Aqara Camera Hub G3 – test of the smart surveillance camera

From Aqara there is recently the Camera Hub G3 Security Camera. In the interior, this can not only be used with remote access and motion and person detection. As a Zigbee hub, it also offers the option of connecting up to 128 other Aqara devices. The Aqara Camera Hub G3 itself can be used in many different ways, for example with Apple HomeKit Secure Video, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Aqara also has its own app, with which not only access to the live image works, but also control of the 360° swiveling camera. More details in the following test report.

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Aqara Camera Hub G3 review with technical data, setup tips, app usage, use with HomeKit and Siri and other information about the smart surveillance camera.

Aqara Camera Hub G3 review with technical data, setup tips, app usage, use with HomeKit and Siri and other information about the smart surveillance camera.

Transparency notice: Get a free device for testing

As in February mentioned, the manufacturer Aqara sent me the Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera for a test report. However, I will not be forced to make the following statements positive just because I received the device free of charge. There are certainly points of criticism that I express as such. And also in all other points you can be sure that they are based on my experience and not on the manufacturer's specifications.

Aqara Camera Hub G3 Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Aqara
  • Model: Camera Hub G3 / CH-H03
  • Device Type: Surveillance Camera and Zigbee Hub
  • Dimensions: 12,3 x 8,5 x 6,7 cm
  • Power supply: mains connection, no battery
  • Camera resolution: 2K (2.304 x 1.296 pixels)
  • Camera View Angle: 110°
  • Camera pan: 340°
  • Camera tilt: 45° total, of which 30° up and 15° down
  • Night Vision: Yes, but less detail is visible at greater distances
  • People, pets and gesture recognition: Yes, thanks to integrated AI
  • Intercom function: Yes, microphone and speaker are built-in
  • Installation help: 1/4 inch thread on the bottom
  • Storage: microSD card up to 128 GB can be used (exFAT or FAT32)
  • Radio connection: Zigbee 3.0, IEEE 802.15.4, WLAN with Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/a/ac over 2,4 GHz and 5 GHz (supports WP3)
  • Compatibility: Zigbee, HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, infrared remote controls, Apple Home App, Aqara Home App, etc.
  • Box contents: Aqara Camera Hub G3, power adapter, power cable (USB-A to USB-C), user manual

Note on HomeKit mode: Only a few functions of the G3 can be used here because HomeKit does not support them. For example, pan and tilt cameras are not compatible with HomeKit, so users must use the Aqara Home app for pan and tilt control.

Setting up the Aqara Camera Hub G3 security camera

Personally, I only tested the camera aspect of the device because I simply don't have any other Zigbee devices to integrate into the network built by the hub. But I'm sure that it works quite easily and works stably. With regard to the camera and its use, however, a setup is required first. This works via the Aqara Home App, but also via the Apple Home App - for example on the iPhone. There you can scan the QR code printed on the bottom of the device and use it as a shortcut to register the device. 

Thanks to the HomeKit QR code on the bottom of the device, it is quickly added to the Apple Home app.

Thanks to the HomeKit QR code on the bottom of the device, it is quickly added to the Apple Home app.

What I immediately noticed negatively was the limited use of the HomeKit mode. This can also be selected via the Aqara Home app, so you can use the Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera via Apple's Home app. However, several functions are missing, such as the ability to pan and tilt the camera. If you want to move the camera from your smartphone to take a virtual look around, you have to create an account with Aqara and unlock the functions in the in-house app.

You keep reading "Sign in" when you want to use the functions of the Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera in the Aqara Home app.

You keep reading "Sign in" when you want to use the functions of the Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera in the Aqara Home app.

After I hadn't found a workaround for this, I lost interest in the camera and the test. Why do you have to give up your data if you want to use all the functions of a (usually purchased) device? I can't think of that. After creating a user account with a disposable e-mail address, I had an account and I was finally able to use the functions that went beyond pure video transmission. What do you think about such an account compulsion? Feel free to leave a comment on the topic!

You can use a disposable address for the account. Once you have logged in and added the camera as a device, you can finally use all the functions.

You can use a disposable address for the account. Once you have logged in and added the camera as a device, you can finally use all the functions.

Use of the surveillance camera via Aqara Home App

As already shown, you can also use the Aqara Camera Hub G3 by scanning the QR code on the bottom of the device in Apple's Home app. You have access to the camera image and two-way communication, but nothing more. So I created an Aqara account, entered the code that was sent via email, entered the WiFi data, scanned the QR code on the iPhone display with the camera and then we could finally get started. In the Aqara Home app you can finally rotate the camera and tilt it up or down. You can also start recording, zoom into the picture, use the intercom function, etc.

While you can only use the camera stream and the intercom function in the Apple Home app, you can do more in the Aqara Home app - control, automation and more.

While you can only use the camera stream and the intercom function in the Apple Home app, you can do more in the Aqara Home app - control, automation and more.

I noticed a delay in the controls. If you press a virtual button for left, right, up or down, the camera doesn't react immediately, but only after almost a second. My tip is to just stay on the button and only release it just before the desired position. With a little practice it works quite well. What also works well is the intercom function. The audio quality is good, only the transmission has latency. In any case, I think the sleep function is positive, since the camera is turned inside the device and the transmission is stopped. The device then shows closed eyes.

When the camera is in sleep mode, its lens is turned inwards to ensure that no pictures are taken. A "mouth" can be seen under the sleeping eyes - this is the slot for the microSD memory card.

When the camera is in sleep mode, its lens is turned inwards to ensure that no pictures are taken. A "mouth" can be seen under the sleeping eyes - this is the slot for the microSD memory card.

By the way, you can also use the Aqara Home app in landscape format to enlarge the camera stream. The intercom function, photo and video recording and other options can also be used. To control the camera, you can simply swipe on the video stream, i.e. rotate and tilt the camera with your finger. This then also happens with a delay and only gradually. Even if you swipe from the far left to the far right, the camera only rotates a small amount. The resolution (1296p or 720p) can also be selected in all display modes.

Choosing the resolution, controlling the camera, using the microphone and speakers, and taking pictures – all of this also works in landscape format.

Choosing the resolution, controlling the camera, using the microphone and speakers, and taking pictures – all of this also works in landscape format.

I also found it positive that you can access the camera from several devices and through different apps at the same time. After setting it up on the iPhone in both the Aqara and Apple apps, I was able to take control on the iPhone and see it all on the MacBook in the Home app. This allows access from different locations or by several people in the household. 

The screenshot shows: Using the Aqara Home App to control the camera while watching the video transmission on the Mac via the Apple Home App.

The screenshot shows: Using the Aqara Home App to control the camera while watching the video transmission on the Mac via the Apple Home App.

Short test of the Aqara Camera Hub G3 with Siri

The connection to Siri also worked quite well with the Aqara Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera in the test. I first put the device to sleep with the Aqara Home app (camera was turned inside the device), then closed the app and then said: "Hey Siri, show me the living room." (The command may differ depending on the assigned room) . Siri then opened the Home app, "woke up" the camera, and transmitted the live image. After closing the Home app, the camera automatically went back to sleep mode.

More features of Aqara Camera Hub G3

In addition to live access for manual real-time monitoring, the device also offers automatic AI functions for home monitoring and smart home automation. Faces can be detected for surveillance, and the camera can automatically follow people and pets (dogs and cats). The integrated siren can go off for people or unfamiliar faces (depending on the previous setting). In addition, push notifications or "critical information" can be sent. The latter show a message and play a signal on the iPhone, even if the sound is turned off or the Do Not Disturb feature is activated. That makes sense in the event of a burglary.

When setting up the camera and its security system, you'll be asked if you want it to send you "Critical Alerts," messages that can bypass mute and other do not disturb settings.

When setting up the camera and its security system, you'll be asked if you want it to send you "Critical Alerts," messages that can bypass mute and other do not disturb settings.

After the monitoring functions for emergencies, let's move on to the automation for everyday life in the smart home. For example, five gestures (V made of index and middle finger, four fingers, five fingers, finger gun or OK sign) can be used to trigger an automation with the connected smart home devices. But face or pet recognition can also be used. Loud noises, movements or actions of other devices (sensors, etc.) can also serve as triggers for automated actions. The camera doesn't have to be actively involved, it can simply serve as a hub for other devices (not tested as I don't have any other devices handy).

You can set up automations in the Aqara Home app. The Aqara Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera not only serves as a hub for up to 128 devices, but can also be used as a trigger - e.g. B. by recognizing image content such as gestures.

You can set up automations in the Aqara Home app. The Aqara Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera not only serves as a hub for up to 128 devices, but can also be used as a trigger - e.g. B. by recognizing image content such as gestures.

Status indication by LED light on the button

For the sake of completeness, I would like to mention that the device has a button on the front for various functions (to pair with the WLAN and the app, you have to press it for 10 seconds, for example). The button is surrounded by an LED light ring that can display different colors and flashing modes. These have different meanings:

  • Yellow light: start-up
  • Yellow light blinking fast: Waiting for network connection
  • Yellow light flashing slowly: A firmware update is in progress
  • Blue light: normal operation
  • Blue light flashes quickly: connecting to the network
  • Blue light flashes slowly: successful network connection and account connection
  • Red light: Live video is being streamed / actively viewed in the app
  • White light: Commissioning without a network
  • Flashing purple light: Adding devices (Zigbee network)

Test conclusion for the Aqara Camera Hub G3 surveillance camera

If you need a surveillance camera for your apartment or house to keep an eye on certain rooms, surprise intruders with a siren, receive a notification and more, then this model is definitely a good investment. You can get the device from Amazon for just under 100 euros. In addition, the hub function for compatible devices, the automations via the Aqara Home app and the gesture, face and animal recognition are quite nice. Control, recording functions, intercom function and Co. are intuitive. The biggest point of criticism for me is the account binding when activating the functions.

3,00 EUR
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