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Xiaomi Mi Light Sensor review

Xiaomi Mi Light Sensor review

When the new My Smart Gate was launched in China in mid-December and was followed by Light Sensor Mi, first spotted & #39; in the wild & #39; when beta testers for My Smart Gateway, supplied with the above-mentioned sensor, began posting images of the devices on Chinese social media platforms, such as Weibo. The new portal as well as the sensor quickly made their way to sites like GearBest, AliExpress and Banggood, eventually making them available to the wider world. So, we’re going to take a look at this system today, armed with this new sensor, and try to figure out if it’s decent and whether we can really find it useful!

PACKING

Since this is actually a rather small device, the packaging for it is just as diminutive. So much so that it even comes with a support at the top, so that it can be “hung” on display shelves when needed. There is nothing that stands out from previous Mi or Aqara products when it comes to aesthetics, so you simply get the front-on illustrated device in the front of the box, with the Mijia logo, an ambient light icon with text (in simplified Chinese) that says “Intensity of perceived ambient light”. There are also several texts at the bottom that translate “Xiaomi Mijia Light Sensor” along with three features – Adaptive range, smart link and IPX3. We will return to “IPX3 & # 39; in a pinch, but it means there is a certain level of water protection.

The back of the box has, as standard, a few basic specifications, along with the legal jargon. It also bears the logo “works with Mijia” and for the first time for a smart “baby device” Mi or Aqara, Zigbee certified product badge. The packaging for the Mi smart Gateway also came with this, which I mentioned in the document gateway review, seems to indicate that this device is capable of officially working with others Zigbee 3.0 devices, besides the gateway accompanies. This is, in fact, a Zigbee 3.0 device, which stands out from the current batch of sensors currently available from Aqara or Mijia. There is also some small print at the bottom which translates to “This product should be used with Zigbee 3.0 devices that can be connected to the gateway”, which is interesting because it does not specifically specify Mi smart Gateway.

In terms of specifications, these are pretty standard for a Mijia or Aqara baby device;

  • Model: GZCGQ01LM
  • Battery: CR2450
  • working temperature: -10 ~ 50ºC / 14 ~ 122ºF
  • Wireless connection: Zigbee 3.0
  • Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 12mm / 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.47in

Outside the box, the sensor has a reasonable amount of protection, being held in place by a cardboard holder. In addition to the senor, you get a small manual (in Chinese) and a double-sided circular sticker.

Sensors

The front of the device is translucent plastic, which hides the ambient light sensor. It also covers a small blue LED that you really only see when you initially pair the device. If you are familiar with the Mijia or Aqara versions of the motion sensor, you will notice that the translucent plastic that protects the sensor is quite full. The front of the light sensor is quite stiff and therefore more durable. The back of the device is provided with a rotating back cover that holds the CR2450 battery in place. With the lid removed, you will have access to the battery compartment, which also reveals two small magnets. Because this has magnets, you can mount it on any suitable magnetic surface, such as the door of your refrigerator, for example. If you do not have a magnetic surface where you want to place it, you can still use the supplied double-sided circular sticker. The magnets are not that powerful, to be honest, and if you’ve experienced the powerful magnets of the Hue Dimmer Switch or rather the incredibly powerful magnet used for the Hue Motion sensor, it will be a bit of a surprise. . However, it is enough to prevent it from falling, although I feel it could be hit lightly on the floor by inattention, which is why it is just as good that the front of the device is even more durable. Alternatively, because it has a flat base, you can simply leave it on any horizontal surface. The only other functional part of the device is the reset / pair button at the top.

In the specifications listed above, it mentions an IPX3 rating. If you are not at all familiar with IP ratings, they refer to how well a device is both water and dust resistant, with IP being an acronym for Entry protection. An IP code usually has IP, followed by two digits, of which the first digit refers to a level of entry protection against solid particles, which may include dust. The second figure refers to the inlet protection against liquids. Because this sensor has an IPX3, X rating, in this case, there is no specific data on solid particle protection. “3” protects against “splashing water”, defined as;

“Water entering the spray at an angle of up to 60 ° from the vertical has no harmful effect, using either: a) an oscillating device or b) a spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield. Test a) is performed for 5 minutes, then repeated with the sample rotated horizontally by 90 ° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is performed (with the shield in position) for a minimum of 5 minutes. “

From here, you can consider that it is not completely waterproof, but can withstand a certain level of “spray” for at least five minutes. While the battery cover may be tight enough to withstand water for a certain period of time, the weakest point would be the button on the top of the device. This is the case, if you choose to place this place where at least one water can reach the device, it may be best to place it with the combination button on the base.

ADD TO HOME | READ HOME | HOMEKIT

* While this is compatible with Mi Smart Gateway, many readers here will use the Aqara hub, so the focus will be on adding this to the Aqara hub. no more.

Some, if not all, resellers for this device claim that it will work only with I Smart Gateway via My Home app. Although it is true that it works with both the gateway and the application, it can actually work with the current one. Read hub. In addition, because Mi Smart Gateway can be added to the Mi Home application only when set to The Chinese mainland serverif you do not use this particular server in the application, you will be a little blocked. Even if your Aqara hub is set on the Chinese server, this device is not listed in the Mi Home application as being compatible with the Aqara hub. Fortunately, there is a simple way to add it to the Aqara hub, even if you have it in Mi Home or Aqara applications, with a few conditions.

My Home

  • If you have Mi Smart Gateway you can add the sensor and it will appear in both the Mi Home application and be exposed to HomeKit, which appears in the Apple Home application. The process is like adding any other device to the Mi Home application.
  • If you have the Aqara hub in Mi Home, you cannot officially add it because it is not included in the list of compatible devices, and if you add it from the main menu, it will show that neither the Aqara or Aqara G2 Hub Camera hub is compatible ( (see pictures above)
  • You can unofficially add the device to your Aqara hub in Mi Home by clicking the hub button three times, where it will be displayed “Ready to connect to your child’s devices”.
  • This will add the sensor to the Aqara hub and be exposed to HomeKit and the Home application. However, it will not appear in the list of child devices connected to your hub in the Mi Home application, nor will it appear as a device in the list of devices. Also, it will not be available when creating automations, which was the case with devices incompatible in Mi Home. This means that you will not be able to update the firmware if and when it is issued, so this is not a solution I recommend, even if you intend to use it only with HomeKit.

Aqara Home

  • If, like me, you use the Aqara Home app (instead of or just as well, the Mi Home app), then using the Aqara app is a much better proposition, even if this device is not a device listed in the Aqara Home App.
  • Adding to the Aqara Hub simply requires the same manual way of adding the sensor;
    • Press the button on the hub three times
    • Wait for the voice prompt in the hub – “Ready to connect to your child’s devices”.
    • Press and hold the pause button on the sensor until the blue LED flashes three times, then release
    • The Aqara Hub will confirm your successful connection

Regardless of whether you are logged in to Aqara or not (HomeKit Mode), you can still add this device and it will appear as a device in the Aqara Home app once added. It will also be exposed to HomeKit and the Home app as normal. To access easy-to-read data or create automation in the Aqara app, you will still need to be logged in to the app. Once you’re logged in, you can simply tap on the sensor icon, and a window will drop in half, displaying a daily or weekly format for easy reading. this window can be completely dragged down to fill the screen.

As for Aqara automation, you have four basic options;

  • The lighting reaches up to …
  • The light drops to …
  • The lighting above …
  • Lighting under …

You can set the level of luxury at which the relevant automation should be triggered. For example;

  • IF Lighting below 50Lx, SUPPORT Turn on the night light of the Aqara hub

Apple Home

As already mentioned, this device is HomeKit compatible, so no matter how you decide to add it, it will appear in the Home app as well as in third party applications such as Eve for HomeKit, e.g. In the Home application, the device is represented with only one tile and one service, as expected. The board will show the current Lux reading, and this reading is also displayed on the first splash screen, after long pressing on the tile to access the settings. Regarding the settings themselves, you will notice that there is no option to add it to a scene as such and you cannot use it in any Home automation, as light readings are not yet supported in this application. However, they are supported in third-party applications and, as you can see above, can use light readings from the sensor as a trigger for automation in the Eve application.

AUTOMATION
It should be noted that since this works only in light readings, when it comes to automation, it can be seen as a bit limiting. Indeed, sensor readings are updated only every few seconds, which, while excellent, is not ideal if you are looking for the type of fast reactions associated with a motion sensor, for example. It is also a fact that Aqara motion sensor it also has a built-in light sensor, so you might think there is little point in this light sensor. While the light sensor inside the Aqara motion sensor can to be used in automation, you are limited to one option – “Motion detected and interior brightness is poor” So not exactly very customizable. Combining the light sensor with a motion sensor is a much better proposition, as not only is there more automation space that involves light readings, but the Mi Light sensor is much more accurate, being able to report different readings just 2LX. The light sensor can also examine the light from 0-83000 lux. Impressive.

OTHER LIGHT SENSORS
This is not the first device that uses a light sensor by any means and there are plenty of quite capable devices that include a light sensor, but none of them are dedicated to the single task of light measurement. As for the competition, I solved this on a main device in my house – Philips Hue motion sensor. Hue is about three times the cost of the Mi sensor, but then it has three times the services – light, movement, temperature – each exposed to HomeKit. It is also part of the Hue family and uses Zigbee just like the Mi light sensor, which means it’s fast. That being said, light readings only change every five minutes, unless motion is detected, so if you’re looking for regular, non-motion-based light readings, then the Light Sensor is an option for me. Hi. Indeed, if you do not need motion and temperature sensors, then the bill really fits well. We found that the light readings from both sensors would be impressive close to 1 or 2 lux from each other when different. With any device, you depend on the relevant hub, so it depends on what you have (if you have both, the better).

SUMMARIZING
It is difficult to understand if this would be useful to many people, as we all have such varied needs, but if you really dig deep and work on automations that have to use the brightness of ambient light around them or in a given room , then I think this is ideal for this purpose. If I wanted the extra functionality of a temperature and motion sensor thrown in the bargain, then I might well suggest the Hue Motion sensor (assuming you already have the Hue Bridge), though a combination of the Aqara temperature and humidity sensor, Aqara Motion sensor and sensor Mi Light would probably just be a little more expensive than the Hue, but with the addition of the moisture sensor thrown into the mix (as well as the air pressure – which is unfortunately not exposed to HomeKit). On balance, I think I would probably go with Hue, because it combines three sensors into one package, reducing both the number of devices you need to maintain, and the option of making light and motion sensors work. in tandem in the Hue app if you like. However, it is a good device and, being so small, with different mounting options, it did not go unnoticed. Bottom line – if you just need a light sensor, go for it. It’s so cheap that it really doesn’t matter much if you can’t immediately find a use case for it, because I know that in the end …

Xiaomi Mi Light Sensor review

Light sensor Mi

 

Pros

  • Unique functionality
  • Small and discreet
  • Low price
  • Works with Aqara Hub

Versus

  • A single function, unlike other devices
  • It just works completely with the Aqara hub in the Aqara application