Recently we are interested in introducing you to Xiaomi’s smart home universe. Indeed, even if most Xiaomi Mijia or Aqara smart devices are not yet compatible with Alexa, the Chinese brand is gradually invading the market… Moreover, Aqara has launched the pre-orders of its ZigBee gateway in Europe, which is already available in some Nordic countries.
We also learned that the brand owned is very interested in our favorite voice assistant Alexa, wishing to make all of its devices compatible. An excellent news that leads us to introduce you, not the Aqara gateway, but a camera that also fulfils this role: the Aqara G2 camera “Gateway Edition”. Lumi United Technology Co. Ltd, which markets it, had the excellent idea of offering a hybrid product that acts as both a camera and a ZigBee bridge. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Aqara G2: a compact and elegant camera
Delivered in a small box, we quickly understand that the Aqara G2 camera is, like the other devices of the brand, a compact smart device. The packaging is simple and chic as the rest of the range.
The side faces of the package tell us a little more about the product’s features: full HD 1080p video, H265 encoding, 140° viewing angle, night vision, motion detection, micro-SD location and the presence of a ZigBee bridge to connect other Aqara or Mijia devices.
At the opening, we find a typical Aqara design. The camera has an unusual shape, with soft curves and a compactness worthy of the brand. For some, it will look like a Minion dressed in white. Moreover, since it is a Chinese version, we had just as much difficulty understanding its instructions, but we will come back to them later…
Whatever your reference, you will necessarily notice its extreme compactness. Weighing only 112 grams, the Aqara G2 camera measures only 5.05 x 5.65 x 8.24 cm. In other words, she will be able to be discreet!
Its front face has a large black circle with the camera lens in its center. This 2 million pixel lens is surrounded by 8 totally invisible infrared LEDs that allow this digital eye to see up to 8 meters in the dark.
The Aqara Camera G2 has a light grey swivel base that allows it to be swivelled 360° and that can be unfolded so that it can be placed in any direction, and even with the same head to tail if you wish.
Base that contains a magnet, very powerful, which allows it to be easily fixed to a wall thanks to the metal plate provided, or on any metal surface. Good point! And, if this method of attachment does not suit you, Aqara provides its traditional 3M sticker to securely attach the camera anywhere… or almost!
Especially since the latter also contains a micro-SD slot allowing you to place a memory card in it to record local photos and videos. You will also notice a small hole to reset and configure the camera, with the added benefit of the small and adequate tool provided.
At the rear, the Aqara G2 camera has a USB port and nine small slots that hide a speaker… Because yes, this camera offers a two-way audio system, with a microphone placed at the front of the camera, just below the lens.
On top is a button that is perfectly integrated into the device. What is it used for? To activate and deactivate the camera of course… But not only! Indeed, by pressing it you can record a 15-second message to send to anyone you want, and it’s the kind of detail that makes the difference between a good and an excellent brand. Aqara, like Xiaomi, is constantly innovating and looking for the best experience for its users: we can only congratulate them!
In short, you will have understood that this Aqara G2 has a very sophisticated design and, even if it is not designed for it at all, it is very pleasant to handle with its soft surface and flawless finish.
Finally, this camera is delivered with a USB to micro-USB cable and a power supply which, in our case, is unfortunately intended for the Asian market. Nevertheless, we managed to use it by powering it directly from a smart socket, the G2 camera only requiring a 5V / 1A power supply. You can also use an adapter, or simply find a power supply with the same characteristics, which will undoubtedly be much more discreet.
Before we get down to business, let’s take a closer look at his technical data sheet….
- Brand: Aqara
- Model: G2 “Gateway Edition”
- Resolution: 1080p
- Viewing angle: 140°.
- Night vision: Up to 8 meters away
- Audio: Directional
- Motion detection: Yes
- Others: ZigBee 3.0 Gateway and video message recording
Aqara G2: easy installation with Mi Home
If you are new to the Xiaomi smart home ecosystem, you will need to download Mi Home for Android and Mi Home for iOS beforehand. An application that should not confuse you more than that, as the application design is so classic.
- On the Mi Home app’s home screen, click on the traditional “+” at the top right (or in the middle if you don’t have any devices installed on the application),
- Logically, select the Aqara G2 camera in the “Camera” tab, the one that should be displayed first,
- If the camera has already been associated, you will need to use the small tool mentioned above to reset the device, otherwise you can continue,
- Wait for oral instructions. Don’t be afraid, your camera works perfectly a priori, but it speaks Chinese for the moment.
- A QR Code is displayed in your Mi Home app, you must have it read by the camera lens. Normally, you should be able to do this without too much difficulty, otherwise make sure that the lighting is correct and keep a distance of about 15 cm from the camera,
- The camera then indicates that the installation will take place, always in Chinese, proof that the operation was successful,
- You then arrive on a screen allowing you to rename the camera and assign it to a room in your home, which will then allow you to find your equipment more easily,
- The camera should then launch and display its live feed to you, the last proof that the installation procedure went smoothly.
Well, that’s all very nice, but what about the application features?
Let’s see the details from left to right:
- The small eye allows you to put the camera in standby mode, or to reactivate it;
- The “phone” symbol offers the possibility to communicate with the person in the vicinity of the camera using the two-way audio system;
- The central button allows you to record a video sequence;
- The penultimate button offers you the possibility to take a photo capture;
- Finally, the last button is there to arm or disarm the motion detection and integrated alarm.
Other buttons at the top allow you to choose the desired resolution (convenient in mobility to save data or simply when the bit rate is a little low), turn the sound on or off, switch to full screen mode. You will also notice the possibility of doing PiP or “Picture in Picture” which will allow you to keep an eye on your camera while using another application. This is the first time we have encountered this feature and we really appreciate the idea.
Now let’s see what is proposed in the parameters. To do this, simply click on the three traditional small dots at the top right, then go to “camera settings”
So you can:
- Enable or disable the LED indicating camera operation,
- Save your data by preventing streaming of the stream on the mobile data network,
- Program a hibernation mode,
- Access the video settings,
- A time-lapse mode,
- Adjust the camera volume,
- Activate a time stamp,
- Turn the image 180° if you have chosen to mount the camera upside down,
- Set the infrared mode.
But the most interesting thing is probably the configuration of the detection of abnormal movements and/or sounds. Indeed, the Aqara G2 camera offers motion detection doped with artificial intelligence, allowing in particular to react only to human movements. This is to avoid false positives due to your pets or your vacuum cleaner working in your absence.
The essential associated alerts are really very complete and allow you to create very interesting scenarios if you own various products of the Xiaomi ecosystem. You can imagine combining opening sensors, vibration detectors, or switches or buttons. Especially since, let’s remember, because it’s an undeniable strength of this camera, you can directly associate them with the bridge integrated into the camera. Most of the Mijia and Aqara home automation devices are compatible with this ZigBee bridge.
Well, that even though we have already performed many tests of IP cameras, this model has managed to surprise us. On the one hand, its very successful design, its finishes and its compactness mean that it is a quality product that is completely in line with the Aqara range. On the other hand, its integration into the Xiaomi smart home ecosystem makes it a perfect indoor surveillance camera for those who are already evolving in the brand’s home automation universe. Finally, it is a rather unusual object thanks to the integration of a ZigBee hub. Once again, Aqara has therefore fully seduced us, especially since its camera offers top-of-the-range services at an unbeatable price.
However, we have two regrets. The first is the impossibility of using it for the moment except Mi Home’s Chinese server, although Lumi is actively working on the issue. It will therefore be necessary to agree to have your data hosted on Chinese servers, which from a privacy point of view is far from ideal, of course. The last regret should be the incompatibility with Alexa and therefore the impossibility of viewing the feeds on our Amazon Echo Show 2 or 5.
In short, if you are a fan of the brand, already own many of its smart home devices and don’t wait especially for compatibility with Alexa: go for it, you won’t regret it.