If what you want is a bedside smart companion, the discounted Lenovo Smart Clock is a better buy.
Lenovo Smart Clock
Just the right size for the bedside
$60 at Amazon
- Small screen form factor
- Tons of clock faces
- Can do some smart home stuff like video cam feeds
- Not the best screen
- Not good for video content
If you are looking for a Google Assistant-enabled smart screen for your bedside alarm, you’re not going to find a better option than the Lenovo Smart Clock. It takes up much less space and is significantly cheaper than the larger Lenovo Smart Dispaly or Nest Hub.
Nest Mini (2nd Gen)
Mighty mini smart speaker
$49 at B&H
- Super speaker for being so small
- Improved machine learning on-device
- You can mount it to your wall
- No information display
- Fidgety touch controls
Google/Nest kept all that was great with the original Google Home Mini and upgraded the internals to provide better sound and an improved Google Assistant experience. It can stand out on its own or be tucked up and away as you prefer.
Even more so than in our Nest Hub vs. Nest Mini comparison, these two devices from Nest and Lenovo are really competing for the same space — the bedside or side table. So which should you pick up? We’re here to lay out the facts to help you make that decision.
Side table shootout
Do you prioritize a super-responsive Assistant and great bass, or a visual screen that responds to your touch? We’ve compared the specs on each device below for your consideration.
|Weight||6.1 oz||24.32 oz|
|Size||3.9″ x 3.9″ x 1.6″||4.4″ x 3.14″ x 3.11″|
|Speakers||1 x 1.58″||1 x 1.53″|
|Touchscreen||No||4″ touch screen at 800 x 480p resolution|
|Smart home controls||Yes||Yes|
|Virtual asssistant||Google Assistant||Google Assistant|
|Pair multiple for stereo sound||Yes||No|
|Finishes||Fabric — 4 colorsCoralSkyCharcoalChalk||Fabric — 1 colorGray|
Subtle smart speakers
Pictured: Nest Mini, left. Nest WiFi, right.
The Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is a great little smart speaker at a pretty compelling price. It comes in four colors; two of which are pretty conservative, and two that are a little more snazzy. Whichever you chose, these can fit in nicely with your home decor.
The speaker and on-device smarts are improved from the first generation, and you can now mount the device on your wall if you so choose. Google significantly improved the on-device intelligence and machine learning, enabling the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) to be able to perform with one TeraOps of processing power. Google claims this will allow more voice processing to take place on-device, which should improve the responsiveness and privacy of the Google Assistant.
The Nest Mini is the product for you if what you need is a good quality speaker with an excellent connection to the Google Assistant. If all you want is to listen to news and weather updates, podcasts, and some Spotify jams, this will suit you just fine. It also does a nice job of waking you up in the morning without any annoying lights or screens to jar you from your slumber.
Google/Nest kept the price of this little puck low, which is a nice bit of consistency in the world of ever-increasing device expenses. As with the original Google Home Mini, we fully expect to see discounts of the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) around the holiday season, in addition to various promotions and giveaways from third parties.
Pictured: Lenovo Smart Clock, left. Nest Hub, right.
As we’ve noted in our initial review, the Lenovo Smart Clock is well-named because that’s exactly what it is — a smart clock. It’s not meant to be a smartphone, tablet, or larger smart screen alternative; rather, it’s meant to bring your old school alarm clock into the 21st century, and it does that pretty well.
It has a 4-inch “touch” screen that is good at a few important clock-based tasks, like displaying a nice variety of clock faces, showing you the weather or your agenda, or pulling up quick information from the Google Assistant. You can also ask it to show you video feeds from your Nest cams, but it’s not so great at displaying other video content.
I think the Lenovo Smart Clock is a great device for someone who has come to expect a bit more from their smart device, and perhaps has another smart screen (or two) around the house. It provides useful, glanceable information in a compact footprint, and because it doesn’t have a camera it alleviates the typical privacy concerns with screen devices.
The Lenovo Smart Clock can be found at a heavy discount from when it was initially announced, and at its new price, it’s competitive with the Nest Mini (2nd Gen). Given that it has a touchscreen (albeit limited) and a similar speaker, I say it’s worth forking over your cash for one of these.
A tough choice
I love the subtle but substantial improvements that Nest has made with the Nest Mini (2nd Gen), and I think it comes packaged at a fair price for what you get. However, now that the Lenovo Smart Clock has been discounted by nearly $20, I think the addition of a clock screen with some smarts for only $10 more than the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is just too good a proposition to pass up.
If you are fine without having a screen, or just want the flexibility of a smaller, wall-mountable device, then go ahead and grab a Nest Mini (2nd Gen). I’m thinking of grabbing a few just for the better bass alone!
Lenovo Smart Clock
$60 at Amazon
This isn’t your grandfather’s alarm clock
If you had to imagine what a Smart Clock looks like, it would probably be pretty close to this. The Lenovo Smart Clock sports speakers loud enough to fill a room, while Google Assistant plugs into all of your favorite smart home accessories
The nicest Nest
$49 at B&H
Improved assistant and better bass
There isn’t much room in such a small device for large improvements, but somehow Nest pulled it off. 2 X better bass and more on-device smarts make this a smart buy.