Aqara – a former smart home hardware manufacturer from the Xiaomi house is now making its first appearance in Europe on its own. The best-known products in Germany are probably the hubs and sensors that can be controlled via Zigbee. A playful addition to the product portfolio has recently been the Camera Hub G3 with the latest Zigbee 3.0 version. The IP camera has certification for Apple’s HomeKit, a Secure Video mode and many other exciting features that we want to get to the bottom of in this review. Find out what the Camera Hub G3 from Aqara is capable of in the following review!
|Size (HxLxW)||123.4 mm x 85.1 mm x 67.8 mm|
|Maximum power consumption||10W|
|Field of view||100°|
|Local memory||MicroSD card (not included) up to 128 GB|
|Rotation angle||340° horizontal, 45° vertical|
|Wireless protocols||Zigbee 3.0 IEEE 802.15.4, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/a/ac 2.4/5 GHz & WPA3 Support|
Scope of delivery
In a sparsely packaged white cardboard box, the Aqara Camera Hub G3 arrives. On the front of the box is the product image of the Camera Hub and on the back is a large listing of features of this. Freeing everything from the box, apart from the Camera Hub, you also get a USB-C to USB-A cable, a 10W USB power adapter and a user manual. An optional, belittling silicone cap is already attached to the Camera Hub, giving it little ears.
Before we start with the configuration, let’s first take a little look at the Camera Hub G3 itself. The inside of the cute figure is equipped with a 2K 2304 × 1296p camera, which is located in a black tiltable sphere. Built in is a wide-angle camera with a 110° field of view, which can be moved in all directions at 45° vertical and up to 340° horizontal angles with the help of motors. This means that almost 360° are imaged, giving the user a large field of view. The camera also has a brightness sensor with night vision function and two built-in microphones.
Under the head itself there is a small LED ring, which can glow green/yellow and is used for configuration. On the back of the lens head a small slot for the MicroSD card. Below that on the rest of the visible back are small holes for the built-in speaker and at the bottom the USB-C port for powering the Camera Hub G3. Finally, we have the camera’s stand, which has a thread for a wall mount and a QR code for the app. Small additional info last: the Camera Hub G3 is designed for an operating temperature of -10 to 40 °C and can withstand a humidity of 95%, but it is not waterproof and only suitable for domestic use. The workmanship of the small camera fits, the individual elements fit tightly and leave no room for play.
Software & App
To be able to set up the Aqara Camera Hub G3, you first need to download the Aqara Home app. This is available for free in the Play as well as Apple store. The only requirement is an account, which you have to create first, which requires a cloud connection at the same time. Another hurdle is probably the language, the app is currently only in English to use meaningfully. A German translation should follow at the end of the year. The ratings are a bit off-putting at first – this impression is somewhat deceptive at first. The app itself is clearly and simply designed.
If you want to integrate the Camera Hub G3 into the app, you first go to “Accessories” in the bottom bar and click on the plus. Here you get a large list of devices. Once you have found your product, you will get a small guide for each one. For the Camera Hub G3, you only have to press the pairing button on the LED ring. After that, you get to the next screen, where you have to enter your Wi-Fi. Finally, a QR code is displayed, which has to be held in front of the camera and a few seconds later the app is paired with the Camera Hub G3.
But before we get any further into the Camera Hub G3, let’s take a look around the app. Other options in the app include “Automation” and “Scene”. In the former, classic “IF -THEN” tasks can be set up. An example of this would be a timer that goes off when motion is detected and triggers an alarm. In addition, individual tasks can be set up, such as a light dimming at a certain time. All in all, you’ll find everything you could need for your daily smart-home routine.
Integration into everyday smart-home life
The Aqara Camera Hub G3 is not only suitable for a video transmission, which ran super and constant in our test period, but it brings some useful features for everyday life. Starting with a human tracking function. If you turn this on, you will be tracked by the camera in your own home. The same applies to dogs and cats. If you’re not at home and want to see what your pets are doing, you can easily do so. The Camera Hub G3 also features face and gesture recognition – unlike voice control, simple gestures can be used to execute a series of events. The gesture function is especially helpful, as it allows people with speech disabilities to use a smart device for everyday life.
If the previous functions are not enough, the camera, as the name suggests, serves as a smart hub. Connected via Zigbee 3.0, up to 128 additional Aqara smart home devices such as sensors and much more can be coupled. This opens up almost all possibilities. The Camera Hub G3 uses WPA3 encryption for the data connection and is thus quite secure. At the same time, a data connection via 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz is possible – a known problem with smart home devices is thus solved. To avoid feeling watched at all times, you can put the camera into a physical sleep mode. Inside the body, the head turns and a sleeping face appears.
While we’re on the subject of sleeping, the Camera Hub G3 offers a night vision function. In the dark apartment, close objects or faces can be seen well. Anything a bit further in the background turns into pixel mush, but clear outlines can still be made out. The camera makes a solid impression during the day. The 2K resolution looks decent and smooth in playback. Thus, this is also suitable as a webcam for your own PC.
With the Camera Hub G3, Aqara offers an IP camera for the smart home that is a very good all-rounder with its functions. Not only because it can serve as a hub for other smart home devices. We do not have to worry about the camera itself, it fulfills its specifications and the transmission to the app is smooth. In the app, you will find many options to make your own home a bit smarter. There are many automations available for this, which can be easily configured, just like the Camera Hub G3 itself.