Aqara, the Chinese smart home company, is apparently preparing to launch a smart lock for the European market that will support Apple HomeKit and Home Key. The Aqara A100 Zigbee version is modeled on two other HomeKit compatible smart locks, but these are available mainly in China.
The Aqara A100 and A100 Pro are already available in mainland China. I have received detailed information on what is being named as the Aqara A100 Zigbee. Like the Aqara A100 Pro, the international version will support Apple Home Key.
Aqara A100 Zigbee Key details
- Works with HomeKit and Home Key
- Zigbee 3 and Bluetooth 5
- 9 Unlock methods
- Finger print reader and keypad
- Automations and control with other Aqara devices like the G3 camera, security systems and lighting products
- Manual key and USB-C battery backup
- 18 month battery life
- Keypad and fingerprint reader
- Remote password control
- Mortice style lock
The Aqara A100 Zigbee will be aimed at the European market based on sources who provided information. The smart lock will work with mortice lock systems, like the model available in China. But Aqara is said to be working on a lock that works with Euro style cylinders, which is more common in Euro and UK markets. The company could also be working on a North America variant, but details are not confirmed.
Aqara has built in 9 different ways to operate the A100 ranging from a keypad, fingerprint reader and manual key to allow entry. You can also use voice, HomeKit, Home Key and NFC cards. The company plans to sell NFC keycards separately that you can give to members of people that might not have a device that supports NFC.
Another interesting feature is the keypad only activates
Zigbee via Aqara Hub, but not Thread
In terms of connectivity, the Aqara A100 can connect either via Bluetooth 5.0 or Zigbee to an Aqara hub. Bluetooth is used for a direct connection to the phone. But a Aqara 3.0 hub is required for automation control.
Although not confirmed for this product, Aqara has confirmed that they are working on Matter and Thread. So technically the Aqara A100 could support Thread and Matter when it finally ships later in 2022.
Apple HomeKit and Home Key
The Aqara A100 Zigbee will be the company’s first lock to make use of Apple Home Key for international markets. Apple Home Key works in the same way as you do with a credit card in the Wallet App on your iPhone or Apple Watch. But in this case, you store a virtual Home Key in the Apple Wallet App. Then, using the power of NFC, you hold your iPhone or Apple Watch next to the A100 to open the lock.
Home Key has two modes for unlocking via your iPhone or Apple Watch. The first called Express Mode where you don’t have to unlock or authenticate your iPhone or Apple Watch. This will make it more convenient and it works in the same way as Express Transit mode. The second was is a little more secure and require Face ID or Passcode, which adds the step of authenticating with Face ID or Touch ID.
Another clever feature, if your phone or watch battery is dying, you can still unlock the door with the Power Reserve feature. This allows you to unlock your door for up to five hours after the red Power Reserve icon appears on an Apple Watch or iPhone.
The Aqara A100 will support HomeKit that will allow you to operate the smart lock using the Home App or Siri voice commands. You will also be able to include the A100 in HomeKit automations and scenes to control the smart lock.
HomeKit Virtual access codes
To make things easier for guests and visitors, Aqara will also allow you to create virtual codes. Using the new HomeKit guest access feature in iOS 15, you can create virtual key codes. So if a visitor like the dog walker arrives, they simply punch in the code on the keypad to gain access. Aqara is also working on adding access code support to its own app. Which will provide far more granular control over the codes. For instance, you can provide a code that only works at certain times and monitor usage.
The company also plans to sell NFC keycards separately that you can give to members of people that might not have a device that supports NFC.
Automations via the Aqara Hub
When used with an Aqara Hub, you can use the A100 with other Aqara products. For instance you could Arm and disarm the Aqara Alarm System automatically just by operating the handle.
You can also trigger automations based on whoever opens the door. So for instance if the children arrive home, then the lock would know who has entered and turn on devices specific to them
Aqara has designed the smart lock to be powered by 8 AA batteries, which Aqara claims can last over 18 months. Moreover, the A100’s battery pack is split into two groups, that can work independently and notify the user in case one of the groups is out of power. You also don’t need to be worried even if there’s no battery, you can power it by using a power bank via tvpe-C.
Aqara A100 international availability and price
Although the source could provide nothing concrete, we expect the Aqara A100 international to ship the first part of 2022. In terms of price, the source expects the international to be around €250 – €300 when it arrives later this year for the European market.
Once the Aqara A100 is available, I will, of course, publish a full review, so don’t forget to subscribe for to be notified of the latest HomeKit News, reviews and tutorials. If you have a question or a comment, then leave it below. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.