HomeHome AutomationMulti-lights for your ceiling from Aqara

Multi-lights for your ceiling from Aqara

2 lights for the price of one!

I tested many smart lights, but Aqara Ceiling Light T1M outmatches them by size. This light is huge. It’s with me and I have something to say about it before you get one for your ceiling! After all, why would you use a smart bulb, when you could get something like this mounted in the middle of the room? Let’s check this matter-compatible light.

Aqara Ceiling Light T1M

Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is huge. So big, that I struggled to fit it on my desk in the #TechDrop video. I had a wee bit of fun, unpacking it and you can check out the YouTube Short below:

Despite its size, it’s reasonably light, as the shell is made from lightweight components. There isn’t really much to say about the light – as the inside consists of an array of strong cold and warm white LEDs facing down and an addressable LED strip wrapped around Aqara Ceiling Light T1M side extrusion.

The whole package is easy to open/close and it comes with a small fitting bracket. As it’s ZigBee based, you’ll need an Aqara Hub – You could pick their Aqara M2 hub, or if you want to be as fancy as me and use gesture controls to control Aqara Ceiling Light T1M, use Aqara Camera G3 instead.

To have it home, you are expected to spend just under £150 (AmazonUK|AmazonUS) which is a fair spend, but over time I’m used to the rather premium pricing coming from Aqara. While their products are expensive, there is no denying that each product I had was made very well.

Installation

As Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is connected to the main light circuit, I recommend asking a qualified person to connect it for you. At the very least, turn off the power supply in the fuse box to keep yourself safe.

To my eye, the metal bracket that is used to hang the light panel seemed very wide. Thankfully, at its narrowest, it matched the existing screws. To my horror, I also realised that existing fittings in my rented apartments were fitted with bare screws to the plasterboard! The instruction mentioned avoiding mounting Aqara Ceiling Light T1M to plasterboard, which is strange as this is how most of the lightweight fittings are done in the UK (yes, I know ideally these anchors go into studs). With plugs, the metal bracket felt solid enough to hang a light or two.

Take extra care when using the wire connector, the tabs are very easy to break. It took me a moment to seat the wires properly, I was losing patience and almost replaced it with the WAGO-style connectors I got from Sonoff. It was by far the most frustrating moment. Once connected, I switched on the power supply and tested both LED arrays to verify, that all was working well. Satisfied, I slotted the cover in place to enjoy my new bedroom lights.

Very bright*

There is no question about it, Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is very bright. It’s brighter than my living room lights and as I mounted in in my bedroom, I will never have it at full brightness unless I’m looking for something! The main array diffuses nicely and floods the room very well across the whole CT range of the white light. It feels perfect.

What’s slightly underwhelming is the RGB array, which is too weak to be effectively used with the main panel. I have envisioned the ceiling flooded with the glow from the RGB array, which works pretty well in the dark, but as soon as the main light is set to anything over 15%, the whole effect almost disappears, leaving just the hint of the colour on the edge of Aqara Ceiling Light T1M.

Used with the main light, the side array could be used as a notification light, or a status light – but will unlikely set the tone of the room when used in conjunction with the white array.

Great smart controls

Where Aqara Ceiling Light T1M (AmazonUK|AmazonUS) shines, are the app controls. Aqara always brings something cool to the table with each product, and this time around, I’m impressed with the custom light transition settings. In the extra options, I also found a power recovery state, a default transition time that can take up to 10 seconds and a custom dimming range, in case you don’t want the max brightness to be the max brightness of your light.

Instead of the lazy preset implementation (don’t worry there are many presets to pick from), Aqara also offers a very interesting take on making your transitions for both lights.

Main

Apart from the usual on/off and brightness controls, the array of LEDs allows the colour temperature to change from cold whites to nice warm evening sun colours. A quick access to presets reveals that they are grouped in static, dynamic and custom effects. These can be named and triggered by automation.

Where the fun starts is the ability to set your dynamic effects. You can bundle multiple states together and for each step define the brightness, colour, duration and transition time. As you can add multiple states and transition/duration times can take up to an hour – you could program the light to simulate the entire daylight cycle in real time!

Mood light

A similar approach is taken when it comes to the Auxilary lamp. The RGB strip can assume one of 6 animations and transition through several colours. The animations are also speed-controlled. The tool provides enough flexibility to keep you entertained in creating custom effects, but it’s nowhere near as fun as setting colours for individual LEDs in the Moonside One lamp.

Does it Matter?

As Aqara Ceiling Light T1M uses ZigBee, you need a Matter-enabled hub from Aqara to expose it to your other Matter devices. Other integrations (skills/routines) work well as Aqara works over the cloud with Google Home and Alexa.

If you pick up the light and attempt to connect it via ZigBee directly to something like Alexa Echo Hub, things look less fancy. Power cycle the device 3 times to set it back into the pairing mode (it will dimm itself and blink) and you can pair it directly with Alexa.

Unfortunately, only the main light is exposed. I was hoping to see both lights available as separate devices, but that was not the case. It shows up as a standard light source with CT capabilities.

ZigBee2MQTT

While lumi.light.acn032isn’t officially supported, the device exposes the right things already – not everything works just yet but looks like in the DIY approach, you can take over almost all aspects of the Aqara Ceiling Light T1M.

That’s good news for every DIYer who is looking to get their hands on a new light with some fancy features. I’ll tinker some more with the converter and see if I can get it to a usable state before the official release, but something tells me smarter heads will do that way before me!

Final thoughts

Aqara Ceiling Light T1M (AmazonUK|AmazonUS) is a very bright, Matter-enabled light that will work great in any setting as long as you are happy to give Aqara £150. I loved the main array and it looks much better on the ceiling than in my hands. As long as you don’t expect the RGB array to be the only mood light in the room, you will be very happy with the product. If you have any questions, leave them in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.

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