One could say that Zigbee 3.0 dreams come in shapes and sizes, at least in my case, where Aqara's upgrade of their affordable Zigbee-enabled sensors, such as the Cube, Motion Sensor, and Door/Window Senros, to Zigbee 3.0 has been a long-standing aspiration. Zigbee 3.0 is predicted to be the missing puzzle piece, resolving compatibility issues between Aqara's battery-powered sensors and other Zigbee devices. However, there's a twist in the tale.
Introducing Aqara T1 and E1 sensors
In the Aqara realm, the T1 series has been a familiar face for over a year, boasting an array of sensors and buttons. The line-up includes a motion sensor, button, water leak sensor, door/window sensor, thermometer, and the notorious Aqara Cube. The only hiccup? Their limited availability, confined to mainland China, making them a scarce commodity for the rest of the world. Even on global platforms like AliExpress, they make sporadic appearances.
Given their elusive nature, it's a safe bet that the T1 series might remain a Far East exclusive. However, the E1 series seems poised to break these geographical boundaries. Presently, the window/door sensor from this series can be bagged from AliExpress, soon to be joined by the Water Leak Sensor E1.
Joining the E1 duo in the Zigbee 3.0 league are the already available Aqara Indoor Air Quality Monitor, Single Switch Module T1 (exclusive to Europe), and Aqara Smart Wall Switch E1. My personal watchlist, however, features the much anticipated upgraded cubes and motion sensors.
Meet the opulent Aqara P1
June 2021 saw Aqara unveil yet another Zigbee 3.0 friendly line, the P1 series, which is a cut above the rest. The Aqara Indoor Air Quality Monitor is the maiden product from this high-end range. With its widespread availability in Europe and the Americas, one can only hope that the forthcoming motion and door/window sensors follow this trend.
The Aqara Door and Window Sensor P1 touts a battery life that stretches up to five years, a claim that seems plausible given its larger, tubular design which accommodates a CR123A battery. In contrast, the standard sensor can chug along for several years on a tiny button cell. The P1 sensor also adds a layer of security with its tamperproof feature and ability to sound an alert when it senses movement.
The Aqara Motion Sensor P1, on the other hand, keeps us guessing. Given its larger size, it's reasonable to speculate that it too offers an extended battery life. A striking feature is the visible light sensor perched above the lens for the PIR sensor. However, the sensor's full capabilities remain a mystery.