Aqara Matter Hub M3 Initially Launched in China

It seems a long time ago since Aqara’s next-generation M3 hub was initially announced, but it has finally begun to surface in China. Aqara has it listed on their Chinese website, and some third-party sellers on Taobao are now selling it. You could be forgiven for wondering what the M3 is, given the long gestation period, but in essence, it’s an M2 hub on steroids!

As we’ve noted in previous posts, the M3 takes on many of the M2’s standout features but adds to them in significant ways. For example, like the M2 it’s a Zigbee 3.0 hub for Aqara Zigbee devices, as well as including a built-in IR blaster. However, it can also act as both a Thread Border Router, and as a Matter Controller for Matter over Thread or even Matter over WiFi devices from other brands. This is in line with the functionality of the HomePod Mini, or Samsung’s Smart Station, both of which take on these dual roles. It also comes with Bluetooth 5.1, facilitating both Matter onboarding and Aqara’s own MagicPair technology.

This means, for example, a Matter over Thread bulb from Nanoleaf can be added to Aqara’s ecosystem, thereby using Aqara’s powerful automation features. This does not mean that Matter devices added to the M3 will be automatically exposed to Apple Home, however. Still, as you can add a Matter device to multiple ecosystems anyway, it’s not necessarily an issue if you want to control a Matter device on both platforms.

Another plus point of the M3 is that whilst it has an upgraded power port utilising USB-C now, it can also be powered by the ethernet port that connects it to your router or modem, as long as your respective hardware supports this functionality.

One major bonus for many existing Aqara users is that the M3 is purported to allow for migrating all of your existing devices from one Aqara hub to the M3, which is something many Aqara fans have asked for.

As it’s presently only available in China, and only by third-party resellers, there seems to be an element of price-gouging, as the hub is listed in one store for RMB989, which roughly converts to US$138 | UK£109 | EU€127, which seems a bit on the high side for a hub, even given its extra functionality. I’ll go out on a limb and predict the price will be lower than this once the international model is released, where it should be officially announced at CES2024 next week. Until then, we just have to wait a little while longer…

The Editor

Editor - Musician, graphic designer and HomeKit aficionado.

5 thoughts on “Aqara Matter Hub M3 Initially Launched in China

  • Hi Simon,

    I think POE, Power Over Ethernet is going to be the next major transitional change we see. That’s already making significant advancements in the commercial world where POE is being used for lighting throughout commercial structures. Also other devices are being changed to POE as well like Aqara is doing.

    So not only power to the lighting fixtures and devices but also control on the same cable. Which right now is CAT 5 or CAT 6E. That provides a direct signal to the light that isn’t dependent on wireless communication. So more reliable.

    It looks like Aqara recognizes this and is providing for that capability. Other manufactures are jumping on board.

    So as long as a single power wire needs to be used for any device why not make it a signal/data wire as well for more reliable data communications?

    Remember the older X10 systems? POE looks kind of like that but with lower voltage and an eight conductor wire to isolate power and signal wires. I think the voltages used are 48 volts now.

    Also, current carrying capabilities is slowly being increased on POE systems. That seems to be a limitation of the current CAT 5 and CAT 6E wiring. Of course more current is going to require a larger gauge conductor so we may see increases in sizes for ethernet cables.

    Hope all is well with you!


    • No disagreement that POE can be very useful for many installations. I just wanted to point out whilebit may be that hobbyist/DIY and consumers only recently are beginning to recognize and use POE it actually has been around and in broad use for a very long time. In fact it’s been around since Ethernet was invented and has experienced ubiquitous use for the last 30+ years along with twisted pair Ethernet. Nearly, if not all major brands support POE in their routers and APs. Next time you’re in a building with access points arrayed on the ceilings and walls it more likely POE than not.

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  • If I understand right this new hub will only support Aqara branded Zigbee devices ? Thats a shame as I have quite a few Zigbee devices. I do however try to buy Matter devices when I can now that companies are starting to release more and more of them.

    • That’s correct, and this has always been the case, so there’s no change. Once the Aqara app has been updated, users will be able to add third-party Matter devices, whether that’s a hub from another manufacturer, or a Matter device (WiFi or Thread).

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