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Aqara's Camera E1 is a new addition to the smart home camera space, offering a range of key features including 2K resolution, pan and tilt, support for HomeKit Secure Video, and more.

Aqara-Camera-E1.jpg

The Camera E1 emerges as a noteworthy option in Aqara's lineup of smart home cameras, especially for those seeking a balance between functionality and affordability. Priced at $59.99, this camera positions itself in a competitive spot in the market, particularly for a device with 2K resolution, pan and tilt, and HomeKit Secure Video support.

The Aqara Camera E1 boasts a sleek and modern design. Its compact form factor makes it suitable for various placements around the home. Whether placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall, the camera can be easily adjusted to capture the desired view.

The camera features a privacy mode, which physically reorients the camera lens away from the viewing area. This design choice reassures users through its visible action — a clear indicator that the camera is not recording or monitoring.

aqara-camera-e1-box.jpeg

Setting up the Aqara Camera E1 with Apple HomeKit is straightforward. With the Camera E1 powered and placed in its intended location, setup begins by scanning the HomeKit setup code found on the camera, like many other smart home accessories. This can be done directly through the Home app by tapping "Add Accessory" and using the iOS device's camera to scan the code.

Once the camera is recognized by the Home app, it prompts you to assign the camera to a room and give it a name. While you can adjust settings such as the status light and stream quality via the Home app, setting up the Camera E1 directly with HomeKit might limit access to some of its features compared to the full range available through the Aqara Home app. Essential functionalities such as live streaming, two-way audio, and motion-triggered notifications are still accessible in the Home app.

The camera features a 2K video resolution, which provides exceptionally clear and detailed images and sets it apart from many HomeKit-compatible cameras that only offer 1080p. This high resolution, combined with a wide-angle f/2.0 lens, ensures that users receive a clear and comprehensive view of their home environment.

The Camera E1 is also equipped with concealed infrared night vision. The invisible infrared LEDs ensure that the camera can capture clear footage even in low-light conditions without the obtrusive glow often associated with night vision cameras.

aqara-camera-e1.jpeg

Unlike many HomeKit cameras in this price range, the Aqara Camera E1 offers pan and tilt capabilities, greatly expanding its field of view and monitoring capabilities. The mechanism operates very quietly, ensuring that the camera's movements are discreet.

The Camera E1 supports HomeKit Secure Video, enabling it to detect distinct motion types such as people, animals, and vehicles, and store the recorded footage securely in iCloud. Users can tailor notifications to their preferences based on the type of motion detected.

Like many Aqara accessories, the Camera E1 appears to have very steady network connection and good stream quality. Compared directly to a Logi Circle View, it performed noticeably better on the network.

Final Thoughts and How to Buy

Overall, Aqara's Camera E1 is a compelling HomeKit-compatible smart home camera at an affordable price point. With its 2K resolution, pan and tilt, the ability to physically reorient for privacy, reliable network connectivity, and support for HomeKit Secure Video, the Camera E1 is a robust addition to any smart home set up.

Buyers should be aware that HomeKit Secure Video is limited to 1080p resolution, meaning that if this is your main use-case, you will be unable to take full advantage of the camera's hardware. In addition, like many HomeKit accessories, far more expansive capabilities are offered by the manufacturer's own app, with only limited control in the Home app.

The Aqara Camera E1 is available from Amazon in North America and Europe, as well as selected Aqara retailers worldwide, for $59.99.

Note: Aqara provided MacRumors with a Camera E1 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Article Link: Review: Aqara's Camera E1 Offers 2K and Pan and Tilt With HomeKit Secure Video Support for $60
 

MrRom92

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2021
915
1,937
This basically looks like a pared down version of the Aqara G3… I’d like to see an option that has even more features, not less! It really is a great camera.


Zigbee hub? IR blaster? HKSV? Pan and tilt? All really great features. Which I all use daily. I love it! But if they were to improve it, I’d like to see
• better optics/higher res sensors with perhaps more clarity and dynamic range.
• Better microphone (with less aggressive or software-defeatable noise reduction)
• Louder speaker for 2 way audio
• thread support, to further strengthen that mesh network - too few devices support thread.
• And the option to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of just WiFi


If they come out with an improved model I can see myself moving my G3 to another room in my house and upgrading to the new one in the main living space where it’s particularly needed.
 

seek3r

macrumors 68020
Aug 16, 2010
2,135
2,999
Looks compelling, one question I would have is can this have its firmware updated manually without giving it external network access? I only give external access to any IoT device I have through homekit. Devices themselves get isolated on a VLAN with no egress
 

MrRom92

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2021
915
1,937
This review lacks some key information: what features are only available in the Aqara app? How does pan/tilt work? Can it automatically follow motion?
Not sure if auto-following is a thing since I never really poked around the settings that much. But I can say that pan/tilt is one feature that only works in the Aqara app… however I believe that’s simply because apple doesn’t have a way to do that yet in HomeKit secure video… if Apple ever updated it I don’t see why Aqara wouldn’t be able to update the camera FW to support that as well.
 

zach-coleman

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2022
1,133
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Are you able to automate this to trigger the "look away" functionality automatically upon returning home via the HomeKit app?
 
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Shin-Ra

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2008
116
156
More specs I gleaned from the Amazon product page:

  • USB-C powered (5V 2A) PSU not included
  • WiFi 6 + WPA3 (2.4GHz only)
  • MicroSD (≤512GB) continuous or event triggered storage at full res
  • 2304 × 1296 resolution (but in my limited experience, video encoding and network bandwidth are the biggest quality limiters on cheap wireless cams)
  • SMB3-compatible NAS storage backup (MicroSD required)
Would be interesting to know how many days continuous recording you get with a 512GB microSD and see captures of the actual video quality in well-lit, poorly-lit and night-IR conditions.
 
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mickobizzle

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2023
31
32
Looks compelling, one question I would have is can this have its firmware updated manually without giving it external network access? I only give external access to any IoT device I have through homekit. Devices themselves get isolated on a VLAN with no egress
nice one, seek3r. A roundabout way of explaining that this device and those by Aqara will "phone home" to the manufacturer's servers in China, combined with a nice suggestion for how to protect your privacy in a general way by leveraging a VLAN.
 

uptownnyc

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2011
748
1,038
One thing I've always wondered with cameras that market themselves as HSV cameras --- how do we actually know that the video feed isn't also fed to non-iCloud storage? Anything with a network connection could send its video anywhere.
 
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displayblock

macrumors regular
Jul 31, 2014
133
423
Headline reads as though 2K footage and pan/tilt is supported under HomeKit Secure Video, which is false.
 

icanhazmac

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
2,407
8,765
Headline reads as though 2K footage and pan/tilt is supported under HomeKit Secure Video, which is false.

I am interested in this as well. I have two Eufy Pan and Scan 2k cams that kick down to 1080 under HKSV. If these are able to do 2k then I would assume the Eufy models could as well with a software update? More likely they will want us to buy a new model. :rolleyes:
 
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seek3r

macrumors 68020
Aug 16, 2010
2,135
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One thing I've always wondered with cameras that market themselves as HSV cameras --- how do we actually know that the video feed isn't also fed to non-iCloud storage? Anything with a network connection could send its video anywhere.
That’s why you block their external access, I do it with a relatively complex vlan setup but you can also just easily block external access at your router, most routers support it. As long as your homekit hub can reach them HSV will work. The only problem is updating firmware if it needs egress for that
 

Razorpit

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2021
1,030
2,120
One thing I've always wondered with cameras that market themselves as HSV cameras --- how do we actually know that the video feed isn't also fed to non-iCloud storage? Anything with a network connection could send its video anywhere.
I always wondered about the microphones. Yes it’s obvious the camera is pointed away, but you can never be sure the microphone isn’t turned on.
 
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