Aqara Smart Home Starter Kit review: This muddy smart home kit has a glimmer of promise
Nana Pate

Aqara Smart Home Starter Kit review: This muddy smart home kit has a glimmer of promise

For every must-have smart home product, others will leave you
scratching your head. Smart lights and automatic door locks, for
example, are both practical and useful. A smart toilet paper holder or
duvet cover (yes, they exist), not so much. Then there's the question of
compatibility and set up — will this product or that work with your
existing system or does it mean downloading yet another smart app? These
questions and more go into deciding whether or not to purchase a new
smart home product in your home.

The Aqara Smart Home System isn't the first product to attempt to make smart home integration easier. However, it might be the first that does so without breaking the bank. Now available in the United States through Amazon, Aqara provides a smart connected solution on your terms. In doing so, it allows you to choose which smart components to add to your home, and which ones to skip.

I've had the opportunity to test Aqara in my home before its U.S.
release. For many reasons, I've concluded it's one of the best
all-in-one smart home solutions to ever arrive on the market. Still,
it's not perfect as you see below.

Jump on board

Bottom line:
If you're finally ready to jump into smart home products, Aqara offers a
great place to begin your journey. Get the starter kit and mark your
life easier.

The Good

  • HomeKit, Siri integration

  • Affordable add-ons

  • Supports Google Assistant

  • Easy setup

The Bad

  • Learning curve

  • New to market

Start small or large

What is the Aqara Smart Home System?

At the heart of the Aqara Smart Home system is a starter kit with
Zigbee integration. The kit includes an Aqara hub, along with one smart
plug, door and window sensor, motion sensor, and wireless mini switch.
You can add additional plugs and sensors at any time. These can be
purchased separately through Amazon and range in price from around $17
for the door and window sensor to $33 for the smart plug.

Aqara is a solid product recommended for anyone looking for a
low-cost smart home solution that can expand over time. From its easy
setup to high-quality design, Aqara and its many accessories can provide
protection and convenience.

Setup begins by installing the Aqara hub using the free Aqara app. The hub also has the distinction of being a smart light that you can control manually or through motion detection and the time of day using automation. The hub controls the entire Aqara Smart Home experience. Best of all, it's HomeKit-compatible for Apple device owners, which adds end-to-end encryption and authentication to the process.

Each Aqara product is wrapped separately and includes a product
manual with installation instructions. When applicable, you'll also find
an extra set of installation adhesives to use if you decide to move a
product somewhere else in your home. The adhesives are somewhat
difficult to remove and aren't reusable. Therefore, you should try to be
precise during installation.

More about the starter accessories

The Aqara accessories serve various purposes, with each being
controllable through the Aqara and HomeKit apps. The Aqara smart plug,
like similar products, lets you control non-smart devices using your
mobile device. You can also use automation to turn the plug on/off
according to a schedule. The smart plug also features energy monitoring
and overload protection.

The door and window sensor features two tiny devices that work
together to alert you when there's movement. Through automation, you can
have Aqara send you alerts or activate a local alarm through the Aqara
hub. For example, in my household, I have alerts sent each time a door
gets opened. Movements on installed windows, however, will trip the
alarm, since they're rarer.

The Aqara motion detector offers different use cases. As a security
measure, it can alert you whenever someone comes within its location.
With the built-in light sensor, you can have the detector trigger
something else. For example, you can have certain lights turn on in your
home when the sun goes down or someone enters the room.

Finally, there's the wireless mini switch, which functions as a
three-way control button and reminds me of the old Logitech Pop Smart
button. With it, you can assign different tasks that happen each time
it's touched in a certain way. One press, for example, could turn on the
lights in your bedroom, while two press could turn off the smart plug
in your home office. You can even assign a long press on the device to
do something else.

Other accessories

Aqara Smart Home: What I like

Each Aqara product comes with a "remove before use" tag. To install
new accessories, you remove this tag, then head over the Aqara app. From
there, you follow the directions to add a new product. From both a
hardware and software standpoint, the Aqara setup is a refreshingly easy
experience. During testing, I installed 10 separate Aqara products with
none of them failing. As someone who has often run into problems
installing new smart home products, this result was impressive.

Speaking of hardware, each tiny accessory is beautifully designed and
should withstand the test of time. The hub specifically looks nice with
its one body shell design, and the other Aqara accessories feel
high-quality, not cheap like other solutions on the market.

The hub and smart plug, unsurprisingly, use electric power. The
sensors each come with a replaceable battery that you should replace
every two years. This lengthy time frame between battery changes allows
Aqara to offer an install-it-and-forget-it solution, which is a big win!

Finally, I like Aqara's voice compatibility with both Apple Siri and Google Assistant. Both are seamless and work as expected. You can also integrate with Amazon Alexa, although I didn't do this during my tests. If you understand how Siri and HomeKit work, great. Otherwise, I strongly suggest taking the time to learn as it will make your smart home experience even better.

Aqara Smart Home: What I don't like

On the hardware side, there is little not to love about Aqara. On the
software side, I'm hoping to see some simplification in the future with
regards to the Aqara app. Yes, the app already does a great job of
marching you through the setup process. However, it needs to improve
everything else, especially when it comes to automation.

Companies like Google and Philips have spent a great deal of time
making it easier for end-users to create smart automation rules with the
Google Home and Philips Hue apps, respectively. Aqara should spend some
time with either or both of these apps and rethink its automation
step-by-steps. As things stand, the process could prove difficult for
some users, and make the Aqara seem less useful. Hopefully, we'll see
improvements in future app updates.

Beyond this, there's some risk in going all-in with Aqara because
it's so new to the U.S. market. Imagine buying a starter kit and
accessories for every room in your home only to see the product get
discontinued a year or two down the road. This scenario could happen,
although you can probably say the same thing about any other tech
product that arrives on the market. Still, it's something to keep in
mind. On the flip side, a company like Apple could purchase Aqara
someday and hand out starter packs with all new iPhone purchases. (Yeah,
like Apple would do something like that!)

A true winner

Aqara Smart Home

Aqara is a solid product and one that I recommend for anyone looking
for a low-cost smart home solution that can expand over time. From its
easy setup to high-quality design, Aqara and its many accessories can
provide protection and convenience for much less than other all-in-one
solutions. Before buying a starter kit, however, understand it requires
some patience once you get past the setup process in order to fully
maximize the system.

With Aqara, you begin your journey with the starter kit. Add new
devices according to your time frame. Each tiny addition is

Here are some Aqara product that you man need for your home to be smart

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Aqara Smart Motion Sensor Vibration / Shock Detection Alarm for Home Safety ( Xiaomi Ecosystem Product )



Aqara Window Door Sensor ( Xiaomi Ecosystem Product )



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