The Essential features a 4-inch LED display that shows the time in big black-and-white font so you can read it from across your room. It’ll tell the time, day of the week, as well as the current outdoor temperature. It also features a gray fabric-clad exterior that’s similar to the original Smart Clock and older Google Home speakers, offering a neutral aesthetic that should blend nicely into most bedrooms. Plus, it has a built-in night light and a touch-sensitive design so you can tap it to snooze alarms. For these reasons and its low price, the Smart Clock Essential got a score of 83 in our review.
For someone who prefers something with more features, the original Smart Clock is also a compelling option, made even more intriguing with this price drop. At launch, this thing was retailing for $80, but it’s now going for $34 at Walmart and $34.99 at B&H (meaning it’s a dollar cheaper at the former). For this price, you’ll be getting a 4-inch color touchscreen, which gives you extra controls like music playback tools and alarm setup from the display. It can also show you your upcoming calendar appointments or brief information about your day.
Compared to the Essential, this pricier variant also has an ambient light sensor that helps it detect when it’s dark and dim its screen accordingly so you’re not stuck with a glaring screen when you’re trying to go to sleep. It’s slightly more useful than the Essential, which explains its higher score of 87 in our review. Though both devices have microphones onboard to let you talk to the Google Assistant, they also offer switches so you can disable the mics. At these prices, these clocks make great gifts and border on stocking stuffer category.
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