With what would seem to be a never ending release of HomeKit Secure Video cameras this summer. Up next is long awaited Aqara G2H HomeKit camera that I have been putting it through its paces over the past 6 weeks to bring you this review. The Aqara G2H features a 1080p camera with night vision and 140 FOV. It also features a Zigbee 3.0 hub which can expose select Aqara devices to HomeKit.
Before we get into the Aqara G2H review, this is the Chinese version of the smart camera and I have been using this as a HomeKit Secure Video camera only. The US version has arrived, which can be found on Amazon. While the functions of the cameras are identical, the Chinese version can only connect to the Chinese mainland server. Whereas the US version can connect to the US server. However, if you plan to use it directly in HomeKit, then both versions will function the same way.
For this review, Homekit Authority purchased this device. This will not affect my opinion wherever it is positive or critical of the device. You can read more on our review promise and ethics statement.
Aqara G2H Review details
- US version $69.99 from Amazon.com.
- Supports HomeKit Secure Video
- Local storage option
- Zigbee 3.0 hub
- 140° field of view
- Indoor use only
- Infrared motion sensor
- Night vision up to 5 meters
- Two-way communication with built-in microphone and speaker
- 360° x 180° flexible installation with magnetic base.
- WLAN (2.4 GHz)
In the box
The Aqara G2H comes boxed
- Aqara G2h camera
- Power brick (You will need to get a converter for EU and UK)
- USB power cable
- Metal plate for magnetic wall installation
- Adhesive pad for metal plate
- Quick Start Guide (Chinese)
Aqara G2H Review – Design and features
The Aqara G2H comes in 4 different colours, white, blue, orange and Yellow in a compact plastic design measuring 82.4×56.5×50.5mm. I went with the Yellow version as it reminds of a minion from one of my favorite animation films, Despicable Me.
Around the front you will find the lens which captures footage at 1080p and has a 140° field-of-view along with night vision. You will also find the infrared motion sensor along with a tiny LED status light.
Around the back of the camera you find the speaker along with a port for a micro USB which provides power. The dome of the camera you will find a button that is used to pair other Aqara devices.
The bottom of the G2H features the HomeKit code printed on a magnetic base. This base can be rotated 360 degrees and can be adjusted via a hinge. This allows you to place the camera on a surface or use the included wall mount to fix it to a wall.
Underneath the magnetic base is the slot for the MicroSD card, which supports 32GB when used with the Aqara App. You also have a small pin prick sized hole for resetting the camera. Finally Connectivity is via 2.4 GHz, which may bother some that would like 5GHz.
Aqara G2H Review – Setup
I set up the Aqara G2H up in my games room that I use for testing and reviews of HomeKit devices, particularly smart cameras. For reference, this room is about 9 meters long and 5 meters wide.
It is also worth mentioning that I used iOS 14 for the review on my iPhone. The reason being is that iOS 14 will bring some useful features relevant to this camera. But it did not affect the performance when compared with iOS 13.
As I was only using the camera in HomeKit, I opened up the Home app on my iPhone and scanned the pairing code. HomeKit will then find the camera, you then choose a name, assign it a room. Then choose setup preferences within HomeKit Secure video for its recordings and streaming options.
Aqara G2H HomeKit Secure Video
For the basics of HomeKit, I can view the camera live stream from the Home app and also use the push to talk button to talk to anyone near the camera. Because the camera’s motion sensor is exposed to HomeKit, this gives you the option to use this to trigger other HomeKit devices via automations. One thing to point out is how responsive the G2H is in HomeKit. The G2H is near instant when loading the live stream in the Home App.
But to take full advantage of this camera, you really need to use it with HomeKit Secure Video. To use this feature, you will need a HomeKit hub such as an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad. Plus, you will need an iCloud plan of 200GB for one camera and 2TB for up to 5 cameras. This will give you up to 10 days of saved footage and older clips will automatically delete on a rolling basis.
When you first setup or at any time you have the following options available.
- “Off”–You cannot view the stream, nor will it record.
- “Detect Activity” — Used to trigger automations or to send notifications. But you cannot view the stream, nor will it record and save to iCloud.
- “Stream”—You can view the stream, but it will not record. You can use this camera to trigger automations or to send notifications.
- “Stream and allow recording”—You can view the stream and it will record based on your settings. You can also use this camera for triggering automations or to send notifications.
In my testing for the review, I set the camera to stream and allow recording in both modes. This is because I wanted to see how well it worked, however if I was to use this for general use I would set it to off when people are at Home.
You can also turn the camera status light on and off and toggle the night vision, depending on your preference.
HSV control and playback
Tapping the live camera feed in the Home app will show you the timeline of activity recorded at the bottom. Apple has split these into events that help you identify them. Apple has split these into four categories which are people, animals, cars or a generic motion.
Selecting a clip will playback that clip and I found this responsive and played within seconds. You can also jump to live view to the left of the timeline. If you want to share the clip with family and friends, you can also open up the share sheet with various options presented.
I found that the G2H worked well with HomeKit Secure Video and it would do a good job at capturing motion.
Looking to the future with iOS 14
Although iOS 14 has not yet arrived, I have been testing it for a few weeks and used it with the Aqara G2H. This was mainly down to the fact that the G2H will enjoy one of the additional features, Activity zones if you use it only in HomeKit. This feature would be useful if you are using the camera is in your home and you only want to be alerted to motion in a particular area.
With iOS 14, you can define a zone, or multiple activity zones within the Home App. I have found this has reduced the number of alerts I received. So this feature will be an enormous benefit when it arrives later in 2020 as part of the improvements to HomeKit Secure Video in iOS 14.
Video and audio performance
The Aqara G2H captures footage at 1080p at 24 FPS, and I found the video quality is good when reviewed in the Home app. In fact, I would go as far as saying it’s one of the better cameras for daytime footage given its price point. But to give you some idea of how it performed under different daytime/lighting conditions, see below.
The video quality at night is good and does an excellent job of providing clear recordings. The room I tested in is 9 meters long and walking to the furthest point I could still make out objects. I also want to point out that despite its great night vision performance. The infrared lamps used for night vision, is the least intrusive on any indoor camera I have tested.
Aqara has also included a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, which is exposed in the Home app. During my testing for the review, the audio was clear and you can hear conversations when using this feature.
Aqara G2H zigbee hub
The Aqara G2H can act as a Zigbee hub to connect other Aqara devices. Although for this review, I only used HomeKit mode within the App. This does not prevent you from connecting devices such as the Aqara motion sensor to the G2H.
To add a device, press the pair button on the Aqara G2H 3 times. Then hold down the pair button down on the Aqara child device for 5 seconds. Once the device has been added, it will then appear in Home App. You can then assign the device to the correct room and start using it.
Although others have reported an issue with range with the G2H being used as a Zigbee hub. I have found no such problems. I tested it with my existing motion and leak sensors and found no issue compared to the Aqara hub. For reference, the furthest motion sensor is at least 15 meters away in a straight-line with multiple walls and appliances between both devices.
Aqara G2H Review Conclusion
Aqara has been around making smart home devices since 2015 and has made a name for itself by producing affordable HomeKit accessories. Although despite this, the company gets some bad press, particularly because of its roots linking it back to China. Which I feel is unwarranted as I use Aqara devices in my own, that I have bought myself, yes bought, not given to me to promote. Which I have had no issue with performance and quality, and the Aqara G2H did not disappoint in this review.
When I first removed the camera from its box, I was taken aback by the compact size of this device. The build quality of the G2H is exceptional and depending on the colour choice it could fit into most homes.
The video quality is outstanding and is enough to monitor your home with a good night vision capability. I also like the fact that despite the night vision performance the infrared LED’s that power the night vision are not intrusive.
Also, being a fan of HomeKit Secure Video, this is a big bonus for this smart camera. I also like that you can use this in HomeKit mode and it does not need an active internet connection, unlike the comparable priced Eufy indoor cameras. Which for me puts to bed the worries that people have over Aqara and collecting your data.
The other benefit of this camera for is the Zigbee 3 hub and connecting other Aqara devices. So, if you plan to buy more Aqara devices then you have a Zigbee and a HomeKit camera in one.
Normally this comes to the point when I say it is not all great for this camera. But genuinely I cannot find a fault with it. Yes, if you pushed me and asked, I could say some of Aqara’s quirks in the Aqara app in HomeKit mode. But this is not about the Aqara app, this is about the camera and how it works with HomeKit. So, In that regard, the performance has been rock solid.
The bottom line on this camera, it is a brilliant choice if you plan to use it with HomeKit Secure Video. Plus, when iOS 14 arrives later in the year, that will bring activity zones within the Home App. This will further give you more reason to buy this camera.
Aqara G2H Price and availability
The Aqara G2H is available from Banggood for £43, $59 and €47 for the version designed for mainland China. If you want the US version of the Aqara G2H camera, then it’s now available via Amazon.com for $69.99.
So that’s a wrap on the Aqara G2H review, and hopefully you have found it useful? If you have a question or a comment, then leave it below and don’t forget to subscribe for more HomeKit News.. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.