Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera Review scaled

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The Aqara Camera E1 was launched globally last month and claims to offer premium capabilities found in more expensive security cameras.

These premium features include 2K video resolution with a wide-angle f/2.0 lens, local person and sound detection, 360-degree pan and tilt, local recordings, NAS recording and App HomeKit compatibility.

Specification / Features

Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera Design
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatibility
  • AI-based person detection and tracking
  • Integration with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa
  • HomeKit Secure Video
  • 2K ultra-high-definition video
  • Two-way audio communication
  • Night vision capabilities
  • Privacy modes and WPA3 security
  • 24/7 recording options with MicroSD, cloud storage
  • 360° viewing perspective
  • Bluetooth networking technology
  • USB-C power interface
  • Price: £59.99 inc. VAT

HomeKit Secure Video Support

One of the main selling points of this camera is that it is one of the few cameras that support Apple HomeKit with HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) functionality. However, Homekit will limit the resolution to 1080p.

Set Up with Aqara App

Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera Underside
The Aqara Camera E1 can be easily mounted

The camera requires USB power, and this is thankfully USB-C.

Setting up the camera within Aqara is a straightforward process and similar to the Aqara camera hubs. The camera has a handy feature called MagicPair that simplifies the setup process. Located on the side of Aqara cameras and hubs is a QR code. To add the device to your smart home system, simply scan this code with the Aqara app.

To add the Aqara Camera E1 to a particular Matter-enabled app, you will need a 2-in-1 Matter hub that has both Matter controller and Thread border router functionalities.

You’ll then be walked through an easy onboarding flow. This includes the option to integrate the camera or hub with Apple’s HomeKit platform. In HomeKit, you can assign the device to a specific room, give it a custom name, and configure HomeKit Secure Video recording options if supported.

Set Up in Home Assistant with HomeKit

Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera Review View

It should be possible to use HomeKit by itself without the need for the Aqara app, but you will miss out on some features.

During the onboarding process, you will get the option to add it to HomeKit, choose a room, name the camera, and pick your recording settings for HomeKit Secure Video. While setting up the Camera E1 directly with HomeKit might limit access to some features available through the Aqara Home app, essential functionalities such as live streaming, two-way audio communication, and motion-triggered notifications are still accessible in the Home app.

Aqara App & Settings

Pan & Tilt

The pan and tilt functionality of the Aqara Camera E1 is a key feature, providing users with a 360° view of their environment. This feature is especially useful for monitoring large areas, ensuring no blind spots in surveillance. The smooth and responsive control of the camera’s movement allows users to track activities in real-time with ease.

You can manually control the Pan and Tilt from the app or you can use it for tracking with the AI human detection.

With the manual control, you can hold down the direction button for a long smooth pan but it will often overshoot where you want the camera to go. Pressing the direction buttons has a smaller movement but it can be slow to reach the point where you want to view.

Human Detection / Face Detection

The camera’s AI-based human detection technology is highly efficient, reducing false alerts significantly. This feature ensures that users receive notifications only when there’s actual human activity, enhancing the overall security and convenience of the system.

With tracking enabled, the camera will automatically pan and tilt to track what they are doing.

Aqara has face detection on some of its cameras, such as the Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 and the Aqara Camera Hub G3.

Recording Options – MicroSD / Network Attached Storage / Cloud Recording

Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera MicroSD Slot

The Camera E1 default storage method is local recording with a microSD card. By default, it will record 24/7, so you will want a microSD card with an endurance rating for 24/7 writes.

Alternatively, you can record to a NAS. This requires a Samba share (SMB) which is fine but it would be good if they had an option for RTSP/ONVIF, so you can use it with a proper network video recorder.

Aqara has launched their own cloud recording service. Some of the benefits of this cloud storage include:

  • Intelligent Alarm Video
    Filter out important recordings for quick searching and viewing of events.
  • Video storage Up to 30 days
    30-day video storage at 2K resolution. View, download, and share videos on the go. Intelligent
  • Detection video is stored in the cloud
    The detection video is automatically and safely stored in the cloud, even if the device is stolen or damaged, the historical video can be viewed offline.
    (No local storage, and cloud storage can meet the scenario of higher security)
  • No Upper Limit on Storage Space
    The capacity of the SD memory card is limited, cloud storage space is unlimited, and it will store all the footage, with no worry about overwriting or under-recording.
    (Storage period of up to 30 days)
  • Data Security
    The video is encrypted from transmission to storage, so you don’t have to worry about privacy leaks, guarding your privacy and security.

Aqara currently charges $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year per camera, which is on the expensive side of things when you compare it to cloud recording from companies like Arlo, Nest and Ring.

Finally, if you are using HomeKit, the footage will be stored with iCloud.

Automation

Aqara Camera E1 App 8

One feature of the Aqara Camera E1 that you won’t see on most competing indoor cameras is the ability to use it to trigger various home automation actions.

I set up a simple routine which would switch our kitchen lights on using the Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1 when a person is detected. The only issue with this automation is that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to switch the lights off using a similar automation. It would be good if the lights switched off after 5 minutes of no human detection.

Human Detection Performance

The E1’s performance in human detection is excellent. The camera is capable of distinguishing between humans and other moving objects, reducing false alarms. This feature is particularly useful for homes with pets, as it can prevent unnecessary alerts from being triggered by your furry friends.

With the tracking, the camera reliably follows a person around and in my videos, I have also selected the option to highlight the person with a rectangle.

Low Light / Night Time Video Quality

Aqara Camera E1 Night Video

With this being a relatively affordable camera, it doesn’t use a fancy sensor that can enable low-light colour video.

With its six infrared LEDs, the camera provides clear black-and-white night vision in low light and complete darkness. The LEDs illuminate around 10 meters, enabling solid video coverage in most home use cases.

Day Time Video Quality

Aqara Camera E1 Day Time Video

The 2K resolution and 130° wide-angle lens capture crisp, detailed footage during the daytime. The quality delivers sharp video sufficient for identifying faces and clothing colours in the camera’s field of view.

Price and Alternative Options

The Aqara Camera E1 has an RRP of £50 and is available from Amazon and aqara-shop.co.uk.

The other cameras that Aqara has are also hubs, with the G2H Pro priced at £70 and the G3 priced at £100 RRP, but at the time of writing it was discounted to £80. The G3 also benefits from the same pan tilt function as the E1.

There are plenty of other indoor pan tilt security cameras, including:

  • TP-Link Tapo C210 2K 3MP for £22 which has basic motion detection or the C225 2K 4MP QHD which has AI person detection.
  • EZVIZ 4MP 2.5K Indoor Camera with AI detection for £34.
  • IMOU 2K WiFi Security Camera with AI detection for £20.
  • eufy Security Solo IndoorCam E220 (P24) that is 2K with AI detection.
  • Eufy also has the S350 Dual Cameras 4K UHD Indoor Security which has 8x zoom for around £90.

While the Aqara Camera E1 may not be the cheapest option compared to the above, it is only the Aqara and Eufy IndoorCam E220 that support Apple HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video.

And, while the Aqara Camera E1 is more expensive than the Eufy, it has better support for other things. The main advantage for me would be the ability to use the camera to trigger actions within the automation tab. The NAS recording function is also a great feature.

Overall

The Aqara Camera E1 is a good camera that compliments the range of Aqara products.

Looking at the competition, the Aqara Camera E1 doesn’t exactly stand out as an easy recommendation compared to everything else. There are plenty of other indoor PT cameras that have similar performance and features, and many of these are cheaper.

This camera is great if you are invested in the Aqara ecosystem and/or want HomeKit with HomeKit Secure Video support. The Eufy IndoorCam E220 is quite a bit cheaper, but you get more functionality overall with Aqara.

The home automation features are a big thing that sets this apart from most of the competition and is something you can’t do with the Eufy E220, which helps justify the higher price point.

At the time of writing, the Aqara Camera E1 was listed on the Aqara Shop for £50, and the Aqara Camera Hub G3 was reduced to £80.

If I was parting with my own money, I’d be inclined to spend the extra on the Aqara Camera Hub G3. This will then give you access to AI facial recognition, gesture control, and a built-in IR controller. You then have the added benefit of a second Zigbee 3.0 hub and Matter support.

Aqara Camera E1 PT Tracking Home Security Camera Review

Summary

The Aqara Camera E1 is a good camera that compliments the range of Aqara products. This camera is great if you are invested in the Aqara ecosystem and/or want HomeKit with HomeKit Secure Video support. The Eufy IndoorCam E220 is quite a bit cheaper, but you get more functionality overall with Aqara. The home automation features are a big thing that sets this apart from most of the competition and is something you can’t do with the Eufy E220, which helps justify the higher price point.

Overall
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  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Extensive third party support. Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings
  • Good quality video and AI person tracking
  • Can be used to trigger home automation actions

Cons

  • If you just want an indoor camera with PT tracking, there are cheaper options
  • No facial recognition

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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