While Xiaomi is a huge brand in its home country of China and many parts of Asia, it is virtually unknown in the US. For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, Xiaomi is probably most well known for coming up with high quality and high end Android smartphones that cost a fraction of other phones with similar hardware specifications. Of late, Xiaomi has branched off into other hardware products besides smartphones and it has recently released the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit, a collection of smart devices and sensors that allow you to set up your own smart home cum security system.
The Xiaomi Smart Home Kit comes in the standard brown sturdy recycled cardboard box that Xiaomi uses for all its products. It is about the size of a tissue box and much smaller than we expected. So are the devices inside the box. The kit consists of 4 components. The first is the puck-shaped hub called the Multifunctional Gateway that communicates and controls the entire smart home system.
Also in the box are a motion sensor, a door or window open/close sensor and lastly, a multi-purpose button. All the sensors and the button are wireless. They also come with sticky tape for you to stick the sensors to a door or window or wherever you want to detect motion. The sensors are all incredibly tiny compared to similar sensors that are used by other security systems we have seen.
The Multifunctional Gateway plugs directly into any power socket. Besides being a communications hub, the Gateway also acts as an LED lamp and a siren for the security system. An accompanying app has to be downloaded to your iPhone or Android phone that allows it to communicate with the gateway and setup the smart home system. Setup is fairly easy and takes just a couple of minutes. However, take note that the app is currently only available in Chinese although there are instructional videos on YouTube that can guide you through the entire process if you can’t read Chinese.
By default, the system is already set up to function as a home security system. All you have to do is decide which sensors triggers the alarm (open/close or motion or both) and arm the system using the app. You can also program the wireless button to arm the system with just a press of the button.
However, the true power of the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit is only unleashed by diving deep into the options in the app. The app allows the user to set up what it calls “scenes”. Scenes are a set of trigger and action task(s). The app comes with some preset scenes but you can also create your own. An example of a scene you can set up is to use the motion sensor to switch on the LED light on the Gateway so that it can be used as a night light for the kids room.
The Xiaomi Smart Home Kit also works with a number of other Xiaomi smart devices which at this moment includes a smart power plug, a light bulb and a air purifier. Combined with these other smart devices you can set up complex scenes such as switching on the purifier, lights and turning on the music player when you enter a room.
For those of you who are familiar with smart home systems, you will probably notice that none of the above features are really new. Previously, home security systems are not very user friendly and often times require professional services to set up especially with the wiring. With the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit, setting up the sensors literally takes minutes as no wiring is involved. Besides the language issue, configuring the system with the app is also dead simple.
However, the biggest selling point of the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit is probably its price. For the same price, you can probably buy just one of the sensors on a competing system but with the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit, you get an entire functioning security kit with hub, door sensor, motion sensor and a wireless button. Even if you don’t plan to have a full blown smart home system, the Xiaomi Smart Home Kit makes a nice budget security system for a small apartment especially a rental.
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