Aqara and Opple Release New Smart Switches
A few months back Aqara held a presentation showing off a series of new products, including the long-awaited M2 Hub. The company also announced a collaboration with Chinese lighting specialists Opple, that would bring a series of ceiling lights to the Aqara ecosystem, which we reported on just the other day, but they also revealed a series of light switches, also by Opple. These light switches are all HomeKit compatible too!
As with the aforementioned Opple ceiling lights, these switches use ZigBee 3.0 for communication, so will, therefore, need the Aqara hub to both to communicate with the things that they control, as well as get them exposed to HomeKit. The Opple switches come in three configurations, with a double switch, a four-button switch, and a six-button switch.
What differentiates these switches from the Aqara rocker switches already on the market is that, in comparison to the wireless versions, these switches, which are also wireless, also come with a wall plate that allows the switches to detach from the wall, allowing them to essentially act as remote controls. This is nothing new, of course, as this type of functionality has been deployed for years in the form of the Philips Hue Dimmer Switch. The fact that you have a choice of three different switches does, however, make them more appealing than the Hue version. As these switches are detachable, they do require a battery, which in the case of these switches, is a standard CR2032 coin battery. As they’re ostensibly designed for China, the size is 86 x 86mm, with a 15mm depth, and although there’s no requirement for wiring, the backplate is designed to sit in a recess where this size of switch would normally be placed.
What also makes the six-button switch particularly useful is that you can program each button to control not only the power to a smart colour bulb, but you have the extra buttons to control the colour, brightness and colour temperature, all from one device. As these are also compatible with Apple HomeKit, each switch is programmable with multiple types of presses, so you have the standard ‘single press’, ‘double press’ and ‘long press’, taking the six-button switch to ridiculously high levels of functionality – assuming you can remember each function for each button…
The company does go on to state that currently these switches are not compatible with the Mi Home app, and will at present only work with the Aqara app, although we’re almost certain they will be Mi Home compatible soon. As expected, these switches have initially been launched in China, although hopefully, they’ll be available to international consumers at a date in the near future.