Aqara's Camera E1 is a new addition to the smart home camera space, offering a range of key features including 2K resolution, pan and tilt, support for HomeKit Secure Video, and more.

Aqara Camera E1
The Camera E1 emerges as a noteworthy option in Aqara's lineup of smart home cameras, especially for those seeking a balance between functionality and affordability. Priced at $59.99, this camera positions itself in a competitive spot in the market, particularly for a device with 2K resolution, pan and tilt, and ‌HomeKit Secure Video‌ support.

The Aqara Camera E1 boasts a sleek and modern design. Its compact form factor makes it suitable for various placements around the home. Whether placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall, the camera can be easily adjusted to capture the desired view.

The camera features a privacy mode, which physically reorients the camera lens away from the viewing area. This design choice reassures users through its visible action — a clear indicator that the camera is not recording or monitoring.

aqara camera e1 box
Setting up the Aqara Camera E1 with Apple HomeKit is straightforward. With the Camera E1 powered and placed in its intended location, setup begins by scanning the ‌HomeKit‌ setup code found on the camera, like many other smart home accessories. This can be done directly through the Home app by tapping "Add Accessory" and using the iOS device's camera to scan the code.

Once the camera is recognized by the Home app, it prompts you to assign the camera to a room and give it a name. While you can adjust settings such as the status light and stream quality via the Home app, setting up the Camera E1 directly with ‌HomeKit‌ might limit access to some of its features compared to the full range available through the Aqara Home app. Essential functionalities such as live streaming, two-way audio, and motion-triggered notifications are still accessible in the Home app.

The camera features a 2K video resolution, which provides exceptionally clear and detailed images and sets it apart from many HomeKit-compatible cameras that only offer 1080p. This high resolution, combined with a wide-angle f/2.0 lens, ensures that users receive a clear and comprehensive view of their home environment.

The Camera E1 is also equipped with concealed infrared night vision. The invisible infrared LEDs ensure that the camera can capture clear footage even in low-light conditions without the obtrusive glow often associated with night vision cameras.

aqara camera e1
Unlike many ‌HomeKit‌ cameras in this price range, the Aqara Camera E1 offers pan and tilt capabilities, greatly expanding its field of view and monitoring capabilities. The mechanism operates very quietly, ensuring that the camera's movements are discreet.

The Camera E1 supports ‌HomeKit Secure Video‌, enabling it to detect distinct motion types such as people, animals, and vehicles, and store the recorded footage securely in iCloud. Users can tailor notifications to their preferences based on the type of motion detected.

Like many Aqara accessories, the Camera E1 appears to have very steady network connection and good stream quality. Compared directly to a Logi Circle View, it performed noticeably better on the network.

Final Thoughts and How to Buy

Overall, Aqara's Camera E1 is a compelling HomeKit-compatible smart home camera at an affordable price point. With its 2K resolution, pan and tilt, the ability to physically reorient for privacy, reliable network connectivity, and support for ‌HomeKit Secure Video‌, the Camera E1 is a robust addition to any smart home set up.

Buyers should be aware that ‌HomeKit Secure Video‌ is limited to 1080p resolution, meaning that if this is your main use-case, you will be unable to take full advantage of the camera's hardware. In addition, like many ‌HomeKit‌ accessories, far more expansive capabilities are offered by the manufacturer's own app, with only limited control in the Home app.

The Aqara Camera E1 is available from Amazon in North America and Europe, as well as selected Aqara retailers worldwide, for $59.99.

Note: Aqara provided MacRumors with a Camera E1 for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

ChromeAce Avatar
8 months ago
This review lacks some key information: what features are only available in the Aqara app? How does pan/tilt work? Can it automatically follow motion?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seek3r Avatar
8 months ago
Looks compelling, one question I would have is can this have its firmware updated manually without giving it external network access? I only give external access to any IoT device I have through homekit. Devices themselves get isolated on a VLAN with no egress
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
8 months ago

This review lacks some key information: what features are only available in the Aqara app? How does pan/tilt work? Can it automatically follow motion?
Yea, given how limited HomeKit's video adaptation is I am willing to bet money that the tilt function will not be controllable via Home. At least not at this stage.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mickobizzle Avatar
8 months ago

Looks compelling, one question I would have is can this have its firmware updated manually without giving it external network access? I only give external access to any IoT device I have through homekit. Devices themselves get isolated on a VLAN with no egress
nice one, seek3r. A roundabout way of explaining that this device and those by Aqara will "phone home" to the manufacturer's servers in China, combined with a nice suggestion for how to protect your privacy in a general way by leveraging a VLAN.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrRom92 Avatar
8 months ago
This basically looks like a pared down version of the Aqara G3… I’d like to see an option that has even more features, not less! It really is a great camera.

Zigbee hub? IR blaster? HKSV? Pan and tilt? All really great features. Which I all use daily. I love it! But if they were to improve it, I’d like to see
• better optics/higher res sensors with perhaps more clarity and dynamic range.
• Better microphone (with less aggressive or software-defeatable noise reduction)
• Louder speaker for 2 way audio
• thread support, to further strengthen that mesh network - too few devices support thread.
• And the option to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of just WiFi

If they come out with an improved model I can see myself moving my G3 to another room in my house and upgrading to the new one in the main living space where it’s particularly needed.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dominiongamma Avatar
7 months ago
Until HomeKit gives us more access to features for cameras then it’s a no buy
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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