HomeHome AutomationThe new Sonoff NSPanel Pro runs Android natively.

The new Sonoff NSPanel Pro runs Android natively.

You can't tasmotise it

You might have seen the announcement of the new Sonoff NSPanel Pro on ITEAD social accounts. What’s even better is the fact I have one with me, and as an owner of the original NSPanel, I can compare them both side by side and let you know what I think about it. There is one caveat. There are things I can’t talk yet until later in August.

The full review, with the latest firmware is available in this post.

Sonoff NSPanel vs Sonoff NSPanel Pro

Sonoff NSPanel Pro vs NSPanel

There are 2 reasons my original NSPanel is not flashed yet. One, I knew something like this is coming (not officially) and two – working with the Nextion editor is a pain and I have no time for this. While I’m genuinely excited about the NSPanel and Sonoff NSPanel Pro – I lack of time to make them mine (read flash Tasmota) and design a custom theme. I’m simply swamped with other things that take my attention at the moment: like rebuilding a laser cutter.

Anyway.

Sonoff NSPanel Pro dropped physical buttons and offers a much bigger screen estate – something that a 3.95″ display is taking the advantage of. It retains the same form factor and the same modular design as the original NSPanel and subsequently released the SwitchMan M5 series of switches – so in theory, you could swap the back plates responsible for the built-in relay.

The 480×480 touch screen interface isn’t the only change. Sonoff NSPanel Pro features ZigBee 3.0 inside and will act as the router. Something to get really excited about if you like Sonoff Zigbee Line.

The product page says the Sonoff NSPanel Pro can be mounted on the wall as well as on a dedicated stand so you can put it on a table and use it as a smart display.

Inside

While I’m restricted from talking about some features, I can take a peek inside to see what drives Sonoff NSPanel Pro.

My first surprise is that the panel I have has no relay built into it. There is a space for it, but the terminals are not populated. It makes me wonder if I could use back plates from the SwitchMan series or the original NSPanel to enable this. It’s something I’ll test down the line.

Underneath the plastic shield, the PCB exposes the heart of the device – while the OS is stored on Samsung’s eMMC storage (KLM8G1GETF-B04) I was not able to identify the CPU due to the metal shield. We know it’s a 4 core CPU. I will leave this for when I can talk bout all the features. (hint from FB group – it’s a PX30 Quad Cortex A35 clocked at 1.5GHz per core)

To tackle ZigBee 3.0 ITEAD opted again for MG21 – a familiar ZigBee coordinator from Sonoff Zigbee Bridge. It’s a return of the MG21 series as the more recent IC from Sonoff ZigBee USB Dongle (CC2652) is short in supply and even their latest revision of the coordinators features an MG series chip. To my surprise, there is a micro USB port hidden away for OTG access and an unpopulated T&H ribbon port. If you poke about more, you will find a microphone and light sensor.

Your configuration may change, as I have a very early unit and I should note that to my audience.

It’s time to power it on and see what has changed.

First steps with Sonoff NSPanel Pro

The whole setup is done on the touchscreen which feels a bit brighter than NSPanel, and much cleaner. The product page mentions that this is a TFT LCD and the viewing angles are acceptable but lacking compared to the ISP panel. The keyboard reminds me of the Android system (Fing app reports Android Oreo 8.1 – so much for flashing Tasmota). A short setup later – all goes well – with the only hindrance being a region which feels like has cities and region names. I couldn’t find the UK, England, Great Britain – but London was there. It’s a mandatory step.

The boot sound is nice to the ear – the speaker produces the sound you would expect from an Android phone. While it’s much slower to boot than NSPanel, Sonoff NSPanel Pro feels like running an actual OS rather than ESP32 based script.

Basic options right now consist of the welcome screen with quick access to the camera (S-CAM on my unit) – which considering my questionable review of the IP camera works pretty well with this device, and an alarm mode button followed by separate screens/tabs for all eWeLink devices and Scenes. Swipe from the top and adds a new menu with access to device settings, an option to add new ZigBee devices to your Sonoff NSPanel Pro and a separate notification panel.

eWeLink app

Sonoff NSPanel Pro in the app looks more like a Zigbee bridge than anything else. Extra options bring device pairing and security modes and the ability to edit scenes displayed on the device.

I assume the panel would show up the temperature & humidity if I had a sensor connected and relay status in the same way the NSPanel does. For more in-depth

Shop with Sonoff

Take a look at the ZigBee and WiFi range of the devices compatible with eWeLink:

What’s next

I have to wait a couple of weeks until the final firmware patch is issued to evaluate the device and test it further. I will see how will this change the feel of the Sonoff NSPanel Pro. The hardware looks solid, so I hope the firmware will follow. For anyone wondering when bugs will be fixed on the original NSPanel – Sonoff promised a firmware release for both devices at about the same time, so if you already have the original one – you should have a new firmware next. Let me know what you think about it in this Reddit thread and follow me for the full write-up.

🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.

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