The buzz around the new Mi Hub seems to be accelerating now that the official launch date (for Mainland China) is less than a day away. However, it would seem some stores can’t wait that long, as Banggood.com are now offering the hub as a pre-order item, for a mere US$24.99. The one catch is that shipping for this item will be no earlier than January 30th 2020, so quite a long time after the Chinese release. Still, it’s a good sign that it will be available to consumers outside China, albeit unofficially at present.
If you’ve not been following our coverage of this device over the last six months, this is the successor to the original Mi Hub, with a few major additions or enhancements over the original, along with a couple of missing things as well.
First off the bat is that the hub is compatible with Apple HomeKit, so this is something new for a Mi hub. This essentially means it works in much the same way as the Aqara hub currently does. The original hub connected to your network via wifi, but only communicated with its own child devices via ZigBee. With the updated hub, it still connects to your network in the same manner and also connects to Zigbee devices, but it also features a built-in Bluetooth hub, that also works as a Bluetooth mesh hub. This means that many of the company’s Bluetooth devices are now accessible directly from the hub. This also opens up the possibility that these Bluetooth devices could get exposed to HomeKit in the future.
As the hub also acts as a Bluetooth mesh hub, this means that Yeelights Bluetooth mesh range of lights, which are also compatible with HomeKit, will also be able to work with the hub, even though Yeelight already have announced their own Bluetooth Mesh hub that is also compatible with HomeKit.
As for Zigbee, the hub employs the new Zigbee 3.0 protocol for wider signal coverage, as well as faster response times. All of the forthcoming updated child devices from Aqara and Mijia will utilise ZigBee 3.0 going forward.
You can check out the new hub at Banggood.com now (no affiliate link).