Voice assistants are present in more and more smart devices, and today we find a good number of speakers that use their functions to support themselves and offer additional features. Although it also serves as a loudspeaker, the device we’re going to talk about today best fits the definition of ‘smart alarm clock’, although roughly it ends up being the same.
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock is the recent addition of the firm within its devices for the connected home and we have been messing with it for a few days. Although the company already offers several similar alternatives in this sector, from Xiaomi they have returned to offer us an affordable and interesting product. Below these lines we tell you our experience with this smart alarm clock, which we are sure aroused our curiosity.
Mi Smart Clock, technical sheet
Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock
Dimensions and weight
113mm x 68mm x 81.5mm (272g)
Resolution 800 x 480 pixels
Full range loudspeaker
WiFi 2,4 GHz
Android 4.4, iOS 9.0 and higher
Storage and memory
4GB of internal storage
1GB de RAM
Physical volume buttons
Microphone disconnect button
A compact and display design
The Mi Smart Speaker is the smart speaker that Xiaomi currently sells in our country. However, for some time the trend has been emerging to incorporate a screen into these devices, increasing the possibilities they offer us. Examples of them are the Google Nest Hub, or the Amazon Echo Show. With this type of device already existing, Xiaomi has also wanted to enter this sector, offering something very similar on the outside, although with nuances that differentiate this device from those mentioned.
With a compact and rounded design, the Mi Smart Clock is designed to fit into our home, although its functions will be used more if we have it located on our bedside table, being a complement that will not come even painted. Although it is a no-frills design, it is functional, and its small size allows it to be placed anywhere.
On top It has physical buttons for both the volume, and to activate or deactivate the microphone, something that is appreciated and that avoids having the microphone enabled for the Google Assistant. In this way we will not activate the assistant by mistake nor will our conversations be recorded.
Undoubtedly the most striking thing about its design is its four-inch panel, which adds some functionality. The screen specifications are quite basic, since it is only an 800 x 480 resolution IPS LCD panel where you can see information of interest.
The speakers are located on the bottom of the device, a 1.5-inch full-range system. We will go into more detail, although its sound quality is on par with the most basic smart speakers. And continuing from the bottom, the device also has a non-slip base to place on surfaces.
Supported by the Google Assistant
The start-up of the device is quite simple. To do this, the Mi Smart Clock will encourage us to use the Google Home application and thus configure all the parameters. You only need to follow the steps to connect the device to this ecosystem and be able to use it. As a warning, the device only has a 2.4 GHz band. Being a device with limited features, this will not be a problem, but we must take it into account when connecting it to our WiFi network.
As usual, when we add a device with such characteristics to Google Home, we can control a wide range of devices that are in the ecosystem of our connected home, manage the lighting in our house if we have smart lights, and basically any question related to home automation if we are creative enough.
With screen, yes, although with limitations
We will also have the option to send content to play it on the My Smart Clock. Although it may seem that we can also play videos on its panel, the truth is that it does not. And it is that the functions related to the screen are limited only to showing the different watch faces, widgets and accessing the device settings in a more visual way. This greatly limits the actions we can do on this smart alarm clock, although on the other hand, a 4-inch panel was not going to solve our lives in terms of multimedia content.
Experience at the interface level is adequate. It is easy to use, intuitive, and works through gestures, similar to a mobile device. We have the tool panel if we slide from the top, and another reserved for brightness, volume, ‘do not disturb’ mode and adjustments at the bottom. If we slide to the right we find the part of the widgets, where we can access the alarms, what is being played at that moment, or the weather app.
And since we have mentioned the brightness, it should be noted that the screen amounts to more than enough levels of brightness. In addition, I must confess that I always deactivate the automatic brightness on mobile phones, but in the case of the My Smart Clock I have left it active, a feature that is disabled by default. The reason is simple; You don’t feel like fiddling with brightness settings when you can see the time regardless of the ambient lighting. The brightness will be reduced to a minimum when we go to bed. I know I don’t reveal anything to anyone with this, but I wanted to mention it as I was worried if the light emitted from the screen was going to bother me at night. Also, when it detects that there is hardly any light in the environment, the watch face will turn monochrome.
The alarm clock also has a very useful function in case we want to leave a light on at night and we do not have any dim. And is that we can leave the screen on with one of the available tones. There are four to choose from, and it will come in handy, especially if you are one of those who wake up late in the morning to go to the toilet and do not want to turn on any lights.
Alarms with special functions
The alarms work in a similar way to those of any mobile device with Android. However, there are two little details that have been added to this smart alarm clock. The first one is its ‘Dawn Effect’, which gradually raises the light 30 minutes before the time that we have set to sound.
Another outstanding feature is the ‘Good morning’ routine, something more common if you’ve fiddled with automation issues on Android. Here you will inform us about the weather, our schedule, trips and news of the day. We can activate this option when setting an alarm, so that it always performs this task. Through Google Home we can also create somewhat more elaborate routines based on the devices we have at home, such as activating a light when we wake up, putting on music, and more.
The device also comes standard with the ‘Good evening’ feature in your tool panel. This will turn off the lights, if we have any connected to our ecosystem, and will ask us what time we want to get up the next day.
Little surprising sound, but enough
If we think about it coldly, the options offered by the panel are quite limited, being able to consider this device more like a smart speaker, and competing from you to you with the most basic range of Google and Amazon. And it is that as we have been saying previously, the device has 1.5-inch drivers, obtaining a sound that, although it is not at all from the other world, will be more than enough for the functions that we choose in said device. In this way, if what we are looking for is sound quality, it is better to avoid this class of devices.
We do not detach ourselves from the micro-USB
Regarding connectivity, the device is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0, and the power supply is connected to the current through a micro-USB cable. There are two buts here; The first is the micro-USB interface, somewhat outdated at this time, although it is not really important since this is linked to the following problem; it must always be plugged in.
The latter is not too much of a problem, since at the end of the day it is a device that we are not going to move on a regular basis. But nevertheless, having a battery would have made it easier to have the device active in the event of a blackout. In addition, it would not have been bad for those times when we use it as a timer in the kitchen, in order to facilitate its transport.
My Smart Clock, the opinion of Engadget
In short, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Clock is a smart speaker recommended for basic use. It is compatible with the Google Assistant, and its intuitive interface will make it easy for almost anyone to use. Its compact and rounded design may appeal to many, although do not be fooled by its panel, since although it can display useful information, its functions are somewhat limited.
The device really does the job, and it’s a nice addition to our Google Home ecosystem. The firm already had the Mi Smart Speaker as a smart speaker, but it is appreciated that from Xiaomi they continue in this line with a concept somewhat different from what has been seen. If you were about to throw away that alarm clock from years ago on your bedside table, the Mi Smart Clock may be a good companion for your room, a little push to enter the world of home automation and smart devices.
The device has been released for testing by Xiaomi. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.