The compact Amazon Echo Show 5 and Lenovo Smart Clock aim to be the perfect bedside alarm clocks, with clear screens and great sound quality for music and radio listening. But do they rise to the occasion? Our expert lab tests reveal which one comes out on top.
Smart displays offer similar features to smart speakers, but with the addition of a screen for extra functionality. And now they’re aiming to be the modern alternative to a radio alarm clock. As such, the Lenovo Smart Clock displays the time and offers internet radio, plus much more.
The Amazon Echo Show 5 also looks ideal for the bedside, as well as for elsewhere in the home for those looking for a smaller alternative to the full-size Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen).
Read on to find out how they did in our tests. Or skip straight to the best smart speakers and smart displays.
Key specifications compared
|Amazon Echo Show 5||Lenovo Smart Clock|
|Screen size||5.5 inches||4 inches|
|Voice assistant||Alexa||Google Assistant|
|Chromecast multi-room speaker support||No||Yes|
|3.5mm output socket||Yes||No|
Amazon Echo Show 5, £80
Amazon describes the Echo Show 5 as offering ‘entertainment for every part of your day’ and ‘crisp full sound’ despite its compact design.
You can catch up on the day’s news and sports highlights, view song lyrics and album art while you listen (with an Amazon Music subscription), and watch film trailers.
Amazon also says it’s great for use in the kitchen because you can follow step-by-step recipes on the screen as you cook.
But are the screen and sound quality up to the task? See what our lab thought in our Amazon Echo Show 5 review.
Lenovo Smart Clock, £60
The Lenovo Smart Clock is designed to be the perfect pairing for your bedside, replacing the digital alarm clocks of old.
It also claims to be designed to reduce the temptation for smartphone screen-time at night and help you to unwind before sleep.
It features Google Assistant voice control. It allows you to control music and radio, and even more powerful smart home functions, such as adjusting smart lights and smart thermostats.
Could this be the perfect way to start your day? Find out in our thorough Lenovo Smart Clock review.
What about bigger smart display devices?
Screen size will be an important consideration for most. If you’re mainly interested in glancing at it from your bedside to check the time and asking it for the weather forecast, a small compact display is a great choice.
However, if you’re planning to perform more advanced functions, such as controlling smart home devices and video calling, you might benefit from a larger display.
Smart displays also vary greatly on the emphasis they put on sound quality. Which? research shows that the majority of smart display owners primarily use them for listening to music and radio, so it’s an important consideration.
Our expert listening panel check that each smart display sounds great across a wide variety of music and radio genres. For their verdicts, see our smart display reviews.
For larger smart displays, the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) and Google Nest Hub are the market leaders.
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen), £220
The Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) has a much larger screen than the Amazon Echo Show 5 – almost double the size at a full 10 inches. It also has a Zigbee smart home hub built-in, which allows you to control Zigbee-supporting smart devices such as Philips Hue lights without potentially needing separate control units.
Unlike the first-generation Amazon Echo Show, the speakers now fire out the back of the unit like a TV. Supported music streaming services include Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, TuneIn Radio, Audible for audiobooks and BBC services (these may require subscriptions).
So is this the perfect device for controlling smart home devices and listening to music and radio? Our lab experts put it to the test in our definitive Amazon Echo Show review.
Google Nest Hub, £89
Previously called the Google Home Hub, this smart display features a 7-inch screen and aims to be the perfect hub to control your smart home devices, such as Nest smart thermostats, smart doorbells and wireless security cameras, Philips Hue smart lights and many more. For more on smart home products, see our expert guide on how to set up a smart home.
It’s considerably cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen), and the sharp display has adaptive brightness to automatically adjust to the lighting conditions of the room it’s in.
So is it good to use, and is the sound quality up to scratch? Find out in our comprehensive Google Nest Hub review.