Most of my fellow lovers of all things technological are doubtless well ahead of me when it comes to smart home devices. It is a new area for me, due to the tight rein held on the purse strings by my beloved financial manager and spouse.
I'm told that we have both decided that I have enough technology and that I will need to part with some of the clutter in the study before I get more. So I was keen to see what I've been missing out on when it comes to devices like the Lenovo Smart Clock and the Lenovo Smart Display 7.
To begin, you will need an iOS or Android device, and you'll need to download and set up the Google Home App. This proved a breeze with the Smart Clock, but not with the Display 7. It turned out that a previous reviewer had been logged into the device.
As far as I can see, only the factory can reset them, but I'm still a Google Home novice, and this has led to me somehow losing all my smart home devices. However, I'm tuned into my photos and my music accounts, happily listening to my podcasts and admiring my collection of selfies.
The Lenovo Smart Display 7 is a great assistant on my desk, and already I can see some tantrums and pouting when the time comes to pack it up. The Smart Clock takes up minimal space on my bedside table and does so much more than my old alarm clock ever did. The beige fabric covering on both items looks stylish in a subdued way, designed to blend in unobtrusively in your environment.
The Smart Display 7 has a 7” colour display and a built-in camera. There is even a manual shut-off if you don't want the camera activated. As I write, I'm interacting and just discovered that Google is camera-shy. I guess not everyone loves the camera as much as my face does.
I have enjoyed my interactions with Google, which you trigger by saying, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” I can listen to the latest news, groove along to my music, and check up on my upcoming meetings. How personal an experience you have is determined by the Google Assistant settings set up on your phone. I'm finding out that the default settings are quite conservative, meaning that I'll have a bit of tweaking to do before Google will tell me all I need to know.
I have also cast my Google photos and am gazing lovingly at my old feral feline friend Patch, offspring of a neighbour's cat who had several feral litters under our deck until we blocked it off.
The Smart Clock has a much smaller footprint than the display but is no less handy an asset to have. I'm quite looking forward to waking up tomorrow to the sound of Weird Al singing about living in his Amish paradise.
Once I've sorted out my settings, I'll be able to see who's at the door, turn my smart lights off and on and call my friends.
In recent times I've been making use of Spotify, both for listening to music and inspirational messages. The Smart Display has a very good speaker, ideal for listening as I work away on my next Pulitzer-winning piece of prose.
The volume output is brilliant, and currently, I'm listening to Supermarket Flowers at one of the lowest settings. For a tiny setup, the sound quality is remarkably full, producing rich high and low tones. The Smart Clock sound quality doesn't deserve to be as good as it is, with high and low notes equally rounded with no hint of that “tinny” sound one often gets from small speakers.
This brings me to my conclusion. Both products will quickly prove themselves indispensable and I can see the Smart Clock by my bedside and the Smart Display here in my office. I checked out the prices on Price Spy and the Lenovo Smart Clock comes in just under $60 with the Smart Display 7 is priced around $150. Both items will be welcome and useful additions to any Smart Google Home.
Music lovers won't be disappointed at either the tone or volume of either device; fashionistas will rejoice at the clever use of the cloth-covered units which mean they blend into any environment with ease.