Back in the middle of January, we reported on an instance where an online store in Europe inadvertently listed a couple of forthcoming Aqara products – the Aqara Motion Sensor P1, and the Aqara Curtain Driver E1. It would seem that of the two, the motion sensor is close to a release in Europe and possibly the US soon. There’s still no official word on an international release for the curtain driver, but just yesterday in China, Aqara launched a round of crowdfunding. So, the product would appear to be coming soon, at least in China at first, with an international release to follow soon after.
With Switchbot being an early adopter of this type of retrofit device (albeit without official HomeKit support), followed by ZemiSmart’s latest offering which IS HomeKit compatible (click to see our video or read our written review), Aqara will be playing ‘catch up’ to a small extent, although given how popular Aqara products have been in the last couple of years, it’s certain to attract decent sales, given the crowdfunding campaign is currently funded to 1474% of its target after less than one day. Of course, both Zigbee connectivity and a decent set of features are also going to help;
The motor has a built-in battery that can be charged up via a USB-C port on the base, and also includes a light sensor, designed to close your curtain depending on whether there’s too much or not enough light. There are actually two models, with the one option working with curtains that use Rods, U-rails, or I-Rails, whilst the other option will only work with the latter two curtain rails.
Both options work in the same way that the ZemiSmart model does, which is via a rubber wheel that makes contact with the rod or rail track, to move the motor, and the curtains that surround it, move along. This means that for a pair of curtains, you’ll need a pair of motors. As it’s Zigbee, and therefore requires an Aqara Zigbee hub, it will also be HomeKit compatible.
Aqara claims that the internal battery has an average 10-month battery life between charges, which is double what the Zemismart option offers and can pull between 8 – 12kg, depending on what type of curtain rail is used. The Motor even features what can be described as a ‘pull to trigger’ feature whereby you can gently tug the edge of your curtain in either direction, and the motor will detect that movement and begin to operate in that direction.
With rumoured beta testing for an international release currently in progress, it’s highly likely we won’t have to wait too long for this model, so once we know more, we’ll update this article to reflect any changes or additions. In the meantime, to keep up with all the latest HomeKit news and reviews, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit!