With its Mi Smart Sensor Set connected home kit, Xiaomi follows the credo of its smartphones: to offer the best of technology at the best price. Is the contract fulfilled? This is what we will try to determine.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Review
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set, the security and connected home pack from Xiaomi, arrives in a well-organized box. For less than 80 €, we find a complete set that allows you to discover the joys of a connected home without breaking the bank. The kit first includes the Mi Control Hub, a kind of connection bridge that allows all devices to communicate with each other. Next are two tiny motion detectors and two door or window opening detectors. Finally, the last element is a programmable button which allows you to control certain functions or launch scenarios.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Ergonomics
First step: connect the Mi Control Hub to the mains, which, given its circular shape, is rather complicated on a multiple socket. It must be connected to the Wi-Fi of the house and then communicate with the other devices via the ZigBee protocol. As always, you have to go through an iOS or Android mobile application to complete the configuration. The operation is very fast, the Mi Control Hub is very quickly discovered by the app and all you have to do is give it the password of the Wi-Fi network to use. This must use the 2.4 GHz frequency band.
The detection devices use batteries that Xiaomi gives for an average life of two years. An announcement that does not really commit to much, because the life of these batteries varies a lot from one use to another. Note that the motion detector and the opening detector do not use the same batteries: a CR2450 for the first and a CR1632 for the second. As for the control button, it opts for a third type, a CR2032. The installation continues with the two motion detectors; installation is all the easier as they are extremely small (30 mm high).
This compactness makes them very discreet, while their light weight allows the use of double-sided adhesive to secure them. They are given to cover a detection angle of 170° over a distance of 7 m. The installation does not pose any more problems. They were detected immediately once the small reset button was pressed. Small difficulty, the application offers several motion detectors. You must choose the correct one before continuing with the installation. It’s not easy to find it, because the icons on the app look very similar. Those supplied in the kit are the Mi Motion Sensors.
The opening detectors measure less than 40 mm and are suitable for both doors and windows. A sticky strip is already in place to facilitate the installation of an ultra-classic system: the largest part is fixed on the opening, the other, which contains only a magnet, is placed in front, on the frame. Finally, the Mi Wireless Switch control button associates with the hub in the same way.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Function
Once everything is installed, this little world will be able to communicate. Let’s start with the surveillance mode. Clearly, once activated, the device behaves like an alarm. When an opening or movement is detected by the sensors, a siren sounds on the control unit. At the same time, a notification is sent to the owner’s smartphone. Let’s be frank, this will not replace a real alarm system for the simple reason that the siren is not very powerful. Its noise level will have a hard time alerting the whole neighborhood. Moreover, to silence the siren, the thief will only have to unplug the Hub, because it has no back-up battery.
The opening and movement detectors work perfectly and keep all their promises by being very responsive. And that played tricks on us on several occasions, especially when the house cat walked past the sensors; we have received alerts systematically. It’s a shame, because other more high-end sensors manage to get around this problem. Another downside: we did not find in the application an indication of the battery status of the devices. Will we be notified in the event of wear?
Beyond the purely security aspect, the Mi Smart Sensor Set is a first step in the smart home. To do this, you have to dive a little into the application to generate automation scenarios. For example, at night when you are at home, detecting movement on the stairs will simply turn on the Hub’s night light. Of course, it is possible to integrate other products from the Xiaomi ecosystem in this type of scenario.
A pair of branded bulbs also react to information from motion detectors in order to trace the path to the toilet to satisfy a small nighttime urge. This is the big advantage of this solution: there are many compatible products which always benefit from an excellent quality / price ratio. We were thus able to add the Mi Home Security 360° camera or the water leak detector and the 3H air purifier.
The Mi Wireless Switch button is very useful and easy to use. It supports a single press, a double press and a prolonged press, which, mechanically, will multiply the range of possibilities. It can start an automation or just turn on a light or start the air purifier. The possibilities are therefore extremely numerous. Some stick it in front of their apartment door to turn it into a connected doorbell capable of warning you on your smartphone that a visitor is ringing your doorbell.
The system’s ZigBee works well, even when a floor separates the plant from a device. We did not suffer from any problems with range or signal stability. Of course, even in the event of an Internet cut-off, the siren will sound if an intrusion is detected.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Application
After several years of development, Xiaomi’s Home application is gradually coming of age. It starts with a now satisfactory translation. The brand has chosen to bring together the management of all of its products in a single application.
If you are over-equipped with a Xiaomi, it can quickly become a bit of a mess, because from Home you can control your bulbs as well as your scooter, your air purifier or the Mi Smart Sensor Set. Fortunately, it is possible to organize the devices by room or by product categories.
By clicking on the Mi Control Hub icon, you access an interface that enables monitoring (the detectors / alarm link is activated). By going to the monitoring parameters and the Hub parameters, it is possible to refine the operation of the device (it can in particular serve as an alarm clock).
The heart of the system lies in the notion of automation. This involves linking tasks on the “If / Then” model and then subjecting them to a notion of time in order to decide whether the automation in question should operate over a specific period of time or all day. The implementation is very simple and allows to obtain very appreciable scenarios on a daily basis in a few minutes; scenarios that can work beyond the only products in the starter set.
An opening detector on the kitchen door starts the ignition of the two Xiaomi bulbs in the room in question. Convenient, isn’t it? We would have liked to go further, for example by adding more than one device in the “Then” part. For example, if the motion detector reacts, we would have liked it to result in “then” Finally, note that the Mi Smart Sensor Set can be added to HomeKit to be controlled by Siri. Strangely, Google Home and Amazon Alexa are put aside, while they work for the Chinese brand’s light bulbs, security camera, or even air purifier.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Pros:
- Minimalist design.
- Wi-Fi and ZigBee.
- Easy-to-create automations.
- Scalable product.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Cons:
- Forgotten Google Home and Alexa
- Low siren power.
- No self-powered siren.
- Application a little messy at first.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set Conclusion
The Xiaomi Mi Smart Sensor Set is a scalable starter kit to connect and secure your home. While it is not able to replace a real self-powered alarm system, it nevertheless keeps its promises by alerting the owner of the slightest movements and vibrations in the house. Despite some limitations, the automatisms can create interesting scenarios. Clearly, it is an affordable, well-finished, easy-to-use and scalable product.