Smart security cameras are a dime a dozen these days and although the Aqara Camera Hub G3 is that, it is also much more – and that’s what makes it so good. The Aqara Camera Hub G3 is an IP camera that doubles as a ZigBee 3.0 hub for the HomeKit and Aqara ecosystem – oh and it’s an infrared remote control too.
Open up the box and you are greeted by a strange cat-looking camera which reminded me of the Arlo baby camera. The camera has silicon cat ears which can be removed if you prefer it as just a plain camera – I’m not entirely sure why the ears are included anyway given that the camera is not designed for kids and there are undoubtedly many houses where a camera with cat ears fits in with the decor.
The Camera Hub G3 supports a decent 2K 2304×1296p resolution which is a surprise given it’s not from one of the more well-known smart camera companies. The camera is not just a camera but an AI-powered smart camera with smarts that you’d expect from a company such as Google, not Aqara.
With an NPU-equipped processor inside the camera is able to perform various AI functions – all on-device and not in the cloud like some other security cameras. It is actually quite good at its AI functionality too with its ability to pick out human tracking, face detection, dog and cat tracking and gesture recognition. The Camera Hub G3 was able to perform all of the above accurately and consistently – of course you can set the time that you want this to occur so that you don’t get excessive notifications when there are people around (that are meant to be around).
Setting up the camera was super simple with the camera detecting a QR code on your phone’s Aqara app and then automatically connecting and adding the camera to the app. A nice way to perform it and different to most smart devices — it was a super simple and streamlined process.
Once set up you can leave the camera to do all the detecting and following of movement by itself or you can move the camera around yourself using the controls in the app. You can also set predefined positions for the camera so it can be quickly moved to the view you want it to see. Handily the combination of the 110-degree wide angle lens and its tilt and pan function supports a 360-degree viewing angle.
You can set the automatic tracking to track either humans or dogs and cats – but not both at once. Tracking humans and dogs worked well, even when carrying a small puppy or a dog flying around on the floor.
The camera captures 2K 1296p resolution images and includes infrared night vision LEDs for some pretty amazing, relatively clear night time images. As you can see in the images below the night images that were taken in pretty much pitch black night are fairly detailed. If you want some privacy from the camera it just slides out of the way, with the camera hidden behind the physical “helmet.”
The camera can recognise gestures to perform quick actions/automation when it sees you make those gestures. This is especially handy if you have more than one Aqara product – unfortunately, although the camera hub supports Zigbee it only supports Aqara Zigbee products it seems.
As mentioned above everything is kept on-device. There are no cloud subscription services that will cost you an arm and a leg in ongoing expenditure but instead the videos are saved to the device via an installed microSD card (not included). These videos and snapshots can be viewed from anywhere with an Internet connection without a subscription – this is definitely a huge plus.
The other big plus and may mean little to some of you but I love is the infrared remote control functionality. My Camera Hub G3 is set up in the kitchen, where I often want to turn on the TV but unfortunately the remote is, well, very remote from where I am. Now I can use the Aqara app and the camera hub G3 to turn the TV on and control it – the app actually has more functionality than the Samsung TV remote that came with the TV. It was an easy set up too so it’s a huge win here for Aqara.
So how much, where can you buy it and is it worth it?
The Aqara Camera Hub G3 is available now from Bing Lee, Ebay Official Store, Mwave, Shopping Express, Wireless 1, Centre Com now for just $194.99. At that price it seems to be less than some of the more feature-heavy cameras and considering the on-device AI features, the excellent night vision and daytime smart tracking of people and pets. Add in that is a Zigbee 3.0 hub and can perform as an infrared remote control and it’s an amazing value.
There are no ongoing costs associated with the device, no subscription fees, just the price of electricity to run it day to day. Just stick a microSD card in it and you are set to save all the videos and pictures you want along with access them and the camera from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. So, yes, I’d say it is worth it.
This Aqara Camera Hub G3 has found a permanent place in my home, even with my 11 Ring camera located around the house — this is one camera I will be recommending to others to check out if they don’t want ongoing subscriptions and a smart security camera in their home.