Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 Review: Smart HomeKit for Beaded Cable Shutters

Cupertino, October 5, 2021

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

Opening the blinds every morning and closing them every night is hardly the most laborious task, but the possibility to control your blinds on the phone or with voice commands seems to live in the future.

Fortunately for technology fans, there are many ways to accomplish this today, and you may not need to spend that much to do so.

Aqara's Roller Shade Driver E1 is an upgrade solution that turns your existing roller blinds into smart ones. As long as your blinds are compatible, this might be the easiest and most affordable way to bring them into your smart HomeKit setup.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1 Render

Read Roller Shade Driver E1

Bottom line: Adding HomeKit smart devices to existing blinds couldn't be easier than with the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1. Although it is not the most beautiful product and does not work with all types of blinds, it is affordable and very reliable.

Good

  • HomeKit support
  • Works with existing cable blinds
  • Easy to install
  • Reliable performance
  • Physical checks

The river

  • Requires Aqara hub
  • Limited to cable blinds
  • Requires regular recharging
  • Neoriginal design, volumes

Read Roller Shade Driver E1: Price and availability

Read Roller Shade Driver E1 Press

Source: Read

Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 has just been launched, the UK being the first region in which it is available to buy. It sells for £ 59.99 and is available from Amazon.

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Aqara has confirmed that it will soon be available from Amazon France, with other European and Asian markets following suit in the coming months. There is no official launch timeline in the US yet.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1: What will you like

Read Roller Shade E1 Reviews

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

With any upgrade product or any smart home product, you generally want something easy to install and operate. Fortunately, this is true for the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1.

Get everything you need in the box, including the Roller Shade Driver itself, USB-C charging cable, mounting hardware, various gears for cables with different sized beads and an instruction manual.

Aqara gives you both screws and a 3M adhesive to attach the device to the wall. I chose to use the adhesive and, although I was a little worried about pulling the cord or the weight of the Roller Shade Driver could cause problems, it remained solid in place from the first application. Only the bottom plate is attached to the wall, which makes it easier to remove the main drive driver unit.

The manual tells you how to get the right position for the driver so that he pulls the cord with the right amount of force, so I recommend that you read this beforehand. I tested it with a few different toothed adapters to get the right size for the beaded cord of the blind and finally settled on the one that was pre-installed.

Read Roller Shade E1 Reviews

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

Once I was set up with the physical placement, I opened the Aqara app for setup. As with the other Aqara accessories, it was very easy to pair with the Aqara Hub M2, and the app guides you through the process of setting fully open and fully closed positions.

Of course, I interact primarily with the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 through the Home and Siri app, thanks to HomeKit support. I added the blind in a scene, so it opens partially at a set time each morning of the week, just before my alarm, so I get natural light and otherwise I open or close it with a shout to Siri or touching the tile in the Home app.

The device also has physical controls up and down, so you can quickly set the desired height even when your phone or Siri is out of reach. No matter how I interact with it, I found it to be responsive and reliable.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1: What you won't like

Read Roller Shade E1 Reviews

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

The main disadvantage of the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 is the aforementioned hub. If you are not yet using other Aqara equipment, you will need to head to one of its smart hubs to tie your blinds to your smart home. The Aqara product line is quite affordable, so it's not a huge investment, but if you just wanted to understand a certain blind, then it's an extra expense.

If you do not use cable blinds with beads, then you are not lucky, because it does not accept other types of blinds. The included adapters help with different sizes and placement of beads, but not if you have traction cables or blind rods.

When I first downloaded the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1, I was surprised at how big it is. Fortunately, the cable on the blind with which I configured it does not reach the window sill; otherwise, I may have had to reduce it so that there is room for the Roller Shade Driver.

Read Roller Shade E1 Reviews

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

Overall, the design is quite bulky and looks more like the non-smart electric openers on the market than anything futuristic. If your blind placement means that the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 is featured, keep that in mind.

It's also pretty cool. I used the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 in my bedroom so I could automate my morning routine, but the engine sound occasionally woke me up before natural sunlight (or my alarm), so it might not work for everyone. . It's not ridiculously loud, but you'll definitely hear it running.

Its battery is also rated for about two months of use, depending on how often you open and close the blind. Mine is currently at about 60% after a few weeks of owning it, so it looks right and means you have to regularly remove it from the motherboard to charge.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1: Competition

Soma Shades

Source: SOMA

There are several options for HomeKit smart blinds on the market, although the main competition for Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 is Smart Shades 2 from SOMA.

It is also an adaptive device for corded blinds, but sells for $ 149, which is more than twice the price of the Aqara option and also requires a SOMA Connect hub. In addition to modernization solutions, you look at smart blinds, such as the IKEA FYRTUR line or Serena Smart Shades from Lutron, both of which cost much more.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1: Should you buy it?

Aqara Roller Shade E1 Reviews

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

You should buy this if ...

  • You want to add smart HomeKit items to existing blinds
  • Your existing blinds use beaded cables
  • You want a solution that you can install yourself

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You want a smart wired blind
  • Your blinds do not have a beaded cable
  • You do not have a compatible Aqara hub

If you live in a region that offers Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 and you belong to the group of potential buyers for whom it works, there is no reason not to buy it if it meets your needs. It's an easy way to add a few smarts to your daily routine and, as a modernization solution, it costs much less than replacing all the blinds with smart alternatives.

4
of 5








On the wider market, the Roller Shade Driver E1 from Aqara is very affordable even when you consider the cost of the hub required. That being said, it's not available everywhere and doesn't support all types of blinds, so it may not work for your setup.

Read Roller Shade Driver E1 Render

Read Roller Shade Driver E1

Bottom line: It may not win beauty contests, but Roller Shade Driver E1 from Aqara is an affordable upgrade solution that brings HomeKit smarts to existing blinds. If you have compatible blinds and an Aqara hub, this is a great purchase.

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