While we have seen the signs of an imminent North American launch for Aqara’s HomeKit enabled products for quite a while, it looks like today is finally the day. Spotted on the r/HomeKit subreddit, 7 of the company’s devices have appeared on Amazon, and are currently in stock and ready to ship, with Prime shipping as an option. This is a huge boon for HomeKit, as Aqara is providing a range of devices that are priced at some of the lowest that we have seen in the HomeKit realm. Of course there are some things that you will need to know before you go racing to pick up some of Aqara’s devices…
First and foremost, the Aqara hub is required to use any of the company’s products with Apple’s HomeKit platform. The hub communicates to other accessories in the line using ZigBee, and they must be added to the Aqara Home App before they will display in the native iOS Home App. So to get started with the line, a $60 investment will need to be made. Another facet to consider is the reports of not so great experiences with setting up Aqara’s devices, with users having to resort to changing the server that they connect to China for certain devices and firmware updates to be seen and applied, and devices suddenly vanishing from their network. Now, these experiences could be chalked up to the fact that the company had no “officially” launched in North America, or other countries, prior to today, but it is still something to be aware of.
The line up of Aqara’s HomeKit compatible products include:
Aqara Hub, $60.99: The brains of the Aqara product line, which communicates to your home network via Wi-Fi, and to its accessory devices using ZigBee (up to 32 total). The Hub is unique in that it has a built in night light, as well as a siren/alarm. Unfortunately, while the alarm does show up in HomeKit, it cannot be triggered by sensors, such as motion or contact sensors that are not made by Aqara. However, you can arm and disarm the alarm via the Home App.
Aqara Door & Window Sensor, $17.99: Aqara’s take on the standard contact sensor is pretty much the same as the existing ones on the market. However, the company does claim that battery life can last up to 2 years, which makes it somewhat of a set it and forget it type of device. The sensor can be used to create an audio/visual alarm if opened in conjunction with the Aqara Hub.
Aqara Water Leak Sensor, $19.99: One of the more compelling devices released by Aqara is their water leak sensor, which is just the 2nd known HomeKit compatible water sensor on the market. Aqara’s price is $50 less than its competitor from Fibaro, and promises the same 2 year battery life as with their contact sensors. The sensor can be used to create an audio/visual alarm if opened in conjunction with the Aqara Hub
Aqara Temperature & Humidity Sensor, $17.99: Pretty standard fare when it comes to wireless sensors, but Aqara’s compact device also claims to detect Air Pressure changes in addition to temperature and humidity. The sensor has the same 2-year battery life, and can be used to create an audio/visual alarm if opened in conjunction with the Aqara Hub
Aqara Motion Sensor, $19.99: The unique design of the Aqara motion sensor provides coverage of up to 22 foot, and has a 170 degree viewing angle. The motion sensor also has a built in light sensor as well, and promises up to 2 year battery life, and integration with the Aqara Hub.
Aqara Mini Switch (Button), $16.99: The Mini Switch is a button that allows you to trigger various scenes or device actions, and does so with 3 button press combinations (single, double, and long press). The button works in conjunction with the Aqara Hub to provide features such as the ability to be used as a door bell, with audio feedback coming from the hub, as well as a panic button. 2 year battery life is also promised for this device.
Aqara Smart Plug, $23.99: The company’s Smart Plug is your standard on/off outlet for the various devices around your home. The plug support energy monitoring through Aqara’s Smart Home App, and features the ability to have it included in automations and scenes. The outlet is rated up to 15 amps, which is enough to power air conditioners and heaters.
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