Aqara today released its latest (umpteenth…) smart home product in China, the Aqara Smart Camera E1, with an international release coming in the very near future. This is the company’s fourth HomeKit-compatible camera, following the G2H, G3, and G2H Pro. There are a few specs that set the E1 apart from the other cameras, however, foremost among them is that the E1 doesn’t contain a Zigbee 3.0 hub, which is a first for the company. The camera is currently on offer in China for RMB329 (RMB399 reg. price) which works out at roughly US$45.00, EU€43.00, or UK£37.00. It’s unlikely the camera will be this price in those regions, but even if it’s close, it’ll be the company’s cheapest camera to date.
In terms of what aspects it offers within HomeKit, you still get HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) functionality, and although HomeKit is still stuck at 1080p, the E1 offers 2K recording (1296p), as is the case with the G3. It’s also compatible with the other major platforms – Google Home, and Amazon Alexa, although there’s no mention of SmartThings, which may come when Matter finally supports cameras. Like the G3, the camera has Pan & Tilt functionality, offering 360º viewing, with 101º when the camera is static, There are also improved privacy options, which can disable both video and audio.
As with all Aqara cameras, aside from HSV, you also get onboard storage via a slot for SD cards up to 512GB (not included), with the option to use NAS storage. If you really want to keep a tab on recordings remotely, you can use Aqar’s cloud recording options, which offer free and paid options. The
Perhaps one of the other new additions to the E1 is compatibility with WiFi 6 (802.11ax), which offers higher data rates, even beyond 5GHz WiFi, although of course, you’d need a WiFi 6 router to make use of it. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a suitable WiFi 6 router, you’ll have to make do with 2.4GHz WiFi in this case.
Aqara is also making use of a feature called MagicPair, which utilises Bluetooth 5.2 (yes, we’ve still not seen the last of Bluetooth…) to automatically allow a device to be discovered within the Aqara app for pairing as well as factory resetting the unit.
We should see the E1 on sale internationally in the next month or so, at which point we’ll be providing the usual video and review.
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