Here we are, in the first days of 2020, and what better way to start things with a new review of the newest release from Xiaomi! Today we are looking at a gateway that we first mentioned back in May 2019 and while this occurred after news about Aqara M2 Hub, it appears to have been the first “Post Posted” about the shop entrance. It’s one thing to be the first thing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the best and today I want to hope that this new virus, Covid-19 does not extends in the world!
Through an introduction to the Mi Smart Gateway, it is just an evolution of the original Mi hub, which is a pill-shaped gate, like the current Aqara hub, with the socket embedded in the interface itself. This new hub varies on many levels, and is compatible with HomeKit first and foremost. This also does not have a built-in socket and comes with no speaker and no night light. So, is that a step forward or a step backwards? Let’s take a look…
The Mi Smart Gateway packaging follows the same theme as the previous recent products, with a white box on the front of the package, icons on the side providing other features and specifications on the rear. Notice that the HomeKit logo appears on the front, which is secure for anyone who doesn’t know which devices are compatible or not; that’s it. Interestingly, the slogan “Works with Mijia” is introduced so it will only work in the Mi Home application and, if you wonder, will not work with the Aqara application.
The back of the box is also notable in that the official Zigbee logo was used for the first time (which I know of). Indeed, the logo below says it is a licensed product, and I assume they jumped in all the right circles to achieve this state. The Bluetooth logo below. This is because although it is clearly a Zigbee node, it also serves as a Bluetooth gateway and Bluetooth mesh hub, which I will join later on.
Those two features are underlined by the sides of this package, explaining that this router is both a Bluetooth Mesh Gateway and a Zigbee 3.0 gateway The other side of the box simply states that you can use the app to monitor your devices, including the hub, and also build automations.
Inside the package you’ll see the gateway itself first, along with a manual (in Chinese) that covers the HomeKit code’s first three instances. The access door has a bit of protection from a strong card, through an extra lid inside the case. The cover contains the second of three HomeKit codes, too. Under the hub is the portion holding a USB cable to the micro USB and a Type A (non-polarized) adapter with 2-pin USB.
However, the access gate is very underestimated, being only a piece of plastic in pill form 25mm/0.98in in height and 90mm/3.54in in diameter. The upper features the Mijia “shield” logo and a very small LED, while the base has the third of the three HomeKit codes.
The back and front of the gate are just as minimalist, with a single button at the front, which you can use to pair a computer manually or reset the gateway. The back has a micro-USB port to power the device, for the included USB cable. This is one aspect that varies from all previous versions in the current gateway. As I mentioned earlier, there was a built-in socket for the previous Mi gates including the current Aqara gate. This is problematic because, due to the location of the pins and the size of the unit, not only does the hub have two wall sockets, but if you have a hub with a connector different from the one in your region, then an adapter would be required as well.
Because the new gateway uses a standard USB power source, you can replace the power source supplied with one more appropriate for your area, and because it uses a micro USB cable, both sides can be easily replaced as required. The USB cable is not very long, about 850mm/33.4 in in length, but you can replace it with a longer or shorter cable if you want.
I assumed briefly, when I first opened the box and held the hub in my pocket, that I was sent a fake empty case because it was so simple (94g/3.32 oz), it felt like there could be almost nothing inside. Thankfully, once I connected and set it up my intuition was wrong. The plastic used for the smartphone is the same matte plastic you see on a lot of recent Xiaomi ecosystem products, slightly silky to the touch and resistant to fingerprints, not that you’ve had a lot of reasons to handle it. The foundation has a circular ring of rubber to keep it from slipping, if it lies on some smooth surface. All in all, the style is very elegant and understated.
What the gateway doesn’t have is a speaker and night light as all previous versions have done. Xiaomi said that many of their users did not feel the need for night light or speaker due to the feedback they received over a period of time, and so cut them down to concentrate on the hub feature of this product. I will agree with this in several ways, but given the noisy sounds of old hubs, I still find applications for both daylight and speaker, so I’m not sure this was a change at all. Hello. Nice for the firm to replace the built-in socket with a cable.
Although the new gate doesn’t have a speaker as such, it has a sort of “purple” inside, which is very solid in itself. You appear to only hear this sound when you connect a device, or when you set the gateway to play through a notification.
SETUP – HOME
Although the hub has a HomeKit code, it is suggested that you add this to Mi Home which will ask you to set up an account in the corresponding application if you haven’t already done so. If you’ve done all of this already because it’s built for the Chinese market, you’ll need to set the server to Mainland China to connect this computer to Mi Home. Simply add the access gate after you have done this by clicking on the “plus” icon in the home screen’s upper left corner. Which will take you to a big system grid that is split into categories.
- Click Home Security and select Mi Smart Home Hub from the list
- Follow the on-screen instructions, which include pressing and holding the pause button until the LED flashes yellow quickly.
- Click Next and add your wifi details – network name and password – Click Next
- The Hub will use Bluetooth to initially retrieve network information from your phone, so you must be within reasonable distance of the hub
- The device will go through a series of steps, which are indicated as a list …
- … before finally adding the device. Click Done or wait for it to go to the next page
- The following page allows you to rename the hub as you see fit
- Once called, you will have the option to add the hub to the “Home” HomeKit
- After selecting “Home”, you will need to scan the included HomeKit code
- The last page will indicate that “Additional configuration (is) required”, although in this case, it does not seem to need anything more than renaming the device at Home and making sure the hub is in the correct room because this information is not retrieved from the Mi Home app on HomeKit
- You will then see the hub added to the list of devices in Mi Home
APP HOME APPLE
When you go to the Home application, you may be shocked to see (or rather not see) that there is no way the new gate can be seen. It’s there, but unlike the Aqara system, you may already have it, as it’s just a portal, not a night light and alarm, but it really belongs only to the application’s hub segment.
- To access this area to make sure the hub has been added, click the “home” icon in the top right corner of the Home application home screen and select “Home settings …” to get the settings page.
- Select Home (most likely you have only one option), then scroll down to “Hubs and Bridges” and select it.
- Hubs and bridges will be listed separately, the hubs being Apple TV, HomePod or iPad.
- Below is your list of bridges. In my case, in the image above, you can see the third item is Mi Smart Home Hub, located in the bedroom.
HUB COMPATIBLE DEVICES
Okay, you’ve got your Mi Home and Apple Home center, but what’s next? Well, like with the Aqara platform, you’ll want to start adding some devices after all. Below are three screenshots showing the ZigBee devices are currently supported but I’ll also list them here:
Switches / buttons
- Mi wireless switch
- Aqara wall switch (with / without neutral, double tilt)
- Aqara wall switch (with / without neutral, single rocker)
- Aqara / Opple stage switch (button 2, 4, 6)
- Aqara wireless switch (double tilt)
- Aqara Wireless Remote Switch (Single Rocker)
- Aqara wireless remote control D1 (single rocker)
- Read the D1 wireless remote control (double tilt)
- Aqara Wall switch D1 (with / without neutral, double tilt)
- Aqara Wall switch D1 (with / without neutral, single rocker)
- Aqara Wall Switch D1 (with / without neutral, triple tilt)
- Motion sensor
- Window and door sensor
- Temperature and humidity sensor Mi
- Light detection sensor Mi
- Aqara motion sensor
- Window and window sensor Aqara
- Temperature and humidity sensor Aqara
- My smart smoke detector
- Aqara water leak sensor
- My smart gas detector
Smart plugs and sockets
- Smart plow I (CN)
- Read Wall Outlet (CN)
- White spectrum Ikea E14
- White spectrum Ikea GU10
- Opea with white spectrum Ikea E27
- White spectrum Ikea E27 Clear
- Warm white white Ikea E27
- Warm white white Ikea E14
- Ikea GU10 Warm white
- Aqara / Opple MX960 Ceiling Light
- Aqara / Opple MX650 Ceiling Light
- Aqara / Opple MX480 Ceiling Light
- I cube
- Read Curtain Controller
There are some placing options for devices that seem to be future Aqara light detection sensors when pressed, and Aqara USA light switches, but they don’t attach after a couple of seconds so it seems like something is working. If you would compare this list with what can be applied through the Mi Home application to the Aqara portal, there are a few omissions;
- Read Mini Switch
- Aqara vibration sensor
- Read the cube
- White adjustable bulb Aqara
- Aqara wireless relay controller
- Read Curtain Controller B1
- Read Roller Shade Controller
- Read Door Lock S2
- Read Door Lock S2 Pro
It seems that the current list of devices compatible with the Mi Smart Gateway is not as complete as for the Aqara gateway, many of these devices are actually accepted, but not officially at this time, hence their omission.
There are also a few devices listed in the Aqara application that are not officially listed as being added to the Mi Smart Gateway;
- Aqara T1 motion sensor
- Window and window sensor Aqara T1
- Aqara T1 temperature and humidity sensor
- Water leak sensor Aqara T1
- Aqara T1 light detection sensor
- Read Smart Plug (USA)
- Read Smart Plug (EU)
- Read Smart Plug T1 (CN)
- Wireless Mini Switch T1
- Aqara Spot Light (adjustable white)
- Read Spot Spot
- Aqara Down Light (adjustable white)
- Read Door Lock HL
- Aqara T1-1 constant current driver
- Aqara T1-2 Constant Current Driver
This is a fairly long list of devices that cannot be added, at least not officially, but as already said, almost all devices that can be added to the Aqara hub will now be accepted by Mi Smart Gateway. . As to whether this device is worth buying through the Aqara hub or even the future Aqara M2, it is a relevant question. We will address this a bit later, but at this point, it would seem that the Aqara hub still has an edge over this device;
Pros points Read Hub compared to Mi Smart Gateway;
- If you are looking for a system that includes a speakerphone and / or night light alarm.
- If you can get the Aqara hub model for your country, there is no need for an adapter and you are fine with two sockets locked.
- If you live in a place where all the Zigbee signals on your devices are within reach of the hub.
Pros points I Smart Gateway compared to Aqara Hub;
- Look for a hub that can be used with any USB cable and that can be used with a USB connector for your particular region.
- Prefer not to have both sockets locked.
From the information we have managed to collect so far with the hub regarding the number of devices it can manage, it seems to be locked to 32, which is the same official number of devices that the current Aqara Hub has can treat, so no real improvement there. To solve this problem, the next Aqara M2 is reported to be able to handle more than triple this quantity, with up to 100 devices. I just saw M2 again.
Both Aqara Hub and Mi Smart Gateway are compatible with many of the ZigBee devices in the Xiaomi Smart Home ecosystem, although you mentioned above, the Mi Smart Gateway is the first ZigBee device to achieve ZigBee “certified status”, so in theory, it should be more compatible with third-party ZigBee devices, which looks promising when you see a few Ikea bulbs. If you are currently trying to add an Ikea bulb either on the Mi Gen Gateway, previously on the Aqara G2 Camera hub or the current Aqara hub, you will not get anywhere. This does not mean that Mi Smart Gateway will necessarily expose the Ikea bulbs or any other ZigBee device to HomeKit, so if you do not invest only in the Mi Home look, you may be less interested.
In addition to the hub that uses Zigbee, it can also act as a hub for Bluetooth devices. Typically, if you have any Xiaomi ecosystem devices, you can connect directly to them with your phone, but with this gateway you can connect to them via wifi (via hub). While it’s a welcome addition, there are actually some Xiaomi smart devices that already have Bluetooth gateways, such as older ones Security camera Mi and Multi-sensor e.g. Where Bluetooth connectivity is likely to become more important is the functionality of the Bluetooth Mesh gateway, which essentially works the same way Zigbee does, when creating a network between devices, with devices on the network that can transmit information from a device. to another, as long as one device is within range, thus spreading the network device by device.
Adding Bluetooth devices doesn’t happen through the hub itself, instead, the Mi Home app lets you discover Bluetooth devices, instead of selecting them from a list. The Bluetooth gateway of the hub will retrieve these devices so that you can connect to them via the hub, rather than connecting directly to them, which would require you to be within the Bluetooth range of the device.
Currently, there are not many Bluetooth Mesh products available to test the appearance of Bluetooth Mesh. Currently, Yeelight has four Bluetooth mesh bulbs, which are designed to work with their future HomeKit-compatible Mesh Hub; a Light E27, an Light E14, together with a downlight and Bright spot. They should also be compatible with the Bluetooth Mesh gateway inside the Mi Smart Gateway, though we don’t have to test any of these products yet.
ADDITIONAL DEVICES TO THE HUB
Adding devices to the hub must be done through the Mi Home app, but fortunately, it’s very easy.
- Click the Hub tile in Mi Home
- On the next screen, click “Child Device”
- Click the “+” button at the bottom of the screen
- The list of compatible devices will appear. Select the desired device
- On the next screen, you must enable the device to enter Pair mode, which usually requires pressing and holding a button down
- The little LED on the hub will start flashing red.
- Once paired, the device will be displayed as added.
- The hub will output a “beep” sound – two long and one short, with the LED flashing briefly in amber, then green, before returning to blue.
- If you delete a device, the hub will ring three times to notify you that it has been deleted.
- Select the room where the device will be located, or create a new one if necessary
- Rename the device as you see fit
- You can also share your device with other Mi Home users if needed. If not, simply press “Let’s start”
Your device is now in the Mi Home application and will be automatically exposed to HomeKit
- Clicking on the tile for the new device added to Mi Home displays the user interface, which, in this case, simply shows the Lux reading together with an automation button.
- In the Home app, the device will be added automatically. You will need to change the camera to the correct location because this information is not retrieved from the Mi Home application (unless the device and hub are in the same room)
- You can check various aspects of the device. For the light sensor, I can check the light level, battery status and do more on the device settings page.
You may be wondering why, if the gateway does not have a speaker, there would be an alarm function. Well, although it does not have a speaker as such, there is a kind of built-in sound / ringtone, which is the same one that you hear “beep” when installing or removing a device, for example. It’s never as loud as the alarm on the Aqara hub, but it’s loud enough to be annoying after a few seconds.
In the Alarm section (Guard), you have the four modes that we begin to see that appear more regularly in HomeKit, with the introduction home at HomeKit, along with the recently launched Onvis Security Alarm Contact Sensor (read our review HERE). These modes; Basic, home, away and sleep, They are designed for different scenarios, allowing you to choose different sensors for different modes if you wish. For example, you may only want the door sensor as a trigger if you are at home, while you may want motion sensors in the living areas as sleep triggers (sleep mode) and maybe all sensors as triggers. when you are gone (remote mode).
The protection screen shows a type of “radar” chart, which when turned on has a rotating line as you would see on a radar screen. Below are three-way buttons, which when pressed, activate that specific alarm type. You do not see the “basic” alarm here because it is always active. It can be used for devices that must always be “turned on”, such as water, gas or smoke sensors. Below the mode buttons are panels for adding an alarm triggering device, alert log, and adding a child device.
You also have access to other alarm settings by clicking on the three dots in the upper left corner of the screen. You can customize the settings for each alarm mode, with alert tone volume, alert duration, and a countdown before an alarm is triggered. So if you want to sound an alarm within 10 seconds after a door sensor is triggered, then it can be done here.
To use these modes, you obviously need some kind of trigger device, whether it’s a door sensor or a motion sensor, etc. You cannot use the same sensor for basic mode and the other modes at the same time because of the permanently activated base mode. Although the gateway does not have a speaker, just the sound I mentioned earlier, the alarms work as expected. In “Home Mode”, if a sensor is triggered, the sound sound is tilted and not piercing, while the beep used in Sleep, Basic and Away modes is smaller, but louder. If I were to compare the sound to something else, I would say it is somewhat similar to the sound you can have on a basic electronic alarm clock. So enough to wake you up, but it is not appropriate as a true alarm that would be heard by either an intruder or neighbors. Since this hub is not an alarm in the sense that the Aqara hub is, this is not exposed to HomeKit as such, which means that you will not have access to the basic / basic disarm function in the Home application, let alone of the four complete modes.
So if it doesn’t have a loud enough speaker, what’s the alarm point? Well, not much at the moment it seems! I can only imagine that he intends to introduce a stand-alone alarm at one point, as I discovered evidence of Aqara working on something like this last summer, which would be great – if HomeKit compatible. There is the option to create an automation to trigger the alarm in another hub, such as Aqara or other Mi Gateways, so if you need an additional hub to complete an existing hub, then this works, but if & # 39; by replacing an existing Mi hub, you gain homekit functionality, but you lose the alarm and night light function. If this is your first hub, then it would really make sense to get the Aqara hub right now or wait for the Aqara M2.
IN USE / SUMMARY
I have been using Aqara hubs since they were launched in August 2018 and, despite a few issues here and there, they have generally been very reliable. The sensors that work with the hubs were also among the best sensors and switches in my HomeKit configuration, so I needed this hub to get started? Not quite, not exactly. Obviously, getting something like this, so cheap, allows me to review it for you, our readers, and this is the basis I bought. If at any point on my hubs Aqara decides to give up, then it is a more than adequate replacement, apart from the speaker and light, but also without the potential problem of using an adapter (if using the Chinese version) and blocking it. two sockets with one device. This means that there is the option to place or mount this somewhere else, other than directly in the wall socket, if you wish, with a longer USB cable.
When it comes to how well it works, it’s generally a bit hard to say, since it doesn’t do much. It’s just a pipeline for baby devices to be exposed to HomeKit. On this basis, it does the job pretty well, although at present it seems that not all devices are exposed to HomeKit right now; I tried to add one Read the double tilt switch and Four-button Aqara / Opple switch, both being on the list of compatible devices. However, when I added them, none were exposed to HomeKit, which is if they are added to the Aqara hub. This may simply be due to devices for children who need separate certification from Apple, because they are moving through a new hub, despite being certified to work with HomeKit through the Aqara hub, so I’m almost sure it’s a temporary thing. Indeed, after adding Aqara Temperature and humidity sensor, this was immediately exposed to HomeKit, so it’s not like all Aqara products are blocked as such. Other devices we added for testing purposes were Mi wireless switch, Light sensor Mi (which I will examine soon) and Motion sensor, all appearing in The Apple Home app shortly after adding them to the Mi Smart Gateway.
There seems to be only one bug, which I saw at least one other reporter coming from the hub itself. For reasons that I am not entirely sure of, Gateway will emit two long beeps, sometimes twice in a row. I initially thought this might be the result of a connected sensor, but this happened at seemingly random times, even when there are no devices connected to the hub, so I lost the reason why this is happening. In fact, even if this is just a beep, it’s quite annoying when it happens unexpectedly, so I think it’s a simple, but potentially big, problem if you have it in a bedroom, for example.
Apart from that, the device itself is easy on the eyes and very budgetary comes between 25-30 USD, depending on where you buy it and does what it intends to do. Would I recommend it if M2 is available? Probably not, based on the M2 having an Ethernet port and greater device capacity for children, but if the M2 is not delivered when it comes to Bluetooth Mesh, then the playing field between the M2 and this hub is a bit larger. Compared to the current Aqara hub, I would still recommend staying with the Aqara hub right now, unless the price is a major issue, as the US hub is currently more than double that of Amazon.
For me personally, this is not necessary and will be put back in its box and waiting to be implemented in an emergency. This does not mean that it is not good, but as a review unit, it has fulfilled its purpose for now and I can wait for it if I decide to try some Bluetooth devices in the future.