Aqara breaks ground with its first global launch of a Matter over Thread sensor

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Get ready, home automation enthusiasts! Aqara, a household name in the Home Assistant and greater home automation community, is gearing up to take the world by storm with their latest release—the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2. This isn't just another sensor; it's Aqara's debut in the realm of Matter over Thread sensors. It promises to deliver the same energy efficiency as its Zigbee counterpart, with the added bonus of compatibility with any Thread Border Router you've already got humming in your smart home.

The inside scoop on the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2

This new kid on the block won't just support Thread, but also Bluetooth Low Energy. Although, don't get too excited—this feature is solely for the purpose of simplifying the Thread setup and integrating the device into your Matter network.

Powering this nifty gadget is a CR123A battery – a refreshing change from the usual button cells we've come to anticipate from Aqara. With a capacity of around 1550 mAh, this power pack should keep the sensor up and running for years, although, as always, this is dependent on usage, the specific Thread Border Router you're using, and its distance from the sensor.

Size-wise, the sensor measures a compact 77 × 22 × 22 mm, with the magnet coming in at 36 × 11.5 × 7.3 mm. The package will include the necessary stickers for secure placement of the sensor and magnet, as well as a couple of flat magnets.

Use cases of the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2
How Aqara pictures you using the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2

Unpacking the Thread Border Router

For the uninitiated, a Thread Border Router is a crucial component that helps a Thread network shake hands with other IP-based networks, like Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This electronic social butterfly is essential for a Thread network to communicate with other networks. Certified products include the Aeotec Smart Home Hub, Google Nest WiFi Pro, and the SmartThings Hub, among others.

Products like the fourth-gen Echo smart speaker, even if they're not certified yet, can also act as Thread Border Routers. Similarly, the HomePod mini and the new Apple TV 4K can weave Thread-enabled accessories into the HomeKit tapestry.

The Home Assistant SkyConnect, while currently lacking Thread support, is set to receive a firmware upgrade in the near future that will allow it to juggle Zigbee and Thread on a single chip. So watch this space, folks!

Upcoming tweaks for the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2

Aqara is gearing up to roll out an array of new features, all set to be delivered via over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates. But let me just put a quick disclaimer here—it's never a good idea to invest in a product solely based on promised features. If any of these forthcoming features are deal-breakers for you, it's probably best to hold off until they're officially integrated or consider other options.

One feature that's not going to be immediately available at launch is a tamper alarm—a pretty essential tool for those on the hunt for door and window sensors. This handy feature will send you an alert if any sneaky individuals try to remove the sensor, presumably in an attempt to break into your home.

Aqara is also reportedly working on a couple of other enhancements, including the ability to tweak the sensor's sensitivity and a programmable button. The latter could serve as an SOS button or trigger any script you've programmed into it.

What's presently a little murky is whether these features are absent due to the device being hurriedly pushed out, or if it's a constraint of Thread/Matter. It's common knowledge that other sensors, like the top-notch Aqara Presence Sensor FP2, haven't yet jumped on the Matter bandwagon simply because there's no device category for such gadgets yet and the same could be happening here.

Gear up for the new Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2

Get ready to welcome another gem to your smart home collection, the Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2. This upcoming device is essentially a Thread-enabled upgrade of the much-loved P1. What's cool about this sensor? Well, not only does it have a knack for detecting movement, but it also gauges light intensity with quite the precision. That means it's a perfect fit for those of you looking to automate your lighting.

Anticipate the arrival of Aqara Hub M3 by year-end

Aqara isn't just sitting on its laurels with Thread sensors that play nice with hubs from Google, Amazon, Apple, or Home Assistant. The cat's out of the bag thanks to a Swiss retailer's product description revealing the forthcoming Aqara Hub M3. This hub won't just be Matter-enabled right from the unboxing; it'll also serve as a Thread Border Router.

However, there's a caveat: until this new hub hits the shelves, you won't be able to add the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2 or the Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2 to your Aqara Home app. It's like waiting for the final piece of your jigsaw puzzle, but the anticipation will only make the final picture—or in this case, your smart home—much more satisfying.

How much will Aqara's Thread-enabled sensors cost?

Swiss retailer Swiss-Domotique has just started shipping Aqara's Door and Window Sensor P2, and it's retailing at a cool CHF29.90. That's about $33 when you convert it into Uncle Sam's currency. Just a heads-up, these Swiss price tags come with taxes already rolled in. I'd love to give you a side-by-side comparison with the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P1, but alas, it's not sold in my neck of the woods. However, I've got a hunch that the forthcoming Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2 might be a touch pricier than its P1 sibling (which sells for CHF24.90). This is primarily because the P2 series, despite its misleading name, is actually a first-gen product. Moreover, its Thread-enabled chips are fresh off the tech press, which makes them a bit pricier than the older Zigbee 3.0.

Aqara's Thread-enabled tech: What's next?

Now that we've seen the launch of the Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2 and the impending arrival of the Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2, it's safe to assume that more of Aqara's fundamental sensors will be getting the Thread makeover. I'm talking about Aqara's vibration and temperature sensors, for starters.

Things get even more interesting as we move into speculation territory. There's a chance that Aqara may equip the recently released Aqara Cube T1 Pro with Thread. Why, you ask? Well, it's all thanks to the use of an NXP JN5189 microcontroller. This tech marvel is a Jack-of-all-trades, supporting both Zigbee 3.0 and Thread. However, there's a catch. While the Cube T1 Pro might have the right chip for the job, it's still up in the air if it meets other prerequisites, like having enough memory. So, while this is an exciting possibility, let's not count our tech chickens before they hatch.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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