Aqara Smart Hub E1 Review – A new affordable HomeKit compatible Zigbee smart home hub

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Aqara Smart Hub E1 Review Rate

Summary

The Aqara Smart Hub E1 offers the exact performance and device compatibility as the other Aqara hubs in a smaller and more convenient form factor compared to the excellent M2 Smart Hub just without the Ethernet connectivity and IR.

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This week, Aqara announced their latest Hub E1 and is the most affordable hub they have launched on Amazon to date.

Currently, this would make it the firth hub they have on Amazon but they have around eight different hubs in total, which seems a little excessive.

The new Smart Hub E1 is priced at just £29.99, being about £25 cheaper than the other Aqara options. It has a USB dongle design, so the overall installation can be as discrete as possible, you just need to plug it into any USB socket.

The Hub E1 not only expands your Zigbee network but also acts as a Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz repeater and makes the coverage of other Aqara hubs and other Wi-Fi devices more stable.

If you have used an Aqara Hub or read a review of one before, there is nothing particularily new here, but this little hub provides a new alternative and affordable way to set up a smart home.

With this offering the same overall experience as the Aqara Camera Hub G2H, I have not set up the automation using the different sensors and devices available.

Aqara Smart Hub E1 (2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Required), Powered by...
  • Note: Aqara Hub E1 can connect up to 128 Aqara...
  • Flexible and Small Size: The Hub E1 shaft angle...
  • All-Round Compatibility: Makes Aqara child devices...
  • Powered by USB-A: A regular USB-A port is...

Specification

  • USB-A Dongle design
  • Zigbee 3.0 Proto
  • Wi-Fi repeater function (2.4Ghz)
  • 128 Device support
  • Product Size: 108*30*8mm
  • Wireless Protocol: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n2.4GHz , Zigbee 3.0
  • Input Voltage: 5V / 0.5A

Set-Up

The E1 has the same set-up procedure as any other Aqara hub. Once you plug it in, you will need to select add a new device, then select the E1. It will scan the hub, and when identified, you need to provide the password for a 2.4Ghz network. With this hub, it didn’t seem to pass over the data automatically, so I had to connect to the WiFI SSID of the hub.

Apart from that, everything was quick and simple.

Home Assistant

I also use Home Assistant running on Docker, and adding the E1 to this is also simple. Home Assistant automatically identifies the hub, and you will need to add the code which is printed on the hub itself.

2.4Ghz Repeater

One neat feature of this little E1 hub is the ability to act as a 2.4Ghz repeater. While I prefer to avoid repeaters in general, this seems like a useful way to expand your 2.4Ghz network for IoT devices.

Within the hub settings, you can go to: More Settings > Wi-Fi Repeater than enable the hotspot. This will create a new unique SSID.

Compatible Devices

I don’t have a huge number of Aqara devices, but I tested this with:

  • Single Switch Module T1 (one with and one without neutral, review soon)
  • Motion Sensor
  • Smart Wall Switch H1
  • Water Leak Sensor
  • Temperature and Humidity Sensor
  • Roller Shade Driver E1

All the devices worked as expected with no problems with signal or connectivity.

Price and Alternative Options

The Aqara Hub E1 is currently priced at £29.99, which is incredibly affordable for a smart home hub.

The Aqara M2 is £54.99

The Aqara Security Camera and hub is currently £55.24

The Aqara M1S is currently £66

For competing brands, your best bet is the Aeotec SmartThings hub which is £99.99

Overall

The Aqara Hub E1 is an excellent affordable way to get into using Zigbee based smart home systems. The USB connectivity is handy for someone looking for an easy discrete installation, you could plug this into the back of anything with a USB port and you also have the benefit of the 2.4Ghz wireless Repeater.

I personally prefer the reliability that Ethernet offers, and this is why I like the Aqara Hub M2. That also has an IR transmitter to control A/V equipment and a speaker for alerts, but I rarely use these. That hub supports the same number of Zigbee devices. If you just want a no-frill Zigbee hub, then the new E1 makes a lot of sense.

Last update on 2022-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1 thought on “Aqara Smart Hub E1 Review – A new affordable HomeKit compatible Zigbee smart home hub”

  1. How did you get the E1 to appear in Home Assistant? The Homekit Controller integration? Once I have paired mine in the Aqara app, it adds the device to Home.app and then binds it to Aqara’s cloud. I cannot see mine in HA during any part of this process, and the Xiaomi Gateway integrations do not show it, either.

    Reply

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