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Bedroom alarm clocks are so everyday, so mundane, they don't often get reviewed by Big Deal Tech Bros, who are more concerned about a new band for the Apple Watch Series 6 than a humble device that can actually improve your mental health.
Smart alarm clocks are not cool and you should not mention yours in public. But I have to make this one exception. I have no choice but to stan for the smart clock.
It made me feel better.
You don't need a touch screen on a smart clock in your bedroom, I found. That sort of goes against why you have a smart clock: To remove screens from your bedroom.
The "smart" in "smart" tech means it's connected to the internet, and the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential uses the voice-powered Google Assistant.
Use your voice, not a screen.
For the past year, I've said this command to my Lenovo Smart Clock, and it kick-started a routine that turned off all the lights in my apartment, told me the weather for the next day, asked what time I should set my alarm for, and then played "relaxing rain sounds."
One-third of young people in a 2016 survey reported elevated levels of psychological stress, according to research by the Toronto-based Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Researchers also found "screen time" usage had increased to three hours per day, on average, among them, citing it as a contributing factor.
All of which is to say ... adding another touchscreen in your bedroom is bad.
What's more, I never used the touch screen on the first generation of the Lenovo Smart Clock.
I never had a reason as I did everything with my voice and Google Assistant.
A touch screen on a bedroom clock isn't only unnecessary, it adds another distraction in a room that doesn't need them.
Thankfully, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is just that -- it only offers the essentials.
Honestly: Not much. It's $50. It is an upgrade on setting alarms on your phone.
With that said: The fabric cover adds domesticity that is appreciated, but what if it came in black?
The old-school LED font for the face is a retro look, but it may not suit everyone.
If you are fearful of Google listening to you, that may be a hurdle you have to get over.
The last word: My sleep quality went up as my in-bed screentime went down. My mental health — mood, anxiety, stress — generally got better. I credit a lot of it to less screentime and a relaxing bedtime routine, thanks to Lenovo Smart Clock.
If you're a person who is compelled to swipe, you'll be happier with this new, cheaper Lenovo Smart Clock Essential (full specs).
And one more thing — try leaving your phone in the living room, if you can.