Aqara Motion Sensor Review 2021: Pros and Cons

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The Aqara motion sensor is quite modest, having a compact design. It is an indoor wireless motion sensor with a motion-tracking light. It has a motion range of about seven meters. As a wireless motion sensor, it is battery powered with a battery life of up to two years.

The motion sensor also works with the Aqara Hub and you can use the Aqara app with it. Most importantly, you can also use it with the Aqara Home Kit. In coordination with the Hub, the motion sensor also functions as a security device when the alarm mode is activated. The Hub will send an alarm and a notification to your phone if motion is detected, for instance when you are not at home.
We would say that the biggest selling point of the Aqara motion sensor is the price point, which is quite affordable for this sort of device.

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Unboxing the Aqara Motion Sensor

The box and packaging are quite simple. When you open the box, what you get are:

  • The Aqara motion sensor device
  • The sensor stand. You can use this stand as an optional extra. Well, we suggest that you use it
  • A welcome card
  • A description manual; the information in this is in English language, German, Russian languages and Chinese.

Aqara Motion Sensor box contents

Those are all there are in the box.

Design and Features of the Aqara Motion Sensor

Now, as we pointed out earlier, the Aqara motion sensor has quite a small and compact design. It is very discreet. On the front of the device are two sensors. The first sensor is the motion sensor, while the second one is the ambient light sensor.

When you turn the device over to the side, there is a small button, which is used for setting up the device. The side button is also used for resetting the device if you need to do so.

Aqara motion sensor

The design of the stand allows it to tilt and swivel in varying directions of 360 degrees. This is to give you different angles if you decide to fit it into the wall. However, the motion sensor has a maximum detection range of 170 degrees.

When you turn the device upside down and look at the base, you will notice a rubber fold. The fold means that it is possible to use the device alone without the stand. In turning the bottom of the base, you also access the battery compartment.

One of the major things that caught my attention is how small and modest the Aqara motion sensor is. If you compare it to Philips Hue Compatible Motion Sensor, it is a lot smaller. In fact, even when you use the stand, it is still smaller.

One other feature of the Aqara sensor is the use of ZigBee wireless technology. Just in case you do not know much about it, let me give you a quick brief.

Zigbee technology is similar to your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth communication system. It is a system that allows for dual communication between a sensor and a control system. Zigbee offers short-range connectivity for up to a hundred meters line of sight, which is affected by environmental characteristics. Zigbee is preferred in low data rate applications that require long battery life and secure networking. Another cool thing about Zigbee technology in this device is that it supports data transfer from the Aqara sensors at a rate of about 250 kbps.

Setup of the Aqara Motion Sensor

To install the stand, all you have to do is use the sticky area of the stand to attach it to the sensor. Then plug-in the Aqara Hub, which, by the way, has Siri Voice Control Automation. When connected, the voice control is activated and the motion sensor plug-in light around the hub blinks.

Activating the Aqara App

To fire up the Aqara app, select the device you want to connect and follow the on-screen instructions provided for you.

When prompted, press the pair (set-up) button and the Hub will let you know when it connects. When it is all connected, you can rename the device for easy identification, if you want to. You can also select the room that this motion sensor is going to go in.

When you have confirmed this whole setup, install the device in the room where you are going to use it. Even without setting up the Home Kit, it is automatically done because the Hub is already paired and is already exposed within the Home Kit app.

You can also watch this video from Aqara to help you set up your Aqara sensor:

Performance of the Aqara Motion Sensor

Moving to the performance of the Aqara motion sensor and how you get the most out of it.

The best way to get the best use out of this sensor is to use it in automation or a scene mode. This is because even where the Wi-Fi is not stable or maybe disconnected, as long as the Hub is on and powered, the associated automation will still function properly.

And so we had to test it, and we used it in a room downstairs to trigger on the lights in a situation where someone stepped in. To do this, go to the automation settings within the Home app and create that automation.

This device works for up to seven meters for motion detection and it does work really well. We took it to the bathroom where there was a problem with the one other motion activated light control sensor. People were in the bathroom and were not being detected, and the light was not being triggered.

When you compare the Aqara motion sensor to the Philips hue compatible motion sensor, it works just as well. However, the Philips Hue motion sensor is much more expensive than the Aqara motion sensor.

For security alerts, turn on the alarm when you decide to leave the house. The Hub sounds an alarm when the battery-powered motion sensor alarm is triggered and sends a message to your phone.

Notes on the Aqara Motion Sensor

A few things are worth noting on the Aqara motion sensor.

Just as we had previously stated, the Aqara device has, as one of its features, an ambient light sensor. We noticed that the ambient light sensor is not exposed in the Home Kit, nor does it open in the Aqara app. This is unlike the Philips Hue motion sensor, which has an ambient light sensor and a temperature sensor.

One other thing that you need to take note of is when positioning the sensor. If you place it inside a room and what you want is that it should only be triggered when a person steps into that room. In this case, because the motion detection is so long, you will need to make sure that the positioning of the motion sensor is done in such a way that it only detects a person when they are actually walking into the room. While the test was being carried out, it sometimes caught someone walking by.

The Verdict

This is our verdict on the Aqara motion sensor.

  • It is a  very low cost and at the same time a good performing and very reliable motion sensor
  • It is quite simple to set up and install. The size of the Aqara motion sensor and its ability to be positioned on any surface is a big plus
  • The range of detection of seven meters and the detection angle of 170 degrees are among its major strengths added to the fact that it works with the Apple Home Kit
  • It uses CR2450 batteries, giving it that long life of two years
  • The ZigBee wireless protocol, which keeps it connected to the Hub when working with or without WiFi or Bluetooth connection is another plus. This makes it really fast and a great sensor

This is a really cool motion sensor, particularly when compared to the Philips hue compatible motion sensor. It is quite good and cheaper. You can order this online and have it delivered to your doorstep.

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