Archive for Xiaomi

Xiaomi Plant Sensor review

I have been keen on keeping my plants healthy, especially since I want them to purify the air. In this way i can reduce the usage of my Xiaomi air purifier and my electrical bill.
Last summer i decided to go Travel again in China, and i wanted to bring back some Xiaomi gadgets. So before i left back to Belgium i quickly asked my Chinese friends to order a Xiaomi Plant Sensor Flower Care from Taobao.

Looks and feel of the Flower Care.


The device it self is fairly minimal with a small light and the symbol of the Plant sensor.

Since i bought the sensor in china, i had some issues setting up the device which i will explain you how to deal with later in the article.

Beside the Mija app you can also use the original Flower Care app but i advice you not to do this, since the app adds no additional value.
When you have connected the device, you can easily search for the latin plant name and it will cross search for the plant in the Database.

The big advantage of this is that it will automatically adjust the parameters specific to the plant.
The Flower Care has a CR2032 button cell battery inside which will last approximately one year. After this you can easily replace it by opening the device and changing the battery.

The Flower Car itself exists of two parts: the sensors for the soil and the chips and the sensors for the environment. The plant sensor itself is around 12 cm long. The bottom part of the sensor is responsible for measuring the fertility and the moisture. The top part contains a temperature sensor and a light sensor.


Setup Of the Xiaomi Plant Sensor.

Important! Depending on if you have the international version or the chinese version the setup will be different.

For the Chinese version you first need change your timezone to a place in Mainland China like Shenzhen. and use a VPN to connect to Mainland China. Else if you do not perform these action it will not find the Plant Sensor

Open the MIJA or the flower car app.

Hit the plus button in the top right corner search for the Flower care or scroll down.


Xiaomi Plant Sensor Setup.

Xiaomi Plant Sensor Setup.

Select the flower care.

Normally now the flower care will show up in the list and you can the select the plant that it should monitor.


Overview of the Flower Care

Xiaomi plant sensor FlowerCare monitored plant

Xiaomi plant sensor FlowerCare monitored plant

When you have added the device you should wait around 10 minutes to make sure the sensor gets all the different data accurate and the data has not been polluted by the air around it.

After that you will get an overview of the Sunlight, Moisture, Temperature and the Fertility. you can go into more details inside the Mija app when you click the different icons.

Xiaomi Plant Sensor Flower Care Fertility

Xiaomi Plant Sensor Flower Care Fertility

After you click the icon of like above(Fertilitity) you will get an overview of the current value and what the recommended value is.
The thing i love is that it also suggests how you can improve this value. Like in the picture above i should add more fertilizer when i water the plant.


Xiaomi plant sensor flower care report

Xiaomi plant sensor flower care report

You can also gather a report which will show you the overview of the sunshine, fertility and other data over a couple of days.
In this way you can clearly see if the plant has been lacking sunlight which it is in my case.

You can also click the top right corner and click the options to get more information about the plant or about the sensor.

Xiaomi Plant Sensor Plant Overview.

Xiaomi Plant Sensor Plant Overview.

Here you can clearly see how well you took care of the plant.

So should you buy the plant sensor?

Well if you can buy it a chinese retail price like i did it definitely a big recommendation.
However if you look to import the sensor it become more expensive and you should consider that if you need a lot it might become expensive in general.


Xiaomi air purifier 2 review

So last year i decided to purchase an Air purifier. This had been playing my mind for a while so started googling around and ended up choosing the Xiaomi Air Purifier 2.

So why made me choose for this air purifier above the others:

  • Sleek design.
  • Being able to use and application on my phone.
  • HEPA filter quality

What is the difference between the Xiaomi Air purifier 1 and 2?

The difference between the Xiaomi Air purifier 1 and 2 is that the 2 is slightly smaller and less noisy, however this also means that the 1 can handle a bigger room in terms of air movement.
The filters in both devices are exactly the same. When you buy the Xiaomi it comes with one filter pre installed and an Chinese plug.
So keep in mind that you might need an adapter for using it, or changing the cable like i did.

Why did i need an Air Purifier ?

I sometimes have a shortness of breath and exactly when the flower seasons start, i have to take my inhalers and other medication more intensely.
By buying the air purifier i hoped that would help me use less medication and create a healthy living environment.

Beside this, i don’t live that far from the ring around Brussels and since sometimes the PMI values of Brussels are near Shanghai and Beijing, for this reason i decided that this would be a good investment.

Conditions beside filtering air.

Beside filtering the air i wanted to be able to control it with my phone. The air filter has the Xiaomi home app which can be controlled by and I Phone or Android. It can be configured in a way that it monitors the air and the depending on the quality goes into a more intense cleaning mode.
It can also be used in combination with other Xiaomi home devices, like for example if you open a windows the cleaner automatically turns itself off.

The Air Purifier has 3 modes: quiet/sleep /automatically and high.


The Design of the Xiaomi Air Purifier.

Xiaomi Air Purifier 2

Xiaomi Air Purifier 2

The device itself can fit easily in every modern room, you would be able to say that it was inspired by the MUJI air Purifier, but than that would be in a good way. It is made in plastic.  The design i would describe as slick and minimalistic.

How does the Air purifier work?

The Air gets sucked in from the bottom in an 360 degree way and then gets sucked trough the filter and gets blowed out from the fan on top. For the device two types of filters exist. The standard filter is made into three layers consisting of an primary filter which holds back the major particles, then is the high density EPA filter that filters the Pollen and PM2.5 , than the last filter will clean the air of formaldehyde, odors and more.

Noise levels of the Mi Air Purifier:

On the most quiet mode the device is almost unbearable, i kinda use it also to generate a white noise and help me sleep. on the Turbo mode its almost the sound of an small vacuum, but keep in mind that you wont use this stand normally.

So does it work and should i get one ?

Well before i got the air purifier i had to live on my inhalers and medication to even live indoor after i opened the window for a while.
After i got it and turned it on for around 30 min i could start noticing the difference and i was able to breath normally and more comfortably.

In September i moved to a new place which was newly built and contained lots of dust and building chemicals remaining(Paints, other chemicals and so).
And in the first days i had problems as well breathing and i was coughing the whole time, well after i moved my Air Purifier in house i immediate started noticing the AIR feeling cleaner, headache reducing from the chemicals being filtered out and finally being able to breath normally again.

Afterwards i also invested in plants that clean the air for chemicals also and now my house perfectly pure ūüôā

Find more information on the Xiaomi Website


Google Services in China

I have to admit I am heavily invested in using the Google Ecosystem, I use an android phone with the Google play store(currently the One Plus One CM11S), I use Hangouts when I am traveling to keep in touch with my family, Google translate for some basic words,  Google maps and so on. But when I knew my internship was confirmed I realized, hey Google does not work in China or at least not without a work around.
So I started thinking how do I move everything outside from the Google services to another Cloud service. Another solution was to use a vpn the whole time. But China is cracking down on VPNs and most of them are not so stable. I do use Expressvpn ¬†which fortunately works in China. But I think it’s just easier and better for the future in case I ever change ecosystems. You can get a 30 days using my sign up link.

Calendar: The Calendar of Google is awesome its simple and does not need any knowledge just select the dates, invite the people ,add the location and its done. And the most convenient about this was that the app is cross platform.

So I started to look around for an alternative and found Sunrise. I used Sunrise before but lost interest since Google updated their calendar.But i decided to give it a second chance and I have to say Sunrise is awesome it has cross-platform apps, syncs with other calendars so I let it sync with my icloud and my Google agenda. And the most awesome part are the plugins. They have plugins for Google Tasks, Evernote, Facebook, Eventbrite and Foursquare. I love the Evernote and Foursquare plugins it’s so useful to see where you have been some days at what time if you don’t have a calendar event for that day. Also their suggested calendars are very useful. I can easily check the public holidays or when the next episode of Game of Thrones is released

Google Keep: Its minimal, so minimal and that’s why its awesome. Just write down the note and that’s it.

But since i switched to Evernote I cannot change back to Google Keep again, the tasks, the reminders, the different notebooks everything is convenient. And just saves me a lot of time and thoughts. I even write down my costs instead of writing it in Excel.

Google Maps: I admit I cheated I kept using Google Maps in the beginning I just downloaded the offline maps of the Cities I am in China but then I discovered Baidu Maps. If you are familiar with icons you can use this app without understanding any Mandarin. It so useful you just  enter the destination, choose the way of transport and youre ready to go. it even shows you which busses you need to take.

Google Play is easy to replace because there are many alternative app stores available but i chose the Mi Market which originates from Xiaomi.
Xiaomi has recruited many people that had a lot of experience in the industry. From apple , microsoft and Google. The Current vice president they even recruited directly from Android where he had the same position.  Xiaomi is a big player in China and also in the world.
When writing this article it is the 3rd largest cellphone maker in the world. For the moment they have only launched in the Asian market but announced that they will offer their accessorizes in Europe and America.  Describing them as a cellphone company is no longer correct they are better fitted as an Internet of Things company.

Google Hangouts: ¬†the app could have been easily replaced by Whats app but it’s more convenient to use Wechat. Wechat is a Chinese made chat that is very similar to Whatsapp but is enormously popular in China and Asia.

It’s slowly getting a foothold outside of that. Its owned by Tencent worlds 4th largest internet company. And it’s just like Hangouts Whatsapp and Messenger Merged but with a sense of privacy. The Messages you send are not stored into the cloud so if you don’t back them up and lose your phone you will not able to retrieve them. and for the sms part I just replaced it with the default messenger app¬†because Hangouts recently started freezing in China.

Because it’s not always as easy to get a Taxi, especially in Hangzhou i use Uber. ¬†you have a lot of different ¬†transport option in Uber¬†including boats. I will write an article later dedicated to using Uber in China.

And finally instead of watching Netflix and YouTube i watch Youku. Youku is  a Chinese streaming website where you can watch user generated content but also movies and tv shows. The Great part of this that most English movies and Tv Shows on Youku are free.  They also have a VIP zone which allows you to watch movies that are currently playing in the cinemas and let you watch advertising free.

Funny part about Google Services in China are that most of them are blocked but somehow i still can see Google adwords working on some websites.