Qingping Motion and light sensor with wire (review)

Cupertino, January 27, 2023

If you have been following our site and channel for a while, you are undoubtedly aware of Qingpingwhose products we have featured a few times on this website. The most recent was the Temperature and humidity sensor T, with an E-ink display and Wire, an update for their H-mode that used Bluetooth. This latest product - the Motion and light sensor T - is also an update of an older model, although the previous iteration was not compatible with HomeKit. As you may have guessed, the suffix T indicates that this is a Thread sensor. Rejoice! Read on for our thoughts.

CONTENTS

As with most decent manufacturers, the box follows the same minimalist rules; the product on the front, floating against a white background. Only the Qingping logo and the "Works with Apple Home" badge make the whole thing a little wider. Looking around on the packaging, I immediately noticed that there was no Thread logo to be seen. Since I had been sent a review model, I was told that this was probably not the final packaging, hence the missing Thread badge. But it is a Thread device, believe me!

It says on the back that wireless connectivity uses Thread and Bluetooth. Bluetooth is only used for initial setup and as a fallback option, should Thread fail.

The sensor uses not one, but two CR2450 batteries, which fortunately are already included.



In addition to the sensor, which we will look at in more detail, you get the following; a mounting ball joint, a round double-sided sticker and an instruction manual in English, German, Chinese and Japanese. The ball joint is magnetic, allowing the back of the movement to be held magnetically, while the sensor can also be easily angled and removed. It comes with an adhesive backing.

The circular sticker is designed to allow the user to attach the sensor directly to a surface without the need for the ball joint, although this means that the sensor cannot be placed at an angle.

THE SENSOR

I'm not exactly sure how to describe the shape of the sensor, except that it looks a bit like one of those bullet cameras you see on the outside of buildings I guess. Anyway, it's still not big overall and compared to the Eve Motion, the only other motion sensor currently using Thread, I'd say it's about 3-4 times smaller.

There is a HomeKit QR code on the side that answers the question of whether this uses Matter - it doesn't, at least not right now. Maybe it will get an update for Matter, but so far nothing has been officially announced.



The back of the sensor has a notch to connect to the ball joint, which is also the battery cover. The inside of the flap has a magnet that provides a magnetic connection to the wall bracket. This flap can be unscrewed with a light touch, making it easy to get into the battery compartment.



Because two coin batteries are used, they are installed via a separate battery holder that can be removed separately. This is also fairly easy to remove, with a small counterclockwise twist. On one side is a small blue tab that is actually the reset/disconnect button. This is a little harder to reach, especially if you have very short nails or the proverbial "sausage fingers," but a small screwdriver is usually sufficient.

IN HOUSE | HOMEKIT

I mentioned the name of the product at the beginning, but it's probably a good idea to repeat that this is a motion and light sensor. In Apple Home, you get access to both sensors, and both, of course, can be used in automations.



In the Eve app, as long as you have at least one permanently powered Eve Thread device (Eve Energy for example), you can view some of the details of your Thread network. In my Thread network, you can see that I have highlighted the two Qingping motion sensors I have set up, as well as the Thread details for one of those devices.

Since these are basically HomeKit over Thread devices, they currently only work with HomeKit. If they get an update to become Matter over Thread, as has recently been the case with a few Eve devices, they will work with any Matter-enabled platform, including Google, Amazon and SmartThings. However, if you are a pure Apple Home user, this is essentially more than good enough.

Also note that these are labeled as "endpoint(s)," meaning they cannot share or extend the Thread network, but only receive the signal. This is because they run on batteries. If they were in a position to be 'routers' (i.e. help spread the network and pass info between devices and a Border Router) the batteries would last weeks at best. This is why generally only mains-powered devices are set up as Thread Routers.

THE QINGPING+ APP

I do like the Qingping+ app, probably more than most other proprietary apps, although I'll be the first to admit that I don't use it all that often. My workhorse is the Home app, and that's that. Still, if you really want to track motion and light data, this is the app for you. You also don't have to create an account and still have access to pretty much everything. The app is so clear that I find it a pleasure to use, with quick view charts for both sensors and 24-hour and 30-day readings for light.



Motion detection history is also very detailed, although possibly not as nice to look at as it is just a list. I should note that since Thread and Bluetooth are about the same when it comes to the amount of data that can be sent, it may take a while to download the historical data to the app. You can also export the data as a .csv file sent via e-mail. There are not too many options you can change, but one option is to change the countdown period, which offers only five seconds before it resets, to five minutes, with the first 60 seconds offered in five-second increments and then in one-minute increments.

Although all motion sensors have a countdown or cooldown period, many sensors will be "blind" during this countdown period and will not detect motion or lack thereof during that period. With the Qingping (along with the Eve, Hue motion and a few others), the motion sensor can detect motion or no motion continuously during that period, which can be very useful in many circumstances.

So, for example, if you have your Qingping set to 45 seconds between when it detects motion and resetting to no motion, if you move in front of the motion sensor, that 45-second countdown will start again. Sensors that do not have this capability will just start the countdown until it is complete and then become active again.

SENSOR PERFORMANCE (MOTION AND LIGHT)

In my tests (which you can see in the video review) the motion sensor was pretty much the same as the Eve Motion. I did notice that the detection range was slightly smaller than I am used to, but I always found the original Aqara motion sensor to be a little too far reaching for my use, so this is not a bad thing in my opinion. I have one in the hallway and one near the door to the master bedroom and so far I have not experienced any problems, including automations not going off or a disconnect.

The light sensor, however, bothered me a bit. In the tests I ran, I compared it to the light sensor built into the Hue motion, Eva Movementand a special Mijia movement sensor using Zigbee. At low light levels, all three were similar in their measurements, but at medium and bright light, the Qingping displayed much higher measurements - almost double the measurements of the other three, which for the most part were all within the same range for all light levels. This does not necessarily mean that the Qingping gives incorrect measurements - it could actually be the following more more accurate perhaps, but if three of the four sensors match, then they are more likely to give accurate readings. This shouldn't matter in a sense, because if you're only using this particular light sensor in a room with no other light sensor, then you're just adjusting your automation to work with the levels provided by the Qingping, so it's essentially a matter of adjustment.

COMPARISONS WITH THE EVE MOTION

It seems fair to compare this to the only other device with virtually the same functions, namely a device with Thread and separate motion and light sensors. That, of course, is the Eve Motion.

  • The Eve is currently priced at $49.95, double the price of the Qingping T, so that may greatly influence some people's choice.
  • They both use Thread, but only Eve can offer a Matter update, making it more attractive to users of platforms other than Apple Home, and to those who may use more than one platform.
  • Size is a consideration, so if you're looking for small and discreet, Qingping has that on its side.
  • Both can be mounted, but Eve can only be hung from a screw or nail in a wall, while the Qingping can be stuck anywhere and also offers adjustable angles.
  • Eve has an IPX3 rating, which is not fully weatherproof, but does offer a degree of water resistance that the Qingping does not.
  • Finally, Eve has options to adjust the sensitivity of motion detection, which Qingping does not offer.

As you can see, both have their positives and negatives.

IN DAILY USE

I've had two Qingping motion sensors in my house for a while now, and initially I had two instances where one went offline. I never figured out why. I moved the motion sensor around quite a bit, so losing connection to the Thread Border Router it was initially connected to could be the reason, but now they are both in a fixed location and thankfully this hasn't been a problem since, for either of them.

Personally, I prefer the design to the Eve motion, partly because of its size and ease of mounting it at different angles. That it is Matter-compatible is low on my priority list, even though I think that is ultimately the way things should go, so in HomeKit it has performed well enough without a hint of lag normally associated with Bluetooth-based sensors. I didn't have the previous Bluetooth version of this sensor because it wasn't compatible with HomeKit, so it's hard to gauge the change, but let's face it; Bluetooth has never been up to the task when it came to fast response times, so I have no doubt it's an improvement.

I like their app, even though I don't use it too often, although it does come in handy with my Qingping Air Monitor Lite. (video HERE, review HERE)because I like to monitor both PM2.5 and CO², and using this app can be a revelation, especially with the latter. Since I haven't had this one long enough to see how good the battery life is, I can't tell you if it's good or bad, but I'm a little surprised that it uses two larger CR2450 batteries, although I'm also glad they didn't go for the CR2430, which seems to be harder to buy in stores than the CR2450.

All in all, it was fine for my use and even though the Aqara FP2 revealed the shortcomings of PIR sensors like this one, they still function well for basic tasks.

Qingping Motion & light sensor T

 

Pros

  • Uses Thread for faster response times
  • Easily adjustable mounting position
  • Easily accessible battery compartment
  • Half the cost of comparable options
  • small and discreet size

Minuses

  • Matter update not guaranteed
  • No option to adjust motion sensitivity


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