Review: Z-Wave Multi-Sensors (Aeon Labs and Philio)
There are quite a few brands of Z-Wave multi-sensors in the market. They are a good addition if you like to make your home automation slightly smarter. However, not every brand works the same way. Recently I’ve tried 2 brands. One of them which caught my attention is Philio 4-in-1 multi-sensor, while the other (long overdue review) is Aeon Labs multi-sensor. Since I’ve not updated the blog for almost a month. Allow me to post my experience with these 2 sensors.
Philio 4-in-1 Z-Wave Multi-sensor
- Technology: Z-Wave (868.42MHz) – v6.02
- Uses Series 400 Z-Wave chipset for greater range
- Triple Sensors:
- Door/Window: Yes
- Light Sensor: 0 to 500lux
- Temperature: -10 to +70°C
- Tamper Alarm: Yes
- Push-button: Wake-up, inclusion and exclusion
- LED: Battery level (low)
- Power: 1x CR123A (included) provides up to 3 years use
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 96 x 28 x 23mm
First, let’s start with Philio 4-in-1 multi-sensor. I’m am attracted to the form factor of this device. The Philio 4-in-1 Z-Wave multi-sensor combines a PIR (Motion) sensor, door/window sensor, light sensor and a temperature sensor, all in one small package.
Adding the device is the same as than other Z-Wave devices. Set Vera to inclusion mode, pull out the black tab behind the multi-sensor (the black tab prevents the battery to be in contact with the device during shipment) and flick the tiny lever behind it 3 times. Do note, you will need to upgrade your Vera or Vera Lite to the latest version before you add this device. If not, you will only see the motion sensor. Adding this sensor seems to be much easier than the Everspring Motion Sensor (see review here) as I did not have to try multiple times.
Now, even though this is a 4-in-1 sensor, you will not see a door sensor device being added to Vera. You will only see 3 sensors (temperature, motion and light) in your Vera’s console. I almost ready to send the device bac thinking that it was faulty. Turn out the magnetic sensing (door sensor) is integrated with motion sensor and is disabled by default. You can enable the magnetic sensing with the parameter in the screenshot below.
Once enabled, detecting motion or opening of the door, will trip the motion sensor.
Overall, it is quite a neat device with good form factor. The motion sensor is sensitive for its size but only in closer proximity, probably due to the size of sensor. The light sensor is quite accurate out of the box. However, the temperature seems to be reading higher than usual. There are also a 3-in-1 version of this where you don’t get the magnetic (door) sensor.
Aeon Labs Z-Wave Multi-sensor
- Technology: Z-Wave Transmitter (868.42MHz)
- Z-Wave Groups: One group with six devices (nodes)
- 4-in-1 Sensor: Motion, temperature, humidity and lighting level
- Push-button: Inclusion and exclusion)
- Rating: IP43 – wet and dry conditions only
- Power: 4x AAA batteries or 5V via USB power supply (not supplied)
- Dimensions: 75mm (dia) x 57mm (without bracket)
- Product includes: MultiSensor, Back-Mount Plate, Back-Mount Arm, AAA batteries (x4), USB cables and screws
Personally, I like the look of the Aeon Labs Multi-sensor compared to the Everspring Motion Sensor. The box also came with a few goodies: A USB cable and a swivel wall/ceiling mount. Yes, this is one of the rare sensor that has both option of battery and USB powered. For those who hates battery powered Z-Wave sensors, you can consider the Aeon Labs Multi-sensor. The swivel wall/ceiling mount allows more flexibility in positioning of the sensor.
Adding of the device is as usual (setting Vera to inclusion and clicking 3 times on the button on the device). I encountered the same problem as the Everspring during adding. I had to add and remove 2-3 times to successfully include this device to Vera. For the first time, only the motion sensor was added to Vera. The second time did not complete the inclusion. It was only the 3rd time where the inclusion was completed with 4 sensors in Vera.
Out of the box, the motion sensor, once tripped, stays in that state for quite some time before resetting. You can configure the reset time by tweaking the parameter as well. There is also a physical knob to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor but I preferred the sensitivity somewhere more than half.
The main plus point for this sensor is that you can power it over USB. Compared to battery powered, the device doesn’t go to sleep and is much more responsive on USB power. However, when you operate it on battery mode, the status updates are not so prompt at times. Generally, this sensor is more sensitive but sends update to Vera slightly slower if you are running it on on battery mode.