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Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: Simple yet effective

Our Rating :
£119.99 from
Price when reviewed : £120
inc VAT

Tired of your Ring doorbell subscription? The Aqara G4 is the perfect antidote, providing local video storage and cloud storage for free


  • Supports HomeKit Secure video
  • Free cloud video clip storage
  • 24/7 recording via local storage


  • App not great
  • No motion zone detection
  • Smart detection is patchy

When I start reviewing and testing any product, I keep a running list of positives and negatives to make it easier for me to work out if that product is good, bad or indifferent. Usually, the balance starts out pretty even between good and bad, and stays that way; not so for the Aqara Video Doorbell G4.

From the start, the positives raced into the lead, leaving the negatives coughing and spluttering in the dust. Although there are some issues with it, this is a video doorbell that ticks all the boxes, with great all-round performance, a reasonable price and no monthly subscription required.

Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: What do you get for the money?

For £120 you’re certainly getting a lot of doorbell for your money. For starters, Aqara includes a chime in the box, along with the usual installation fixings, mounting backplate and angled wedge for corner installation.

It’s a battery-powered doorbell and that means it’s simple to install, but unlike most video doorbells, it isn’t rechargeable. Instead, Aqara includes six AA batteries in the box that deliver up to four months of use, so you’ll need to keep a healthy supply to hand.

You can, alternatively, wire the G4 up to the mains, which is fairly easy to do if you have existing doorbell wiring, and this unlocks 24/7 continuous local video recording via microSD card storage. It won’t, however, ring your existing chime.

Given the price, I was also impressed to see Apple HomeKit supported, alongside the more common Google Assistant and Alexa integration. This is easily the cheapest video doorbell I’ve seen to deliver that, and there’s even Matter support promised, but I wasn’t able to test that as it hadn’t arrived at the time of writing this review. There’s also facial recognition, which is again surprising given the price, despite the video recording quality being fairly bog standard 1080p with a 162-degree horizontal field of view.

The biggest attraction of the Aqara G4, however, has to be its free cloud and local video clip storage. Instead of charging for the most basic of services, like Ring for instance, and locking critical features off if you don’t pay, here you get seven days of free rolling video clip storage. There’s also local video clip storage but this is only used for the doorbell’s 24/7 continuous video recordings, and that in turn is only available if you wire the doorbell to the mains.

If you don’t want to record video to an SD card, there’s also support for NAS (network attached storage) drives but this is slightly trickier to set up.

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Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: Is it easy to install?

As long as you have basic DIY skills and a smartphone, you can have the G4 up and running in minutes. Simply screw the backplate to the wall or doorframe, unwrap the supplied batteries and install them, then download the Aqara Home app, pair with the doorbell and chime (required) and you’re good to go.

A note here, though: the chime is powered via USB-C and Aqara does not provide a power adapter for it in the box – you’ll probably have one at home somewhere, but if not this will add a little to the overall cost.

I set up the G4 with Apple HomeKit so it would chime my HomePod speakers, and this was pretty easy to do. However, it meant I initially had notifications coming through from both the Apple Home app and the Aqara app simultaneously.

Irritatingly, there’s nothing in the installation setup procedure that either warns you this might happen or explains how to stop it from happening. As it turns out, it’s easy enough to do – simply disable notifications in the settings of either app, whichever you prefer – but it does add a bit to the overall faff.

There are things you’re going to want to look at tweaking, such as the sensitivity of motion detection, adding privacy zones so you’re not spying on your neighbour’s property and these are again simple to do.

However, I wasn’t completely enamoured with the organisation of the app or the language used to describe the various options within it – especially the use of SD card storage. At no point is it explained in clear English that local storage is only used for continual 24/7 video recording – itself only available if you have the doorbell wired up to the mains. You’re left to discover this for yourself. Motion or doorbell-triggered events are recorded solely to the cloud.

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Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: What does it do well?

The good news is that, despite the frustrations detailed above (and below), the Aqara has plenty going for it.

For starters, it’s very quick. I found that, when I was home with my phone connected to the Wi-Fi network, it would send notifications to my phone around two seconds after someone pressed the doorbell over Wi-Fi. And it performed just as rapidly when remote – I simulated this by switching off Wi-Fi and running this same test with my phone connected to 5G – with that average notification time staying flat at two seconds.

aqara video doorbell g4 review - performance chart

For context, our current favourite doorbell – the TP-Link Tapo D230S1 – is slightly quicker, averaging a single second to send through doorbell notifications over Wi-Fi, while the Eufy Dual Video Doorbell (battery) I have currently installed on my front door can take up to ten seconds to ring the bell on my phone.

The one caveat to all this is that motion/loitering alerts are very slow, only appearing 16 seconds or longer after I stepped in front of the doorbell. This must be a bug as I can’t imagine why it would wait so long after detecting a potential loiterer to deliver an alert to your phone.

Still, this curiosity aside, there are plenty of other things to like about the Aqara G4, the best bit being its ability to record 24/7 video when wired up to the mains. The only other mainstream doorbell that I’ve reviewed that can do this is the Nest Doorbell (wired) – originally, the Nest Hello – and you have to pay for a premium Nest Aware plan for that. With the Aqara, all you need is a cheap microSD card or some space on a NAS drive.

HomeKit support comes as a nice bonus, and you can even set the system up so it records video clips to your iCloud storage via Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. This does require a paid 50GB iCloud subscription (supports one camera) but that’s only 99p/mth, and it also unlocks motion zone detection, a feature the Aqara app weirdly doesn’t have.

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Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: What could it do better?

As mentioned previously, the video is fairly standard at 1080p and this is the Aqara’s main weakness. There’s no HDR or head-to-toe view, which means you won’t be able to tell if a courier has left a package on your front step. Night vision is a little basic, overexposing the scene with slightly overzealous brightening, and video clips are limited in length to around 6 to 12 seconds if you use the Aqara free video storage. Clips recorded to iCloud last as long as motion is detected.

Another area of weakness is general motion detection. First, the Aqara app does not allow you to set up zones within the frame so you’re unable to exclude events like a neighbour walking to their front door from your notifications (though as mentioned above, you can do this via the Apple Home app). I also found the doorbell wouldn’t reliably recognise my face, despite registering it directly with the Aqara app. Google’s Nest doorbells are much better at this, however they do require a paid subscription.

Finally, I found other types of detection to be patchy at best. Quite often, the Aqara would identify my cat as “someone loitering”, while a fox triggered the spotlight at the back of my house one night and I was sent a motion detection notification, despite the fox not being in the frame at the time.

Check price at Aqara

Aqara Video Doorbell G4 review: Should you buy one?

Despite all the caveats, though, the positives outstrip the negatives on the Aqara G4. It’s packed with features, from support for a wide variety of home automation platforms to 24/7 video surveillance via local storage. It has a chime included in the box and – with one exception – it performs pretty well, too.

I still think the TP-Link Tapo D230S1 has the edge overall. Its app is more approachable and easier to use and it comes with some extra features, such as local storage for event-based video clips. It also has a small LED light, motion zone detection and more impressive smart motion detection, including person, pets, vehicles and packages.

What it doesn’t have, however, is the Aqara’s HomeKit integration. That, alone, would be enough to earn it an endorsement in my book. The fact that the G4 combines this with a remarkably full feature set and free cloud storage, ensures it gains a four-star recommendation.

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