Smart alarm clocks for the smart home with Google Assistant or Alexa

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If you don’t want to use your smartphone as an alarm clock, but want to access the latest weather data or news in the morning, you will find an alternative in a smart desk clock. This solution is useful, for example, when you put your cell phone into flight mode at night so as not to be disturbed by calls. Compared to a classic alarm clock, a smart variant offers data from the Internet, including an overview of upcoming appointments, the weather and current news reports.

In this guide, we take a look at smart clocks for the desk or bedside table with a connection to the Google Assistant and show how devices with Alexa can also be used as clever alarm clocks. Furthermore, we go into the possibilities of such devices as control devices for the smart home (theme world). We show more about smart helpers for the night or in the morning in our guide to sleep gadgets: sleep analysis, heated blankets and light alarm clocks.

The Google Assistant is not only used on smartphones and tablets with Android, but also on a number of other products. Google itself offers its own devices under the “Nest” label, such as the Google Nest Hub (test report) and Google Nest Hub 2. This is a smart display as a control center for compatible devices at home. The Nest family complete surveillance cameras like that Google Nest Cam, Doorbells with cameras like that Google Nest Doorbell, Multiroom-Speaker wie Nest Audio or Nest Mini. There are also suitable smart thermostats. Third-party providers also offer comparable products. These can stream music or videos to other devices via the Google Cast protocol and use the Google Assistant. Google Home serves as a connection to the smart home.

The counterpart of Amazon is the voice assistant Alexa. This is integrated into the smart speakers and displays of the Echo family, for example. We show an overview of the current devices in the Amazon Echo 2021 guide: All models in comparison. The smart display counterpart to the Nest Hub is the Amazon Echo Show. This is available as a compact version with a 5-inch display and as a larger version with 8 or 10 inches. The models also serve as smart speakers Echo Dot 4, Echo 4 such as Echo studio. In addition to Amazon products, other manufacturers also offer devices that support Amazon Skills, such as multi-room speakers and light switches.

We took a closer look at them Lenovo Smart Clock 2. This form of the alarm clock is a mixture of smart display and smart speaker with integrated voice assistant. The successor to the Lenovo Smart Clock (test report) also uses the Google Assistant and offers some features of a Google Nest Hub (test report).

The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 costs 45 euros and is largely the same as the previous model, but offers stereo speakers and a charging dock for smartphones as an optional accessory. This supports both wireless charging via Qi or the classic variant via USB cable. With the charging dock, the watch costs around 70 euros. In the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential it is a slimmed-down version with a simple LED screen for 30 euros.

The 4-inch touch display of the Smart Clock 2 shows the time by default. Users can call up additional screens by swiping. There you will find the alarm function, the current weather at the location based on data from Weather.com, playlists from compatible music services such as Spotify and an overview of the appointments from the Google calendar. It is set up using the Google Home app on an Android smartphone. Several backgrounds and designs are available for the time. Optionally, these allow the outside temperature to be displayed based on the weather data. The preset screen also shows the day of the week. Amazingly, however, it was not possible for us to display the date in addition to the time. That is not entirely understandable.

If you want, you can also use your images from Google Photos as a background – given the small screen, however, using it as a digital picture frame is somewhat modest. Access to playlists from compatible music services such as YouTube Music or Spotify is possible directly via the desk clock. You shouldn’t expect too much from the sound quality due to the compact format despite stereo. However, the Smart Clock 2 can be used as a remote control for speakers connected to the Smart Home via Google Cast. The smart alarm clock can also switch lights integrated in Google Home on and off and open the door via Google Nest Doorbell. However, there is no overview menu of all smart home devices as in the Nest Hub – control is via voice commands to Google. It is also not possible to play back videos directly on the Smart Clock 2.

To help you fall asleep, the watch offers a night mode that plays nature sounds. The alarm function combines the features of a classic alarm clock with a daylight alarm clock. Users can optionally set the Smart Clock so that the screen becomes brighter and brighter 30 minutes before the actual alarm tone. This allows you to wake up gently before it gets noisy in the bedroom. A nap timer, which is set to 20 minutes by default, is also practical. If desired, the watch can start a morning routine preset in the Google Assistant. This can be, for example, reading out the current weather, upcoming appointments and playing news reports. Users can switch off the microphone using the slide control on the back.

A Nest Hub can of course also be used as an alarm clock – however, it is significantly larger and takes up too much space on a bedside table. The enables similar functions as the Smart Clock from Lenovo including voice control and connection to Google Home Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock for just under 40 euros.

There are currently no desk clocks with Alexa comparable to the Lenovo Smart Clock 2 in the strict sense. However, nothing speaks against using an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show as an alarm clock. The wake-up time is set by voice command to Alexa. Best suited for the bedside table are the Amazon Echo Dot 4 (test report) as a variant with a time display for just under 30 euros.

Those who prefer to trust Apple or the voice of Siri can use the Apple Homepod Mini to use. However, the compact version of the Homepod does not offer a display or time display. The small smart speaker allows you to wake up at the desired time with your own favorite music via voice command.

Anyone who has always wanted to talk to their radio alarm clock will find an alternative to the smartphone in a smart alarm clock or smart speaker. For everyone who uses Google Home, the table clocks from Lenovo and Xiaomi are ideal. These are also specially designed as smart alarm clocks with a Google connection. They also control devices in the smart home using voice commands.

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