Product Reviews: Smart Home

A bit more than a year ago, I finally fell onto the Smart Home and automation bandwagon. I wanted to monitor temperature and humidity in a few spots of the house. I ended up using Aqara Temperature & Humidity Zigbee sensors. I set up Home Assistant to keep everything local, and used a Nortek HUSBZB-1 Zigbee/Z-Wave adapter (affiliate link).

It didn’t take long until I frantically was adding more stuff: Mirabella Genio and Kogan Smart Bulb light globes, a Genio Power Plug with 2 USB ports and a Davis AirLink air quality sensor.

The rest of this post reviews all those products, with pros and cons. All in all, they are generally positive.

For context, I care deeply about being able to control and monitor my home automation locally, without support from the cloud. I don’t want my house to become useless because of a incident in a data centre halfway across the wordl. I also don’t want to put devices on Wi-Fi if they don’t need to (and most don’t). I have a segregated VLANs for IoT devices, and block them from reaching the Internet if possible. Sometimes, Wi-Fi is just not the right technology, no matter how segregated. This is reflected in some of the Pros/Cons below.

Aqara Temperature & Humidity sensor

The Aquara Temperature and Humidity Sensors are tiny!

That is what I wanted initially. Based on the picture (and my inexperience), I expected something the size of a smoke alarm. Those are only about the size of an Australian 50¢ coin. Get it on Amazon (affiliate link).


  • Measurements: Temperature, Humidity, Air pressure
  • Size: Tiny
  • Connectivity: Zigbee


  • Battery doesn’t last as long as advertised: 2/3 months even on brand batteries
  • Sometimes randomly disconnect, which requires pressing the button and fiddling with parameters to reconnect.

Nortek HUSBZB-1 Zigbee/Z-Wave adapter

I only needed Zigbee connectivity for the Aqara sensors, but I figured I might as well pay a bit more to get Z-Wave connectivity, too, but haven’t used it as of yet. Get it on Amazon (affiliate link).


  • Connectivity: Zigbee and Z-Wave
  • Home Assistant: supported by default.


  • None

Smart Globes (Mirabella Genio / Kogan)

A number of devices seems to be repackaging Tuya‘s design. This is the case of the Mirabella Genio (above, or on Amazon [affiliate link]), as well as the Kogan Smart Globes. A tell-tale indication that it’s the case is the mention of the Tuya Smart application. I got two on a whim when I found them reduced at Woolies, and then some more when I found more lamps that needed automation. Nonetheless, for more serious integrations, I don’t think I’d continue using Tuya Wi-Fi devices.

While cheap, those unfortunately need Wi-Fi, and the cloud to be setup. Earlier versions (up to ca. mid-2021) could be flashed with the Tasmota firmware. Those I got my hands on are newer versions which don’t support this option. Fortunately, it is still possible to use them locally in Home Assistant with the localtuya integration.



Genio Power Plug with 2 USB ports

I needed this to finally control a few fancy lights automatically. I otherwise never turn them on. This is another repackaged Tuya device, which works with localtuya.


  • Ports: two USB ports
  • Home Assistant: localtuya


  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Cloud: required to setup
  • Measurements: no power consumption sensor

Davis AirLink air quality sensor

Silicone and electrical conduit should offer some weather protection to the USB power connection.

I got the Davis AirLink air quality meter to replace the Netatmo Smart Home Weather Station, which doesn’t actually measure outside air quality. It is a dedicated air quality sensor, which packs in temperature and humidity for free. It is relatively small, but unfortunately doesn’t have an IP rating, so extra undocumented steps are necessary to install it outside.

While the device uses Wi-Fi connectivity, it leverages it by enhancing the local measurements with extra information via the WeatherLink app, so it’s tolerable. It is also not mandatory to use the cloud services, and the device can be queried locally.

You could get it on Amazon (affiliate link), but it wasn’t available at the time I looked. I got mine from Instrument Choice instead. They seem dedicated to provide quality measurement equipment and excellent customer service.


  • Size: Small
  • Measurements: PM 1.0, PM 2.5, PM 10, Temperature, Humidity
  • Cloud: available, but not necessary; can be setup locally via app
  • Home Assistant: hass-weatherlink
  • Accessories: wall mount, fixings, rigid cover


  • IP rating: none; needs to be “protected”
  • Price: a bit pricey
  • Power: USB power adapter not really suitable for outside installation

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