Highly configurable home automation with new Xiaomi Smart Home Kit | IT Gadget Review

[New Product, Smart Devices] When Xiaomi launched this new Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 at RMB 199 (S$45), one would ponder if it truly live up to its name for such an attractive price next to a typical wireless door bell set. As an existing user of Wemo home automation kit, I am a firm proponent that we can leverage technologies to improve our lives. Let’s take a peek at what the Mi Smart Home Kit can offer.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Main Image 2

 The packaging came no bigger than a regular log cake box, in typical recycled brown box material.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Packaging

 The full set comes with:

a. Main gateway (largest circular item) – controls each sensor (via Bluetooth) & interface with the app (through WiFi connection).
b. Motion sesnor
c. Door Window sensor
d. Button switch 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - unbox

 Personally, I am impressed how small the motion sensor is – x2 thumb sized and yet able to detect motion accurately within 1.5 meters. It is touted that the replaceable battery within the sensors can last ~2years in normal usage. The main gateway unit runs on AC power (100-240V), thus able to work out of China.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Full kit

 Similar to Yeelight bedside lamp, one can program the main gateway unit to emit highly configurable light colour permutation (1.6 million colours).

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Overview of sensors

 

You will need to download the Mi Smart Home app which is available in both iOS AppStore and Android Play Store. Currently the Mi Smart Home app can be used to connect and control several Mi Home Automation devices such as Mi Plug, Xiaomi Camera, Mi Air Purifier, Smart Home Kit and Midea Air Conditioner.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Setup (Pairing) 1

 

 Step 1 : Prepare the Mi Smart Home Kit – Main Gateway (Pairing Mode, Yellow Blinking light)

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Setup (Pairing) 2

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Setup (Pairing) 3

 Step 2: Verify pairing is completed with Main Gateway (Solid Blue Light)

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Setup (Pairing Completion) 1

 

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Setup (Pairing Completion) 2

Step 3: Install the motion sensor

Observe the pinhole of each sensor. This is used to initiate pairing for the sensor with the main gateway.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Motion Sensor

 One can use the 3M wall sticker to affix the sensor to any flat surface. For the motion sensor it is advisable to position it at height level to avoid any blind spots (areas not readily detected by the motion sensor).

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Motion Sensor 2

Step 4: Install the Door Window Sensor

The sensor relies on magnetic movements to capture the opening / closure of the door or window segments. It is advisable to position the smaller sensor of the pair on the segment which is more readily exposed to the exterior (exposure to rain / sun) since the bigger sensor has battery & circuitry enclosed.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Door Window Sensor

Step 5: Install the Button Switch sensor

Instead of deploying this to control connected devices (e.g. on Air Purifier or Main Gateway light) I have utilised this as a door bell since my existing one is defective.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Button Switch

 Replacing the battery within the sensor is also pretty straightforward. Twist it open and you will have access to it.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Button Switch (Battery Change)

 

 The accompanying Mi Smart Home App is also very intuitive. 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Overview of Automation App

 

Highlight 1 : Quick access to all connected Mi Smart Devices.

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Main Menu

 

Highlight 2 : Configuring the Main Gateway

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Clean setup

 You can program the :

a. Behaviour of the night light (duration, timing and even colour of the light).
b. Timing & sounds for the alarm (be it intruder alert or regular door chime mode)
c. Audible settings 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Configure Gateway

One can even buy a few sets of the sensors and air them to the same gateway. Simply initiate the pairing mode (pressing the pinhole button in desired sensor) and add ‘Sub Device’ in the Mi Smart Home App.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Pair New Sensor

 

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Pair new sensor (Completed)

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - All sensors connected

 Highlight 3 : Updating of firmware is OTA (over-the-air)

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - OTA Firmware updates

 

Highlight 4 : One very useful feature is the log of all activities tracked by each connected sensor, sorted in chronological order.

e.g for the Door Window sensor: 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Door Window sensor (Log)

 e.g. for the Motion Sensor:

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Motion Sensor (Log)

For first timers who have no clue on how to systematically program the home automation logic, Mi Smart Home app comes with pre-defined rule templates which you can immediately activated for all the connected Mi Smart devices.

e.g for Door Window sensor: (upon reach home mode, upon leave home mode, door open/close mode etc) 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Automation Logic Programming

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Pre-Defined Automation templates

 

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - automation templates by sensor type

 

 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Automation template (Door Window Switch)

e.g for Button Switch (i.e activate/deactivate any connected devices, door chime mode, alarm mode etc) 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Automation template (Button Switch)

 

 

lastly for the Motion Sensor (i.e. to turn on Mi Air Purifier if there is activity in living room, switch on all entertainment kits via Mi Plug etc) 

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Home Automation App - Automation template (Motion Sensor)

 

 

 The number of automation rules one can create is almost infinite, depending on the connected Mi Smart devices seen below:

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Devices connectivity

Right now, I am still creating my own smart home with these Mi Smart devices (Xiaoyi Camera, Yeelight Bedside Lamp and Mi Air Purifier). Hopefully one of these days  I can even program my home ceiling lights and kitchen appliances.

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Devices at home

 

In summary,

PROS:

a. Truly affordable start to home automation (~S$45 / USD 28). This far cry from a typical Wemo switch plug which already costs S$100 each.
b. Easy to setup with available rule templates.
c. Long battery life for the sensors (touted 2 years). Do note the main gateway runs on the AC Mains.
d. Compact size & elegant design.
e. Unified through a single Xiaomi account and setup is synchronised across the same Mi Smart Home App across multiple devices.
f. Able to easily share / assign controls to additional administrator using the same app.
g. Reliable sensory detections (so far). 

CONS:

a. Currently the android Mi Smart Home App has richer feature than the iOS version, but the former is only available in Chinese version.
b. Still lack of the ability to add on push notifications in the rule template.
c. Not IFTTT compliant, i.e. cannot control other IFTTT smart home devices apart from Xiaomi’s ones.
d. Not waterproof for the Door Window sensor – handle with care & caution if they are exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, enjoy the little comic include in the same packaging:

Mi Smart Home Kit 小米智能家庭套装 - Comic

 

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