Budget smart home gadget manufacturer Aqara is at CES, where it announced a new LED light strip, presence detection sensor, video doorbell, and smart door lock. Besides being affordably priced, several of these products are compatible with Apple HomeKit and will also support Matter further down the line.
First up is the Aqara Video Doorbell G4. It’s the first battery-powered video doorbell to work with Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video in the US and comes with a separate USB-C powered Chime that doubles as a Wi-Fi extender. The G4 supports wired power like its competitors, the Belkin Wemo Video Doorbell and the Logitech Circle View Doorbell.
However, while Belkin and Logitech’s offerings only work with the Apple Home ecosystem, the G4 also supports local streaming to Amazon and Google smart displays, and the company claims it will also work with Matter when the new smart home standard is expanded to support cameras.
The Video Doorbell G4 can also run on six AA batteries, allowing for more options for installation. The device has expandable local storage for video footage via a microSD card on the included Chime / Wi-Fi extender alongside seven days of free cloud storage. The G4 features a 1080p resolution camera with infrared night vision, and AI-enabled facial recognition can be set up to trigger different smart home actions depending on the person detected. This is all done locally on the Chime device, not processed in the cloud.
Pricing is subject to change, but Aqara says that the Video Doorbell G4 will retail for around $120 and will be available to buy sometime in February 2023.
The Smart Lock U100 is Aqara’s first deadbolt-style smart lock, one of just a few smart locks compatible with Apple’s Home Key feature, which puts your key into your Apple Wallet so you can open your door by just tapping your iPhone or Apple Watch to it. The Schlage Encode Plus and Level Lock are two of the other options, but they are expensive and often hard to find in stock. Other access authentication options supported by the U100 include a keypad, physical keys, fingerprint unlock, NFC cards, and the Aqara Home app on your phone.
The Bluetooth and Zigbee lock will also support Matter when connected to a compatible Aqara hub, the first of which is getting a Matter update this month. Notably, when connected to the hub, your fingerprint can be used to trigger personalized scenes in the home. The U100 doesn’t have a confirmed price, but Aqara told The Verge that it will range between $160 and $180 and is expected to release in Q2 2023. A “premium” model in silver is expected to launch at the same time for around $200.
The Presence Sensor FP2 is the latest entry to the Aqara lineup of sensors and one of the first to use mmWave radar tech to detect human presence, even while sitting still. The Wi-Fi sensor has a detection range of 16 to 23 feet (5 to 7 meters) and features multiperson detection, fall detection, and a built-in ambient light sensor. David Su of Aqara told The Verge that “it can actively and precisely detect human presence even with the slightest motion — even a human chest rise and fall.”
The FP2 also has a zone positioning feature that lets you define specific areas within a room, such as “bed” or “wardrobe,” that can trigger different automations when human presence is detected. And since it’s Wi-Fi-based, it doesn’t require pairing to a hub and will work with Apple Home as well as other platforms. Unlike Aqara’s other motion sensors, which can run for years on lithium batteries, the FP2 is powered via USB-C and needs to be plugged in. Pricing for the Presence Sensor FP2 is currently set at $60 (subject to change) and is expected to arrive sometime in Q2 2023.
Finally, the LED Strip T1 is a new multipurpose RGB-CCT (correlated color temperature) smart light strip that can produce 16 million colors and features tunable white light and addressable gradient effects. The T1 is based on Zigbee — and so will require an Aqara hub — and can be used as a repeater to extend your home’s existing Zigbee network. The T1 supports Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home, with Matter support coming as soon as Aqara begins updating its hubs later this month. Neither pricing nor a release date has been provided for the LED Strip T1.