When you heard about Xiaomi, you may think of Xiaomi smart phone. However, Aqara, the smart home company under the Xiaomi umbrella (Mijia, Yeelight and of course Aqara) has been making waves with its cheap HomeKit enabled devices. So continue to read this Aqara Motion sensor review to see how it fairs in the tests.
You may not have heard of Aqara and if you have not, then do not write them off just yet. Over the last couple of months I have been extensively testing several of Aqara’s devices and comparing them to some leading brands in the smart home space. Continue reading to find out the good and the bad of the Aqara Motion Sensor.
Aqara is going with the plain and simple box, you can see the front of the box literally just has the Aqara logo on the front, without any hint of what the package contains – no images, no text, nothing. While most won’t notice details of a box, it’s nice to see and appreciate when a company puts time and effort into the packaging.
Inside the box you will notice an Aqara motion sensor, an adjustable stand, welcome card, double sided sticky pads and a manual.
- Price: RM48 (Plus cost of Aqara Hub RM159)
- Battery: CR2450 (expected 2 years life)
- Wireless Protocol: Zigbee
- Smart Home platforms: HomeKit
- Dimensions: 30 × 30 × 33 mm (1.18 × 1.18 × 1.30 in.)
- Maximum Detection Distance: 7 meters
- Maximum Detection Angle: 170°
- Operating Temperature: Between 10° and +45° C
- Operating Humidity: 0 and 95% RH
- What’s in the Box: Motion Sensor, 1 Stand, double sided Stickers and Quick Start Guide.
- App: Apple Home app (iOS 10.3 or later), Aqara Home app
Aqara motion sensor is cylindrical in design and comes in a white color. You can see the word Aqara in grey from the top. Half of its shape taken up with the PIR sensor, which gives it an almost astronaut’s helmet quality. Above the sensor is a small rounded oblong that contains the ambient light sensor. On the side of the device has a small button, which is used to set up the sensor or reset purposes.
If you turn the base of the sensor, you then get access to the battery compartment, which is a CR2450 battery. It has a rubberized circle on the base which allows you to use the Aqara Motion sensor without using the stand. However, if you want to mount to a wall or ceiling, then it’s best to use the adjustable stand to get the right angle.
As a Zigbee device, Aqara motion sensor need a Aqara hub to make it work, and this is regardless if you plan to use with HomeKit or not.
To add the device, you click on the ‘plus’ sign in the top left corner, select the appropriate device, select your hub (in case you have more than one), and then follow the onscreen instructions for pairing the device to the hub. As soon as it has added your device, the Aqara hub will let you know along with the on-screen message. It will then give you the option to rename the device and which room you would plan to use the motion sensor. The room list will reflect what you have set up in HomeKit.
In the Aqara app you have options for a combination of motion and light measurements, along with motion detection reset times, which would seem to suggest that you can change the reset time for detecting motion on a case-by-case basis, which is great for custom sensor motion detection scenarios
While the setup was a breeze, but how did it perform when used for real? Well, as most of the Zigbee devices been know that are faster than Bluetooth versions and the Aqara motion sensor is no different. Testing it side by side with the Philips Hue Hue Motion Sensor, I found the speed is considerable, and pretty reliable too.
However Aqara does not expose the ambient light sensor to HomeKit, so you will get no light level readings via the Home App.
The long and short of this review, the Aqara Motion Sensor is cheap, reliable and fast. The performance has been excellent during my testing period. If you already have the Aqara hub, this is a really cheap and worthy addition to your HomeKit home, which in my case was a quarter of the price of the Hue Motion sensor.