Review: The Aqara Camera E1 - A Comprehensive Look

The Aqara Camera E1 is a new product released by Aqara, positioned between their G2H Pro and G3 cameras in terms of features and price. Unlike the other two cameras, the E1 does not include a Zigbee hub, making it a more cost-effective option for customers who already have a hub. The packaging of the E1 features the camera on the front with Apple Home and Amazon Alexa logos, indicating compatibility with those platforms. The camera also supports WiFi 6 and comes with an included ceiling mount.

Visually, the E1 is similar to other pan/tilt cameras on the market. It has a pan/tilt section at the top with the camera lens, a small microphone, and invisible IR LEDs. The base section has a status LED that can be disabled in the Aqara app. The E1 also has speakers on both sides and QR codes on the rear section for Apple Home and Aqara’s EasyPair option.

The package includes the camera, ceiling mount, screws, manual, and a USB-A to USB-C cable. The camera has a USB-C port on the back, which is also home to a small reset button. The camera can be mounted on a surface or ceiling using the provided mounting plate.

Setting up the E1 in the Aqara Home app is straightforward, although there were some complications due to WiFi connectivity. The camera supports Bluetooth 5.2, which allows it to be automatically detected by the app. However, it only supports 2.4GHz WiFi, not 5GHz. The app generates a QR code for the camera to scan and connect to the network. Once connected, the camera can be added to Apple Home, although there were some issues with the connection process.

In Apple Home, the E1 functions like any other compatible camera. It offers HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) support, but recordings and live streaming are limited to 1080p. Pan/tilt controls are not available in Apple Home, so the Aqara Home app must be used for that. The E1 offers features like human tracking, pre-defined positions, and cloud-based automations in the Aqara Home app. Aqara’s automations are extensive and allow for customized actions based on different triggers and conditions.

The E1 has various settings that can be accessed through the Aqara Home app. It also has a privacy mode that turns the camera away and disables the microphone. Overall, the E1 performs well and offers 2K recording, pan/tilt functionality, and WiFi 6 support. However, it lacks a 5GHz connection option and the automations are not local as advertised.

In conclusion, the Aqara Camera E1 is a solid option for customers looking for an indoor camera with pan/tilt capabilities. It offers a good balance of features and price, especially for those who already have an Aqara hub. The E1 has reliable performance, but there are some drawbacks such as the lack of a 5GHz option and the cloud-based automations. Aqara is also expected to release outdoor cameras in the future. Overall, the E1 is recommended over the G2H Pro if a hub is not needed, but the G3 is a more feature-rich option if budget allows.