A cheap and good security camera that has Apple’s blessing and is also a Zigbee hub? It comes from Aqara and is called G2H (Pro). A practical purchase if you don’t want to spend a lot on Smart Home and want to keep the cable clutter to a minimum.
You can stick the camera to the wall
In the packaging you will find the cool styled camera plus micro USB cable and power supply. There is also a small metal plate and a suitable piece of double-sided adhesive tape.
As for its quality: we actually put our copy on the wall with it. Holds up great. Probably so excellent that if you remove it, you rip a bit of paint off the wall with it. So think carefully beforehand where the camera should be.
Very practical setting options – in the manufacturer app
You can play with the image settings in the Aqara app right away: Flip the display horizontally and vertically. Not possible is a rotation by 90 degrees. If you want the picture upright, you have to live with the fact that you always have to turn the smartphone somehow to display it. In the official Aqara app, you can also play with the video settings: The status LED can be switched on and off, as can the very good night vision function set to automatic. The usual time and date information can also be hidden and if you prefer a less distorted image, you can switch on the lens correction – then the image section will be a little smaller.
Your Zigbee sensors can also be managed and updatee via the app. However, two things have to be mentioned here: After registering the camera lay around unused for a few weeks without electricity due to Corona. After that, it was no longer recognized by the Aqara app. We had to completely reset it and set everything up again. Since the HomeKit assignment also went down the drain with this procedure (which actually still worked after that pause), we were happy that we were still in the test phase and that the camera was not yet integrated into many automations.
The limitations of the HomeKit standard are evident
Anyone who now says: “Yes, the main thing is that HomeKit works!” is of course partially correct. After all, the standard stipulates that the devices must also work locally and without an additional app – a good thing. However, with the G2H, this means that the setting options already mentioned and firmware updates are not possible. Even the setting options for LED and night vision that are actually available in HomeKit are without function.
Without registering with Aqara, it shows that Apple always advertises data protection, but conceals the fact a bit that many HomeKit devices can only be used to a very limited extent without the manufacturer’s app. Our tip as before: simply create another email address for the manufacturer apps and use it for all smart home devices. Nevertheless, the app – like almost all of them on the iPhone – will contact a great range of IPs, including the Chinese cloud service provider Tencent.
The integrated Zigbee hub only works with Aqara Zigbee devices. So if you also have Philips Hue lamps, then one Zigbee hub does not replace the other. All of our Aqara sensors ran perfectly, as did a Xiaomi motion detector and window sensor. A Xiaomi button was displayed, but didn’t work. Here you can possibly take over older hardware, of course without guarantee that it will still work in the future.
Very stable in operation, low power consumption
Our power consumption was around two to three watts, which applies to the camera, its motion detector and the Zigbee hub together. Connected to the 2.4 GHz network of our Mikrotik router, there was nothing to complain about in terms of reliability.
The camera was no longer accessible on the previously used OpenWRT router after about a day. It seems that OpenWRT on our router didn’t want to provide a stable connection for the Aqara device. The quality of the WLAN (and this does not necessarily mean the strength of the signal) is an important factor that is often mentioned with HomeKit devices. Same here.
Aqara Camera Hub G2H vs. G2H Pro
The Aqara G2H security camera has now been replaced or supplemented by the G2H Pro. The Pro has a few degrees more wide angle and can manage more Zigbee devices (128 instead of 64). Furthermore, the alarm system function is passed on to HomeKit (the G2H can only be used with the Aqara app) and you can use local NAS devices for recording. For everyone who is not just in the Apple ecosystem: the Pro version works with Alexa and Google Assistant in addition to HomeKit.
Good quality camera, good smart home start including hub
All in all, despite the limitations mentioned (which are also related to HomeKit), the Aqara security camera fulfills several important factors that make it a good choice for smart home beginners in the HomeKit universe: It is cheap, offers good image quality, runs stable and you save yourself an additional Zigbee hub if you stay in the Aqara universe.
- 【The Most Complete HomeKit Support & Two-way Audio】Connect your Aqara Indoor Camera G2H Pro to Apple HomeKit Secure Video, which can prevent hackers from stealing your data and protect your privacy at home. The G2H Pro supports face and package recognition and notifications that are processed locally on your HomeKit hub. You can speak with your family using two-way audio while viewing real-time video images remotely.
- 【1080p HD & Night Vision】1080p Full HD recording with 146° wide-angle lens offers you stable and smooth video day or night. It will notify you via smartphone and built-in siren, and record a short clip in case of an abnormal sound or motion being detected. The short clip will be sent to the cloud immediately(no subscription or monthly fees required), while the full footage will be recorded locally.
- 【Smart Local Control Center】The Camera G2H Pro can also work as a Zigbee 3.0 hub, which can connect up to 128 Aqara Zigbee child-devices and allow for seamless integration across Aqara’s sensors and home automation devices. With the G2H Pro, when your Aqara sensors are triggered by an event such as opening the door, it will be marked on the video timeline, and you will be able to see video notifications.
- 【Unauthorized Entry Detection】 Whenever unexpected motion is detected, the Aqara Motion Sensor will send an alert to your phone and activate the local alarm sound on Aqara Hub.
- 【Home Automation】The Aqara Motion Sensor can be set to trigger the Aqara Hub alarm or other connected devices such as the Aqara smart plug when movements are detected.
The costs for window sensors, switches, water detectors, etc. are also on a low level and make sense if you want to fill the gaps in your existing Philips Hue installation, for example. If you need several window sensors, it may even be that buying these sensors including the camera is cheaper than just the sensors from other companies. The modularity of the HomeKit system offers you great flexibility.