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The Lenovo Smart Clock fails as any sort of cord-cutting display

To be fair, it's not billed as a way to watch streaming video. But it does have a screen. And screens are meant to be watched

On its face, there's nothing inherently wrong with the Lenovo Smart Clock . It's a perfectly good clock. It's a perfectly good Google Assistant device. And it does those two things together quite well.

But you can't help but get the feeling that this $80 alarm clock should be able to do more. After all, it's got a 4-inch display. It's got all the smarts Google can fit into a tiny little device — and that's a lot. It's got all the microphones and speakers and everything else you'd expect in something like this in 2019.

But the Lenovo Smart Clock is, first and foremost, a clock. Don't buy this with the expectation that it'll be an inexpensive way to watch YouTube on a nightstand, because it can't. You can't watch YouTube TV. You can't use Chromecast to feed it some other live stream.

To beat that horse just a little more — it's a smart clock. Period.

And on the other hand, perhaps that's fine. Phones are larger than 4 inches these days. Just use it instead, right? Or get a better option like the Nest Hub . (Formerly known as the Google Home Hub.) Or take a look at the upcoming Amazon Echo Show 5, which is going to be very interesting at just $90 and will do a lot more than the Lenovo Smart Clock.

The one bit of video I've managed to eke out of the Smart Clock comes from my Nest cameras and Nest Hello doorbell . And it's fine for that, I guess, if a little small.

And maybe this is just a larger existentital question. Does a product have to do as much as possible, even if it's not really meant to? Can a clock just be a clock?

Or does everything have to max out its possibilities, never mind that it's not necessarily the right tool for the right job.