If it was difficult for a long time to get a gateway Aqara in Europe, things have changed a lot and the brand is now well established in our regions. Lumi United Technology Co., its parent company, is also proving its interest in the old continent by regularly offering new products there, such as its motor for roller blinds last week and, today, this new gateway called Aqara Hub E1.
In a mini format, the Chinese company intends to offer ZigBee 3.0 to everyone, but also WiFi, all at a low price… Because, yes, it is only offered at 39.99 euros!
Aqara Hub E1: ZigBee home automation for everyone
Fans of the brand as well as our loyal readers will not be surprised to discover the packaging of this new Aqara Hub E1. Compact and elegant, the packaging reveals a product with an unusual format for the brand, although many home automation gateways take similar shapes.
The E1 is indeed presented as a USB-A dongle which is reminiscent of those who once allowed us to add Wi-Fi connectivity to our Windows XP computers.
Equipped with an adjustable socket, this home automation hub measures only 10,8 cm x 3 cm x 0.8 cm and presents a discreet LED testifying to its functioning as well as a little button allowing you to associate connected objects.
Accessories animated by the ZigBee protocol, here in version 3.0 and therefore soon compatible with the new standard Matter home automation, but also in Wi-Fi since the device also acts as a repeater and allows you to extend the coverage of your box or router. Maybe that's why it reminded us so much of a good old dongle!
Compatible Apple HomeKit, the discreet Aqara Hub E1 is also used with the two main voice assistants on the European market, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as with the service IFTTT.
Although its size is particularly small, the all new Aqara Hub E1 is nonetheless a powerful ZigBee 3.0 gateway capable of supporting up to 128 devices, provided that among them are repeaters such as light bulbs, connected sockets or Aqara H1 EU switches with neutral wire.
Here is its technical sheet:
- Manufacturer: Lumi United Co.
- Brand: Aqara
- Model: E1 hub
- reference: HE1-G01 / ZNJLBL01LM
- Protocol: ZigBee 3.0
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b / g / n 2.4 GHz
- Engine couple : 0.45 Nm
- Supply : USB Type A / 5V - 0.5A
- Consumption: NC
- dimensions: 108 x 30 x 8 mm
- Other: Quick Start Guide
Aqara Hub E1: installation and use of the home automation gateway
Installation of the ZigBee hub
Fuel your new Aqara Hub E1 on a USB-A socket: computer, connected or wall socket, Internet box, NAS ... Thanks to its 210-degree swivel USB-A port, you can very easily orient the dongle in the position of your choice.
Then just launch the app and:
- Go to the "+" top right,
- Dance Gateway, select E1 hub,
- Confirm that the LED flashes well in yellow,
- Wait for the application to detect your gateway and select it,
- Enter the identifiers of your network 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi,
- Wait a few seconds and it's done!
Association of an accessory
Although this does not present any difficulty, we are going to pair an accessory with our new Aqara Hub E1: a Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1. Two E1s should logically get along wonderfully ...
- Go to the "+" At the top right,
- Go to "Curtain Control" or "Curtain control" in French,
- Select "Roller Shade Driver E1",
- Choose your Aqara Hub prefer,
- Press the button for 5 seconds,
- Wait, it's done!
Find the full test of the Roller Shade Driver E1 here:
“The Aqara Hub E1 is therefore also a Wi-Fi repeater! "
Scenes and automations
Like any self-respecting home automation gateway, the Aqara Hub E1 allows you to create scenes and automations with the rest of the brand's ecosystem.
Here is the list of accessories compatible with Aqara Hub E1:
- Aqara Cube : the most original remote control / switch on the market,
- Aqara Motion Sensor : the motion detector,
- Aqara Temperature Sensor : the temperature, humidity and pressure sensor,
- Aqara Vibration Sensor : the very useful vibration sensor,
- Aqara Water Leak Sensor : the flood sensor
- Aqara H1 EU : ZigBee switches with or without wire, with or without neutral,
- Aqara Single Switch Module T1: with or without neutral,
- Mi Motion Sensor : the Xiaomi motion detector,
- Mi Temperature Sensor: the temperature and humidity sensor,
- Mi Door & Window Sensor: door / window sensor,
- Mi Smart button,
Use as a Wi-Fi repeater
While the M1S Hub has the particularity of acting as a night light and the M2 Hub that of being able to control devices using infrared, the Hub E1 also has a specificity good for him since it has a Wi-Fi antenna to repeat the signal from your Internet box or router. The Aqara Hub E1 is therefore also a Wi-Fi repeater!
This practical feature will allow you toextend the reach of your network and, in particular, to create a network dedicated to connected objects : bulbs, sockets and other accessories based on this protocol.
To activate the Aqara Hub E1 Wi-Fi access point:
- See you in " Accessories ",
- Select your E1 hub,
- Go to "More Settings",
- Choose "Wi-Fi Repeater",
- Switch to Wi-Fi Hotspot.
Let's take a closer look at the network created by connecting a Windows 10 computer to this Wi-Fi repeater.
Is it working? Yes, very good, but as you will be able to see the flow rates are not exceptional. Forget 4K video streaming, the hotspot of the Aqara Hub E1 is not made for that because it only carries one Wi-Fi chip 4 and therefore the IEEE 802.11 b / g / n protocol on the 2.4 GHz band only. As we said above, the interest of such a hospot will therefore be to create a specific network for your connected objects, a good practice that we invite you to implement if you have not already done so.
Indeed, you are surely not unaware that the security of connected objects is frequently questioned, in particular that of low-cost accessories sold in white label which, very often, do not benefit or few security updates. during their lifetime. Easy to hack, they are therefore a threat to your personal network and it is important to separate them from the network to which you connect your computers and others smartphones.
Little difference with the brand's previous gateways in terms ofAlexa, since you just need to activate the skill "Aqara Home for the EU" (yes, well, they could have been satisfied with an Aqara EU),link your accounts and voila.
You will immediately find all the devices connected to your Aqara Hub E1, or more exactly all those compatible with the voice assistant ofAmazon, i.e. opening sensors, movement detectors, temperature sensors and certain switches or modules.
The list is still a bit reduced for our taste, but Aqara is working to expand it and there is no doubt that the arrival of the Matter standard will facilitate these integrations ...
Hub E1 is also compatible Google Home. To do this, you need to activate the Aqara Home add-on in "Configure a device" and "Works with Google", then choose "Aqara Europe" and enter your login details.
Aqara Hub E1 does not appear as a device, but it does raise temperature, motion and opening sensors, and connected lighting devices. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get anything out of the sensors so far, but the control of the ZigBee sockets and bulbs, or the Aqara H1 EU is indeed effective. In short, not really great, but it is the Mountain View Assistant who is to blame here ...
Our opinion on the Aqara Hub E1
In conclusion, with its mini size and low price, the home automation dongle Aqara Hub E1 is interesting in many ways. Able to fly up to 128 devices, it is an effective gateway. Its range is probably not as important as that of an M2 hub, but the network mesh of the ZigBee protocol means that we did not encounter any connectivity problems and always benefited from very low latency.
Offering many possibilities within its Aqara Home ecosystem, the Hub E1 is perfect for those who want to learn about ZigBee home automation at low cost, but also for those wishing to expand an already existing network. A network that you can also extend in Wi-Fi since Lumi had the excellent idea of integrating a Wi-Fi 4 chip in its device which offers the possibility of creating a hotspot specific to connected objects. A plus for your safety.