Sensible expertise with movement and lightweight sensor Aqara P2

Based mostly on Akara threads Movement and lightweight sensor P2 ($33.99) has been on my good house want checklist ever because it was introduced again in 2022 – and now this lastly Right here. My house is supplied with movement sensors and I’ve been utilizing Aqara Zigbee primarily based sensors for a few years. They’re amongst my favorites due to their low value, small measurement, simplicity, and excessive reliability. However they require a hub, which provides complexity and makes them troublesome to suggest.

What makes the brand new P2 totally different is that it makes use of Matter on high of thread as an alternative of Zigby. Which means that, in concept, it’ll instantly connect with your good house platform of selection – Apple Dwelling, Amazon Alexa, Google Dwelling, and so forth. – no Aqara Zigbee hub required. It is also $10 cheaper than Eva Movement ($49.95), the one Thread/Matter movement sensor accessible at present.

I’ve had the P2 put in in my good house for a few days, and functionally it is the identical nice Aqara movement sensor that I do know and love. In virtually each means the P2 is an identical P1 movement sensor primarily based on Zigbee from Aqara ($24.99); all that has modified is the connectivity and battery life. However in my quick time with it, I did not discover that the addition of Materia and Thread made a lot of an enchancment, and in some respects (battery life specifically) they made issues worse.

Movement and lightweight sensor Aqara P2.

Aqara got here up with a movement sensor design a few years in the past and it was not profitable. The P2 options the identical common stand because the P1, which lets you swivel and tilt the sensor 360 levels to get the proper area of view. Its flexibility permits for better vary than my different favourite Zigbee primarily based sensor – Philips Hue movement sensor ($44.99) with magnetic mount.

The P2 is simple to mount to a wall or ceiling due to the included adhesive pads; you possibly can even connect it below furnishings, which is troublesome to do with the large Eve Movement. I want to see an possibility with screw fastening – my husband actually doesn’t like placing tape on our painted partitions. However there’s additionally an possibility to easily place it on a flat floor and never use the mount in any respect.

Aqara P2 has the identical design and versatile mounting as P1.

The P2 has the identical wide-angle PIR sensor and ambient gentle (lux) sensor because the P1, and might equally detect movement as much as 23 toes and over 170 levels horizontally. Its built-in gentle sensor can be utilized to automate Apple Dwelling and SmartThings. (It reveals up in Google Dwelling, however it might probably’t be used as a set off, and it is not in Alexa in any respect.) It is helpful for mechanically decreasing curtains when it will get too vivid, or for turning on lights solely after they fall under a sure brightness degree. The P1’s gentle sensor solely works within the Aqara app and isn’t accessible on third-party platforms, so the P2 has a bonus right here.

The P2 Gentle Sensor can be utilized to automate Apple Dwelling and SmartThings.

However oddly sufficient, since it is a Matter system, the P2 would not work with the Aqara app in any respect. This implies you possibly can’t entry the system’s settings to regulate issues like movement sensitivity vary and retrigger time (these are set to 16.4 toes and 30 seconds by default), which is a helpful function of the P1.

P2 will work with the Aqara app by way of its new Matter/Hub Thread M3 will come this spring. However you then’ll have to purchase one other Hub to get the total performance of this system, which sort of negates the principle purpose for purchasing it over the P1. Ideally, Matter will ultimately add help for altering some of these settings to its specification, so we do not have to make use of vendor apps as effectively. However I am not holding my breath on this.

Discover the distinction: P2 (left) and P1 (proper). The one exterior variations are a faint Matter brand and pairing code printed on the high of the P2, in addition to some new stickers on the again.

To make use of P2 at present you will have Matter Controller out of your chosen good house platform and Stream Border Router. I set it up utilizing Samsung SmartThings by way of Galaxy S22 and it related simply to my SmartThings Station, which is a Matter controller and a Thread border router. (The brand new HomePods and Apple TV 4K do an identical double responsibility for the third-generation Apple Dwelling. Echo Present 8 And Fourth technology echo for Alexa and Google Nest Hubs for Google Dwelling.)

I arrange the automation in order that P2 activates the kitchen lights when movement is detected; when the sunshine degree falls under a set threshold between 16:00 and 19:00; and activate dimming when movement is detected at night time. I additionally set the automated “no movement detected” in order that the sunshine turns off after 10 minutes if there is no such thing as a motion. All of it labored as anticipated and the response time was very quick.

Nevertheless, after establishing P2 in SmartThings, I used to be unable to get Multiplayer Matter function work. This could enable me to make use of the system with different platforms reminiscent of Apple Dwelling, Dwelling Assistant and Google Dwelling. (I already wrote about issues I encountered when working with a number of directors.)

I additionally tried including the P2 on to all 4 main platforms, and though I related the P2 to Google Dwelling and Alexa utilizing an Android telephone, my iPhone 15 Professional refused to attach it to Apple Dwelling, Alexa, or Google Dwelling.

P2 subsequent to the Philips Hue Movement sensor (left) and Eve Movement (proper). Its compact measurement makes it simpler to put in tight areas, reminiscent of below furnishings.

That is in all probability not Akara’s downside. I bumped into lots of issues including Matter gadgets to Apple Dwelling, particularly thread-based gadgets. Even after I related them, I had bother with Thread devices just like the Eve Movement and Nanoleaf Necessities Thread bulbs going offline. In distinction, my Zigbee-based Hue and Aqara movement sensors have by no means let me down (until somebody disabled their hub), and so they have been working in my house for a number of years.

Since troubleshooting thread connection issues is sort of unattainable, I have never been capable of pinpoint the trigger, though I’ve my suspicions. Threaded curbs from totally different producers we nonetheless do not work collectively, and a number of Thread networks in my home are in all probability complicated me. The excellent news is that the thread group engaged on fixing all these issues. The dangerous information is that there is no such thing as a clear timetable for once we will see these options in actual life.

I am having bother including Matter gadgets to Apple Dwelling, particularly thread-based gadgets.

This brings me to my different Matter-over-Thread-related disappointment with the P2: battery life. It runs on two CR2450 batteries, and Aqara guarantees a battery lifetime of as much as two years, which is considerably lower than the P1’s 5 years. I assume that is the value you pay for all times with no hub. The processing energy required by Matter and the flexibility of this system to speak to a number of ecosystems by way of Thread quite than a single Zigbee hub is probably going why this quantity has greater than halved, however I will have to check this for for much longer to make a name on about this.

Whereas I recognize Aqara’s efforts in shifting Thread and Matter ahead and making ready us for the good house of the longer term, the $25 Zigbee P1 is the most suitable choice at present should you’re in search of a quick, dependable movement sensor. The primary purpose to think about the P2 is that should you want entry to this gentle sensor in a sensible house platform (though you possibly can’t use it in Alexa or Google Dwelling), you simply do not feel like shopping for Akara hubor you understand you’ve gotten a very steady community of threads.

Picture by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy/The Verge

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