Reviewing the performance, specifications, and cost of the Aqara G4 Video Doorbell

Cupertino, September 14, 2023

The all-new Aqara G4 video doorbell is unique in a crowded market due to its affordable price and support for HomeKit Secure Video. It stands out as the only battery-powered model that offers this feature.

Aqara G4 is a smart video doorbell that competes with other companies in the market, such as Ring, Belkin Wemo, Logitech Circle View, Netatmo, and Arlo. It aims to become the top choice for Apple users.

When choosing a video doorbell, you can opt for a wired or battery-powered model. Each has its own considerations. For those living in apartments or rental properties, a wired doorbell may not be feasible. New constructions may lack pre-installed wiring. On the other hand, a battery-powered doorbell requires battery replacement or charging, which can be tedious and increase the overall cost.

Within HomeKit, some doorbells support HomeKit but not HomeKit Secure Video. The former appears in the Home app, interacts with HomePods, can trigger automations, and appears on Apple TV. The latter offers extensive video recording support in iCloud. However, HomeKit Secure Video is known to drain batteries quickly, so devices that support it usually require a wired power connection. The Aqara doorbell solves this problem by using a separate hub. The hub remains connected to power and constantly communicates with HomeKit, while the doorbell itself only activates when necessary.

The installation process for the Aqara G4 is similar to other video doorbells. It involves determining the location, marking screw holes, pre-drilling holes, and securing the base plate to the outside wall. The doorbell can be powered by either six AA batteries or by hardwiring it. The battery-powered installation is convenient for locations without pre-wired doorbells. The Aqara G4 has a slightly larger size compared to other doorbells, with a large sensor on the top and a recognizable button on the bottom. It also features a subtle light around the button for easy visibility at night.

The Aqara G4 doorbell requires a hub for its operation. The hub connects via USB-C and contains a MicroSD card for local video storage. The hub serves as the power source, ensuring continuous connectivity to HomeKit. It also doubles as the doorbell chime.

The Aqara G4 supports Apple HomeKit Secure Video, allowing users to securely store video recordings in iCloud without the need for a third-party subscription. Different iCloud+ plans offer various storage capacities for cameras in the home. Users can configure multiple recording options for different scenarios, such as when they are at home or away. However, Apple does not currently allow triggering scenes based on motion categories, which can be a limitation.

The Aqara G4 offers additional features and configuration options through the Aqara app. Users can set recording options for the local SD card, adjust power frequency, enable or disable lens correction, and utilize the privacy occlusion mode to black out parts of the camera image.

Overall, the Aqara G4 video doorbell is a great choice for Apple users. It offers battery-powered convenience, advanced configuration options, and support for HomeKit Secure Video. However, it may overheat in direct sunlight, has a wide field of view that may miss packages in front of the door, and may have some compatibility issues between the Aqara app and the Home app.

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