Aqara’s affordable new USB-powered controller, the Smart Hub E1, makes it easy to control devices and sensors through Apple’s HomeKit and other smart-home systems. The company’s Zigbee-based devices, such as smart sensors, connect to the cloud through a central smart hub.
Because Aqara bridges all its devices to HomeKit, you can mix and match automations using different vendors. What’s more, you can power the Aqara Smart Hub E1 with any USB port you have, whether it’s a wall plug or a powered USB port on a console, computer or smart TV.
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Aqara Smart Hub E1: small form factor
The E1 hub features a slim design, with dimensions of just 4.25 inches x 1.18 x inches 0.3 inches and a weight of only 58 grams. The minimal form factor and low price — $29.99 — make it a fine starting point if you’re interested in creating an affordable smart-home setup.
Works in any smart home
Like Aqara’s previous hubs — the M2, the M1S and the Aqara Camera Hub G2H — the E1 enables Aqara devices to work with popular smart-home ecosystems.
The hubs work with Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT. All of Aqara’s battery-powered sensors and smart devices are accessible to whatever voice-controlled smart home system you favor.
The E1 can accommodate up to 128 “child” devices, Aqara said. And you can add 32 “terminal” devices, like battery-powered sensors or buttons. Beyond that, you need to include a Relay device to add up to 16 more devices.
The E1 also features a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi repeater that lets you add a couple of Wi-Fi devices to your home network. Not bad for $29.99.
Where to buy: Amazon