Hive View

Hive has released a smart camera. Nope, this isn’t a repeat of news from last year when Hive released a, er, smart camera but this is 2018 and Hive has just released yet another smart camera. 

Called the Hive View, this is the smart cam it should have released in the first place. While it’s not a replacement for the original Hive Camera, it is an upgrade, both in looks and functionality. 

For a start, this one actually lives within your existing Hive setup. The Hive Camera of 2017 was a bit of an oddity as it used a separate app, Hive View does not. It’s part of the Hive family not cast away, which means it fits in a whole lot better. 

It’s got smouldering good looks, too. Designed by swish Swiss Yves Béhar, who also had a hand designing the Hive Thermostat controls, it’s a fine look and makes the Hive View something that will complement a home, rather than stick out like a CCTV camera on the corner of a street. 

Price and availability

The Hive View is available right now in both the UK and the US. It will cost $199.99 (£189) for one, or if you are feeling flush it £319 for a pack of two – this is a UK-only deal at the moment.

As with other Hive devices, you can choose the ‘Hive close to home’ that includes Hive View, two Hive Active Lights, two Hive Window or Door sensors, one Hive Active Plug, the Hive Hub, and a month's worth of cloud storage for video for $14.58 (£29.99) a month, going down to $5.99 (£4.99) a month after a year. 

Design and features

The camera is made up essentially of two parts. The stem, which has a satisfying kink in it, and the detachable cubed camera head. It comes in two colors. We tried out the black with 'brushed copper' variant but there is also a white with 'champagne gold' version too.

The camera head slots onto the stem by way of magnets – the way it clicks into place is, again, satisfying. It all feels very slick and it’s extremely malleable, offering up the ability to swivel the camera into just the right view for your setup.

The reason the camera head is detachable is – and this is a nice USP – because it’s wireless and has its own battery charge. 

It’s a great idea – offering up the flexibility of having a camera head that can be positioned in other places where you want to monitor, albeit on a temporary basis. 

The detached camera holds around an hour of charge, so if you have – say – your baby in their high chair and need to nip to the kitchen to prepare something, you can position the camera and not worry about leaving them alone as you have a perfect view of them. 

This was exactly the thing we did in our tests and it worked as it should have.

Setup and performance

Setup is simple. Load up the Hive app, head to install a Device and it will ask you which device you want to install. Make sure your Bluetooth is on and your Wi-Fi password is handy, and you're away.

Head to the Hive View icon in the app and you will get to a screen where you can view the live picture. Click on this and the results are decent. It’s not 4K but 1080p (clear and not jaggy in our tests). 

The viewing angle is dependably large with a wide 130° field of view. If you hold your device in portrait, you will get a smaller video view and a list of ‘events’ that have happened at the bottom. Flip to landscape and you get a full view of the video feed. 

There is a slight delay with the feed but we didn’t notice much strobing with movement and the audio it picked up was clear and precise.

For the security conscious, Hive has put a number of measures in place to make sure that you know if someone is in your house when you are not. 

There’s email notifications that appear when a person is detected. We were detected and an email buzzed through seconds later. You will also get notified if sound is detected near the camera. 

Oh, and when you have the camera off of its leash and roaming around wirelessly, you will also get notified when the batteries are running low. Those with a Hive thermostat will recognise this, as Hive also notifies you when the batteries in your controller are just about to run out.

You can turn these notifications off in the app if you don’t want them; there are a lot of them if you don't. 

Once you have some footage, you can view this for 24 hours. If you want to keep it for longer, then there's a monthly fee attached to this. 

Early verdict

The great thing about having the Hive View in the actual Hive app is that it should be something that starts to link up with the rest of your Hive kit. 

In theory this could mean that when a motion detector is triggered, the camera starts recording or at least logs the footage. Currently this hasn’t been announced but Hive is promising enhanced Hive Actions soon. 

For now, though, what you have a brilliantly capable smart cam device that's easy to setup and use. It's also one of the best-looking cameras around at the moment.

Marc Chacksfield
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