I waited a long time for him. First until they give it away, later when it can be bought and finally how it will come to my door. I needed to know if he would solve all my problems! What will be the Xiaomi Gateway 3. Learn this from the review below in which we present the operation, functions and evaluation of this device for a smart home.
The expectations for the latest Xiaomi Gateway 3 Home Kit were very high. She made a huge impression on promotional materials. Possibility to connect 64 devices, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Mesh. The gateway uses all communication protocols, we do not have to plug it directly into the socket (thus it does not stick out from the wall). Just a fairy tale.
First impression with Xiaomi Gateway 3
The packaging and the execution of the gate itself is of the highest quality. The box is well thought out, a bit in the style of Apple. The HomeKit code is placed in the right place, and all cables for Xiaomi smart gateway devices are buried. Is great! The gate itself is also very pretty and completely minimalistic. A small, white block with one lamp at the front. Plus a micro usb cable (why not USB-C ?!) and a plug. Everything looks great.
It's easier with this gate because you don't have to insert it directly into the socket. You can connect a cable and put the gate itself on a shelf, for example. It looks much more aesthetic than Aqara Hub. We can easily put it next to Apple TV or set-top box and it will look beautiful as a kind of supervision center for a smart home.
This paragraph was never there because it was never needed. However, Xiaomi Gateway 3 forced it on us. This is because the first connection ended in a complete failure. The hub works on the principle that we add "baby" devices to it, such as sensors. So if you had a goal before, like Aqara Hub, then you have to remove them from there and add them to your goal. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, in practice, Xiaomi Gateway does not give up so easily.
The first problem after adding a gateway to the application, if you have it in Polish, is to understand what it is about. There are many functions and all in Chinese. Stamps literally flood the screen and you guess what's going on. After a while, however, you find the option to add a device and pair it. And here the problem begins. At first, it took me 2 hours to add the usual sensor for opening doors and windows! The sensor constantly disconnected from the gate, which was about a meter away from it ...
After a while, however, the sensor was added and could be added to one of four modes. I didn't have the slightest idea what they meant (Chinese stamps), so I connected to the first from the shore. It worked, though I don't know what. I started to add more water sensors. First first, then second. At that moment the first disappeared. So I added the first and third again. The second and the window sensor disappeared ... After a while, nothing worked anymore and the application was showing an error ... It was a signal that it was time to go to sleep and give him a chance the other day. My smart home had to wait some time - application support turned out to be beyond my strength.
Second try for Xiaomi Smart Home Kit
On the second day, I approached Xiaomi Gateway 3 with fresh energy with a clear goal. This time I can add all the sensors! However, something touched me and I decided that I would try to change the language to English. As a result, I got to know descriptions of individual functions that I can describe to you in the next paragraph. All sensors added without any problems and everything began to whisk. I don't know how the language change worked, but it worked. So I could add a sensor for temperature, movement or door opening.
Application Xiaomi Smart Home Kit
After changing the application language to English, translations of individual options appear, and there are a lot of them. At the beginning there are four alarm modes:
- Basic - the application works non-stop and sensors connect to it that detect danger without interruption. As part of the smart sensor set from Xiaomi, e.g. water flood sensors or smoke detectors are available.
- At home - sensors that are to activate the alarm when we are at home. E.g. some closed room? I had a little problem understanding this mode.
- Away (away from home) - sensors that are to activate the alarm when we are away from home. These can be door and window opening sensors (reed switches) or motion sensors.
- Sleep (during sleep) - sensors that are to activate the alarm when we are sleeping. They can also be door and window opening sensors (reed switches) or motion sensors.
Division is very complicated and this is a problem of the application used to operate the device. We need to add appropriate sensors to each alarm mode, in addition we can control volume and triggering for each of them. In Aqara Hub it worked automatically, I didn't have to trigger anything. For me it is an excess of form over content.
There are two more options below the alarm. Logs, a collection of actions that have been triggered, and adding "kids" devices.
In part of the gate settings we can, among others set options for individual operating modes and force pairing with HomeKit. Apart from these two options, there is nothing above the basis of Xiaomi options.
The last option is the bluetooth gateway. We can connect bluetooth devices to the gateway and control them remotely. This is a very big plus.
HomeKit and Xiaomi Gateway 3
The third generation gateway has HomeKit support, just like the previous version. What may surprise you at first is the lack of a gate among the devices visible on the plan of our house. The main difference between Xiaomi Gateway 3 and Aqara Hub: the first is the gate, and the second is the alarm with the gate function. HomeKit sees Aqara Hub as an alarm and therefore we can arm it this way. Xiaomi Gateway 3 is for HomeKit a gate that is invisible. To find it, we must go to the settings of our house and find it there.
Pairing devices with HomeKit is easy. The only problem is the lack of flooding sensors. Although I added them many times, they do not appear in HomeKit. All other sensors can be seen. What bothers me a lot is the inability to turn on the alarm. I have to enter Mi Home every time.
<Update - We already have integration with Home Assistant>
Thanks to Maciej, we already have a working way for integration with Home Assistant! However, it works only for iOS devices, because we have to use HomeKit.
All you need to do is enter the HomeKit code, which you will find on the bottom of the gate and in the box. All sensors that were previously added by HomeKit will also be visible in HA. This only applies to "children's" devices. Devices added via BLE gateway will not be visible this way.
Xiaomi Gateway 3 every day
How does the gate work after a few days of operation? Has its pros and cons. I have the impression that when it comes to connection stability, it is better than Aqara. It happened to me with Aqar that some device fell out of communication. With Xiaomi Gateway 3 this is not there. Unfortunately, this is the only big plus I see in the case of this goal.
I am very troubled by the inability to start the alarm from the Apple Dom application. I got used to it for months, and now it's gone. As a result, I have to enter the Mi Home application and turn it on from that level. I don't like the fact that my HomeKit doesn't have any water flood sensors. This is a bizarre situation for me.
The last shortcoming of the goal is a matter of alarm. The gate seems to be its function, but without the speaker's success. That is why we have prepared a special one guide, How to deal with this.
Sorry, but I'm coming back to Aqara Hub. The Xiaomi gateway is cool, but it has a few things that bother me. The application interface is recombined, and I miss the key functionalities in Apple House. Maybe with the next version Xiaomi will return to some proven ways, and in the meantime we are waiting for the Aqara M2 hub.
If you want to buy Xiaomi Gateway 3, you can do it by clicking this link.
Xiaomi devices on the Polish market in 2020
When reviewing Xiaomi Gateway 3 and discussing the Home Kit, it's worth discussing the subject of smart home in a broader sense. What Chinese manufacturer's equipment is currently available on the Polish market? Which devices deserve attention and command? These are the questions we will seek together in the continuation of this article.
Until recently, Xiaomi devices went to the Polish market only through AliExpress or the few sellers importing equipment from abroad. In 2020, this is a thing of the past - the possibilities of customers have significantly expanded, among others due to the opening of the official online store and showrooms. Xiaomi phones can be subscribed, and hence - the brand itself has gained much greater popularity. Even the most popular producers must have felt that a new competition is appearing on the Polish market, which is characterized by both a wide offer and a very important advantage in the form of a favorable price-quality ratio.
The Xiaomi brand allows more than just smart home equipment. Flagship and less known smartphones released in the Mi, Redmi and Pocophone collections have enjoyed great popularity for years. While cheaper variants are typically a budget proposal, the latest models calmly compete with much more recognized brands, even in terms of cameras or performance. A mobile device is also necessary to operate the smart home kit.
The Chinese manufacturer is more and more often mentioned in the context of other products, such as Mi LED TVs at attractive prices. Customers also receive proposals such as an Air 13,3 "laptop, wireless headphones and speakers, gimbals, projectors or sports cameras.
The key word in the context of discussing the next Xiaomi prime ministers on the Polish market should be the term "lifestyle". Backpacks, bags, suitcases or glasses open a long list of products that will be useful both in home life, as well as travel or work. Examples? They can be changed for a long time: tools, writing instruments, water filter, hair dryer, hand-held pump, power banks, cables and adapters, selfie sticks, sports bands, kettles. And to think that the choice on the Chinese market is much, much wider, because the Xiaomi philosophy assumes expansion in really many market segments.
That's how we make a circle, starting from the Xiaomi Smart Gateway review and returning to the Smart Home Kit issue. Intelligent devices that save time or increase security include:
- motion sensor,
- temperature sensor,
- door open sensor
and many others. The configuration of the smart sensor set opens further possibilities of controlling the smart home using the application. It is worth noting that the Chinese brand offers lighting elements, vacuum cleaners, electric vehicles, kitchen and bathroom equipment, routers and many, many other devices that you will connect within one, remotely managed and automated smart house system on the Polish market. Let me know in the comment if you are interested in other Xiaomi devices and we are preparing another review!