Launched in early July, the P2 Door and Window Sensor, available for $29.99 / £29.99 / €32.99, is Aqara's first sensor with native matter support that integrates directly into Matter-compatible smart third-party homes without the need for an Aqara hub for its operation. However, by pairing the sensor with Aqara's soon-to-be-released Hub M3, additional features such as a programmable button can be activated.
Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2 Features:
What's in the box (DW-S02D): Sensor main unit × 1, Sensor accessory × 1 , Flat magnet × 1, Sticker × 2, User manual × 1
Not Zigbee: To be clear, this new Aqara P2 sensor does NOT use Zigbee. Wire is used. This new sensor will connect directly to all Matter-compatible Thread Border Routers on the market and can be integrated into multiple Matter-compatible ecosystems via the additional Matter controller(s).
Can you use the Aqara door sensor with an Aqara Hub? This is the bit that caught me off guard. Currently, the Aqara P2 sensor is not supported on an Aqara hub as Aqara does not have its own Thread Border Router. The upcoming Hub M3 will be the first of their hubs to have this functionality and is expected to launch in 2024.
Thread Border Routers: Google supports Thread on multiple devices. Thread border routers are already built into Nest WiFi Pro, the second generation Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max. The Smartthings v3 hub, Apple TV 4K, Echo (fourth generation) smart speaker, Eero Pro access point, and the Nanoleaf Lines, Shapes, and Elements are just a few examples of existing Thread border routers. If you use Home Assistant as the main controller for your smart home, they have the SkyConnect USB dongle, an affordable way to add both Zigbee/Thread to your Home Assistant.
Apple HomeKit: I realize many Aqara users use Apple HomeKit, and this works well with Matter and the HomePod/Apple TV 4K are both Thread Border Routers. My partner has an iPad, so I hope to get a HomePod or Apple TV 4K in the near future so I can properly test HomeKit.
Setup with Google Nest WiFi Pro and Home Assistant SkyConnect: I was a bit slow writing this review because when I received the copy, I only had the Google Nest WiFi Pro, which supports Matter. I later used this as an excuse to buy SkyConnect, and I'm slowly switching my smart home to use Home Assistant as much as possible, using the Home Assistant OS running on an RPI4. I had trouble setting up the P2 sensor with both systems. In theory, it should be super easy. You press and hold the button on the sensor to put it into pairing mode. Your phone should automatically display the pairing dialog, or you can go to the appropriate app and add a new device. Type in the Matter code (printed along the edge of the sensor) or scan the QR code on the loose insert in the box (I lost it because I lost everything due to ADHD). Then it should pair. This didn't quite go according to plan. For some reason, I installed the sensor on my front door before pairing it. Both the Google Nest WiFi Pro and the Home Assistant SkyConnect were in my upstairs office. Home Assistant mostly refused to find it; I even bought a longer USB extension cable to reduce interference. Google Nest WiFi Pro would find it, but then couldn't set it up. I then moved both the Nest and RPI running Home Assistant to my downstairs TV room, the room next to the front door. I had better luck here, but both the Nest and Home Assistant failed when checking network connectivity or generating credentials. Then, as a last resort, I removed the sensor and moved it to the same room as the two devices. I placed it on my couch, about 10 feet from the devices, with line of sight. The Google Nest WiFi Pro worked right away. But when I tried to set it up with Home Assistant, I got to the point where it said it was adding the device in question, and it might take a minute or two, but then it fails. In the end, I tried again but placed the P2 sensor right next to the SkyConnect, and it finally added successfully. Once it paired, I was able to mount it back on the front door, and it just worked. There were no problems with the signal. So I'm not sure why it was so difficult to pair.
Google Nest WiFi Pro: If the sensor has been added to Google Home, you can view the status of the sensor, both open and closed. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Google doesn't seem to support the sensor in routines, so there's not really much you can do with it. Personally, I'm not too keen on Google Home for controlling my smart home for anything other than voice control, so this wasn't much of an issue for me.
Home Assistant: The sensor is much more useful in Home Assistant. I can view status, battery, and view log for door open/close times. I then have the option to set up automations, scenes, or scripts. A door sensor isn't much use to me, but an automation that does come in handy is that I turn on my Philips Hue lights in the hallway when someone opens the door between certain times. It's worth noting that with Home Assistant supporting Matter (in beta), you can easily integrate all the devices you've linked to the Aqara Hub M2 with Matter. This was a game changer for me as I struggled to pair Aqara sensors with SkyConnect. I had previously switched to Homey, but with the SkyConnect and the Home Assistant Matter support, I should be able to move everything to HA without any problems.
Price and alternative options: The Aqara Door and Windows Sensor P2 costs... (content continues)
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