Since Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video, I have been wanting to get a compatible Video Doorbell. The only problem was that for a while, there was no true wireless option that supported Homekit natively. This was frustrating in my case because we live in an apartment complex that does not have built-in wiring for doorbells. And although we own the place, because of our thick concrete walls, it was impossible to install them.
That was until Aqara announced their new Video Doorbell G4 at this year's CES, among other great products. The best part of the product is that it supports a full battery mode, and it is fully Homekit compatible. This was the product I was waiting for. We already have quite a few Aqara devices, so the fact that Aqara unveiled it was even better.
Now that I've used the Doorbell for over two months, I thought it would be good to share my impressions here.
This is definitely one of my favorite products for this year. It was everything I could hope for and more. Aqara has consistently delivered excellent quality products at reasonable prices, and this is no exception.
Before this doorbell, I just had a cheap doorbell from Amazon that came with a button and a ringer. It did the trick for a while, but the upgrade was very welcomed. I love the overall design, and I'm lucky it matches the aesthetics of my house number and other hardware.
What I liked:
- Super easy to install
- Battery powered option
- Easy access to batteries while mounted
- Customizable settings via Aqara app
- The ringtone does not startle my dog like other doorbells
- Looks great
What could be better:
- The batteries don’t last too long
- The quality of materials looks cheap
- The angle of the camera does not work well for package detection
- The adhesive to the wall fell off after the first month; I recommended using command strips instead
Unboxing and Installation
The doorbell comes with everything you need to set it up. It includes batteries and screws if you wish to mount it to the wall permanently and also includes a neat angle base in case your door has a weird angle.
Physical installation was super easy and quick. The doorbell offers a thin adhesive film to glue it to the wall without sticking too much. I have to say that after a month, the thing came off, and the doorbell fell, probably because of the humidity in Puerto Rico. Thankfully, I could use multiple command strips to secure it again to the wall.
The doorbell has no wires, but the chime part has to be connected permanently via USB C for power. It also acts as a hub. You will need to hide it where the cables are not visible but not too hidden away because you still need to hear the chime. It also needs to be in proximity to the actual doorbell. The app will tell you how good the connectivity is based on the distance.
Setup and pairing
Pairing to Homekit and the Aqara app was also a breeze. You can start the paring from either app, although I recommend starting from the Aqara app as it will expose additional settings like chime tones, volume, and more.
So far, I have no regrets about getting this doorbell. Even though we don't get many visits and the bell itself is barely used, it offers excellent quality-of-life features thanks to Apple's secure video unique doorbell capabilities. These features are not unique to the Aqara doorbell but are the only available ones with battery support they kind of are.
I love Homekit Notifications
One of my favorite features of Video Doorbells in Homekit is the rich notifications. When someone rings the bell, it automatically sends you a notification that includes a snippet of the person when they rang the bell. It also tells you who rand the doorbell if you have defined people's faces on the home app. You can also set it up to send notifications when someone is at the door, even if they don't ring the bell.
Another neat feature is that you get live notifications on the Apple TV, which shows a live video feed. These are very nice when watching TV and expecting an Uber Eats order. (Which practically describes our weekends lol).
Nice extra settings in the Homekit App
You can access some cool features directly in the Home App. You manually toggle if you want the Doorbell to chime when pressed. Another cool feature with most Homekit Video cameras is that I use it to block the view of the street so I don't get notifications of cars. Also, it allows you to…
- Activity Zones: you can set up custom Activity zones to define what triggers notifications. I use it to block the view of the street so I don't get notified of people walking in the parking lot. For some security reasons, the homekit blocks out the screenshot's camera view.
- Face Recognition: You can tie the face recognition with your predefined people in the photos apps. This has been a bit finicky as it rarely recognizes us.
- Play chime through Homepods: You can also play the chime on your homepods. It also lets you select which homepods the doorbell chime will play through.
- Toggle the Camera Status Light and Night Vision Light: Night vision light is super cool; even in pitch dark, it has infrared so that you can see everything with detail.
As usual with Smart Home accessories, not every feature is exposed in the home kit appso there are some extra things you can setup in the Aqara app like changing the actual chime.
Closing thoughts after 10 months with the doorbell
Even if you have wired doorbell capabilities, the Aqara doorbell might be worth considering. Its easy installation, battery-powered option, and compatibility with HomeKit make it a great addition to any smart home.
My biggest complaint so far has to be the battery life. I’m having to change the batteries almost weekly. I don’t know if it is an issue with my doorbell or with the type of batteries I'm using but it has been very annoying.
I also got Aqara's new Smart Doorlock, which is Home Key compatible. Aqara seems to be one of the quicker companies adopting Apple's new features while offering reasonable pricing. Stay tuned for my impressions of the lock.
I hope you enjoyed this review; let me know if you have any questions or would like me to do an in-depth look at my full Homekit setup.