In the world of home automation, ITEAD has made quite a name for itself with its SONOFF line of devices. Now, the company has taken a new leap forward by launching an affordable Zigbee 3.0 dongle, priced at just $6.99. Pre-flashed with the Silicon Labs Zigbee stack, this dongle is ready to serve as a Zigbee coordinator on Home Assistant with the ZHA integration and openHAB right out of the box.
Compact size, powerful performance
The ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle is designed with convenience in mind. Resembling the average USB memory stick in size, it won't obstruct any neighbouring USB ports on your system. At its core lies the Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 system-on-a-chip (SoC), a powerful component that can manage a much larger network compared to the CC2531.
A few drawbacks to consider
While ITEAD's Zigbee 3.0 dongle offers undeniable value for money, there are a couple of aspects potential buyers should be aware of.
Limited range with no external antenna
Unfortunately, this adapter doesn't feature an external antenna, relying solely on its PCB antenna. Comparatively, the CC2652RB development stick from slaesh has impressed users with its exceptional range. As a result, it's somewhat disappointing that ITEAD didn't provide an option to attach an external antenna for improved coverage.
Enthusiast's product with no case included
It's clear that the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle is geared towards enthusiasts, specifically designed for Home Assistant and other open home automation systems. This is evident by the face that the dongle comes without a protective case, which could be a drawback for some users.
Despite these minor limitations, the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle still stands as a cost-effective and efficient choice for home automation aficionados.
Compatibility with Zigbee2MQTT: work in progress
Currently, the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle is incompatible with the stable release of Zigbee2MQTT. However, there's a silver lining for those eager to use the dongle with Zigbee2MQTT: support for EFR32 chips, including those utilizing EmberZNet v8, is under development.
For the adventurous, there is an option to use the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle with Zigbee2MQTT by switching to the dev branch. Keep in mind, though, that this branch might not offer the stability you'd expect from a finalized release. As such, it's best to exercise caution and stay informed about any updates regarding compatibility between the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle and Zigbee2MQTT.