential or by asking Alexa.
Last year’s Lenovo Smart Clock 2 also had an optional dock, although that one offered wireless charging along with a night light.
Available in “Misty Blue” or “Clay Red,” the Lenovo Smart Clock with Built-in Alexa is set to ship later this month for $60. Meanwhile, the Ambient Light Dock is expected to arrive sometime in the first quarter of the year for $30.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.