Review of Aqara T1 for HomeKit

Cupertino, August 15, 2023
Matter remains the theme of 2023 as several smart home manufacturers continue to release supported products. Aqara has long been one of my go-to smart home suppliers if you want an inexpensive item that supports the latest technology. A good example of the level of product that Aqara produces is the new U100 door lock that supports Home Key. It is such a fantastic product at a low cost. Today they deliver the new Aqara T1 light strip which has quickly become one of my favorite light strip products on the market.
HomeKit Weekly is a series that focuses on smart home accessories, home automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework. Unpacking and setting up Aqara's packs has really improved over the last few years. Once you open the box, the light will be under the first piece of cardboard. It is preloaded on a wheel. Below that is the user manual and below that the power cord and plug. The plug includes support for US and UK plugs. I had some trouble initially attaching the plug to the wall adapter, but eventually got it snapped in place.
About the only thing I don't like about the light is the need for an Aqara Hub. Many of the comic's custom features require the Aqara app, which is fine, but I'd like to see more products support Matter onboarding directly on the device. That said, if you don't already own an Aqara Hub, I highly recommend the M2 hub over the others. While it's not the cheapest hub Aqara offers, it does offer the most features.
Key features of the Aqara T1 light strip
The Zigbee based LED strip T1 is compatible with Matter, HomeKit (including Apple's Adaptive Lighting), Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT. The T1 incorporates RGB CCT technology so that it can not only display up to 16 million vibrant colours, but can also be used as a tunable white accent light. Each of the 10 segments of the 2 meter T1 strip can be individually configured and can have different colours, dimming and effects for each segment.
One of my favorite parts about strips like these is that they are extendable to 33 feet, cuttable (into 20cm/7.9″ segments), and reattachable, making them great temporary lighting projects. They are also one of the few light strips with an IP44, so you can use them in certain outdoor situations. One thing to note is that T1 strip RGBIC effects can only be configured in the Aqara app. To use these effects with HomeKit, you must first create a scene on Aqara Home and then display it from the app on other platforms. However, this feature will not work if you use Matter onboarding. Aqara plans to introduce a new feature in the Aqara Home app in the coming months that will allow users to sync the Aqara Home scenes with HomeKit and trigger those scenes through HomeKit automations. Can't wait to try this feature out in person.
Overall, it's a great product. It's an inexpensive addition to brighten up a room with HomeKit, and I love that it's IP44 rated so you can easily use it on a covered porch to add some lighting effects at night. The Aqara T1 Light can be purchased from Amazon. Use code USCASTRIP to save 10%. FTC: We use auto affiliate links that generate revenue. More.

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