Aqara makes a range of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices for many regions around the world. This review looks at four of Aqara’s latest products, including the temperature and humidity sensor and the new Hub Hub M2, as well as the H1 wireless remote switch and H1 Smart Wall Switch, which launches today.
With these new accessories, we were able to add to the HomeKit setup we created with some of the Aqara devices earlier this year and tested the company’s new additions to the smart home.
While Aqara has its own app for controlling and configuring accessories, you can fully control, automate, and manage them through the Apple Home app.
Aqara Hub M2 serves as a smart control center for a wide range of Aqara sensors, controllers and other children’s devices using the Zigbee 3.0 protocol, which can connect up to 128 devices.
In terms of design, Hub M2 features glossy black plastic on the side and matte black plastic on the top. The overall look is thin and almost as good as for a smart home hub, although the matte top surface seemed to have attracted some smears from the box. The bottom of the device has a thick rubber base to keep it quiet on the surfaces and a convenient sticker for associating the code HomeKit.
The back of the M2 hub offers an RJ45 Ethernet port, a micro-USB power port and a standard USB port. Although it comes with a micro-USB cable that is about a meter long, it would be easy to connect a longer cable if necessary. I was disappointed that M2 didn’t come with a power adapter, which means I had to find another USB power adapter to use. Aqara also says that it is possible to power Hub M2 from a 5V power bank.
The M2 hub allows users to choose whether they would like to use the RJ45 Ethernet port, which Aqara says provides additional stability and faster response times, or a Wi-Fi connection if the hub is not located next to an available Ethernet port.
The M2 hub integrates seamlessly with the Home application, initiated by a simple scan of the HomeKit code on the base. The initial pairing process was quick and any subsequent device associated with Hub M2 automatically appears in the Apple Home app for minimal hassle.
The M2 hub also supports all four native HomeKit alarm modes and has a surprisingly powerful built-in speaker. The speaker is not particularly clear, but its quality is suitable for short alerts and can easily project into a large room. Like other Aqara hubs, Hub M2 uses its speaker to talk you through the setup process and pair other accessories, but it can also be used to provide alerts through automation.
In addition, there are a number of features that cannot be used directly through the Home app because Apple does not yet support them, such as the built-in IR transmitter Hub M2, which can control existing IR home appliances, such as TVs. However, you can use the IR Hub transmitter M2 through Apple shortcuts, which triggers an action in the Aqara application.
H1 double toggle switches
Aqara today launches two new smart dual toggle switches for the European market, Smart Wall Switch H1 and Wireless Remote Switch H1. The switches support round European wall boxes and 86 mm square wall boxes.
The Smart Wall Switch H1 is installed instead of a standard wall switch and can be used to make light switches, ceiling fans and more, part of the smart home setup. It has a sturdy metal plate and comes with screws for installation. Smart Wall Switch H1 also offers overheat protection, overload protection and power monitoring.
We thought the installation instructions for Smart Wall Switch H1 could have been better, but most users will still have the assistance of a qualified electrician.
The H1 wireless remote switch shares the design of the Smart Wall Switch H1, but does not need to be plugged into a wall outlet to operate. Instead of wired terminals, the back of the switch is flat and has two rubber bars to help grip on a surface and there is an adhesive pad included in the box to stick the switch to a wall. Aqara also suggests that it is possible to drill through the back of the plastic housing of the switch to screw it directly into a wall, if desired.
Removing the back of the unit to replace the battery was very difficult, even with a flat-blade screwdriver, but users will not have to do this very often, as the H1 wireless remote switch has a long battery life. for five years.
The switches have a satin plastic finish and are very heavy and tactile. There is a small blue LED at the bottom of each flashing scale to confirm a click. The overall design is slim and unobtrusive, which is ideal for a switch.
Both H1 switches are connected using the latest Zigbee 3.0 protocol and are paired simply by holding down one of the rockers until it is detected by the Aqara hub.
You can configure the actions or scenes initiated by the H1 toggle switches in the Home application, or you can use the Aqara application if you want to map complex actions, such as long or double taps. An H1 smart wall switch and an H1 wireless remote switch can also be used in tandem to update an existing two-way configuration.
Personally, I preferred the versatility of the H1 wireless remote switch, but if you’re looking for a permanent smart replacement for a wall light switch, the H1 smart wall switch is an ideal solution.
Temperature and humidity sensor
The Aqara temperature and humidity sensor is incredibly compact and light, with the same minimalist design as many other Aqara accessories, making it easy to hide discreetly.
By pressing the small button at the top of the sensor, the blue LED flashes and pairs almost instantly with the Aqara hub and appears in the Home application.
The Home app can display the temperature and humidity in the sensor and seemed to update without delay throughout the day. The sensor can also detect air quality, but the Home application does not yet accept this data. Using multiple sensors will show an average temperature in the Home app.
As with other Aqara accessories, the company continues to set high standards of design, easy pairing and reliability. Aqara’s support for omeHomeKit and its focus on seamless integration into the Home app continues to surpass many other smart home brands, but the company clearly recognizes the importance of fast association and good network feedback.
It’s a shame that the Apple Home app doesn’t yet support some Aqara features, such as air quality or IR control, but it’s good to know that the accessories themselves are valid for the future, if support is added in the future.
The M2 hub is the most fully functional smart hub I’ve used and seems to be a must-have for any user with multiple Aqara accessories, even if it’s slightly expensive compared to competitors at $ 57.99. The H1 multifunction rockers are ideal for upgrading manual wall switches to a smart configuration, and the $ 19.99 USD temperature and humidity sensor is affordable and reliable.
How to buy
Aqara’s full range of qHomeKit accessories is available in the US via Amazon.
Smart Wall Switch H1 and Wireless Remote Switch H1 are not available in the United States because they are designed for the UK and EU market. For customers in these regions, Aqara devices are available through third-party resellers.
Note: Aqara is provided MacRumors with a wireless remote switch H1, smart wall switch H1, temperature and humidity sensor and hub M2 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.