Hive has increased their smart home product line on a regular basis over the past few years. It all started with a smart thermostat meant to compete with rivals Nest and Tado, and then made their way into the smart plugs and smart light bulbs game. The most recent addition to the Hive family is the Hive View—a sleek smart home security camera with a twist.

Hive View: Pros 

  • Splendid design
  • Detachable & portable
  • Comparatively thrifty subscription model

Hive View: Cons 

  • Clips cannot be saved
  • Hit & miss motion detection
  • Requires a smartphone for setup

The smart home security camera market is tilted in favor of the consumer due to the wide array of similar product offerings from companies such as Netgear, Nest, Y-Cam and an earlier indoor camera from Hive, which begs the question, what’s so special about the Hive View?

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Hive View 101

The Hive View is a lightweight cube of a camera that is capable of detaching from its slender vertical stand, which allows for users to move it around their house as needed. The View comes in one of two color options: black & brushed copper or white & champagne gold. Aside from the ‘grab & go’ feature, which is limited due to the lackluster battery life, the Hive View is a pretty standard smart security camera—it records at up to 1080p, has a night vision mode and can alert users when it detects people and unexpected motion via a push notification to their mobile device.

Pricing & Subscription Breakdown

The Hive View is currently available for $199 for a single unit, or $339 for two units ($59 savings). Hive also offers a 24-month payment plan for the two-unit pack that runs $19.99/month, includes the full 30-day camera history and amounts to a total of $479.76 when all is said and done.

Options are pretty slim when it comes to video playback with the Hive View. The lone option is Hive Video Playback, which provides a 30-day camera history and will set users back $5.99/month.

Hive View Features & Setup

The physical design of the Hive View is rather stylish—beautiful overall design and finish—it looks much more modern and attractive than most home security cameras. The camera unit attaches to the stand magnetically and allows the camera to be adjusted up and down, and the base is magnetic, too, so the camera can be attached to metal surfaces as well as placed on shelves. Power is supplied via a long USB cable that can be plugged into either the base or the camera, and once set up and connected to your home Wi-Fi, the View records 1080p footage through its 130-degree wide-angle lens. The camera connects via dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi and there’s also Bluetooth, which is used to help set up the camera. There’s no option to record clips to SD card, though.

Setup should be simple but I found it frustrating, especially the part where I needed to use a browser on my laptop to sign up. From there I was then redirected back to the Hive app on my smartphone to continue. It’s overly convoluted and odd, since currently you can’t do anything else in the browser interface – everything bar initial registration is handled via the app.

Hive View App

Once you’re up and running, the camera appears in the app alongside all your other Hive products. Here, you can view a live video stream, manage your camera’s settings (from adjusting motion sensitivity to the resolution at which video clips are streamed and recorded) and view video clips, which have been triggered by motion and audio events. The Hive View can be set to record and stream at 720p (down from 1080p), which is handy if you find accessing your clips via the app too slow.

Beyond video clip recording and live streaming, however, there aren’t many extra features. A feature called Hive Actions enables you to link different Hive devices. For example, when the camera detects motion, it can trigger your Hive light bulb to switch on for a set amount of time and you can combine these actions to create much more complex actions.

The app’s biggest limitation, though, is the inability to download and save video clips from Hive’s online storage. This is particularly worrying if you’re on Hive’s free storage plan that only saves 24 hours worth of clips. If you have a break-in and you’re abroad you’ll have to show your phone to the police or record your phone’s screen to save the recording within a day of it happening.

Hive View Performance

As with most security cameras, the Hive View has motion detection, which notifies you whenever the camera detects movement, automatically records a clip and saves it to online storage. An advanced version is coming later in 2018, which can detect faces and send you a notification with an included picture of the culprit’s mug, similar to how the Nest Cam IQ works. For now though, it can detect people and general motion.

At 1080p, recordings have plenty of detail and are sharp enough although the sensor sometimes struggled to cope in backlit scenes, making people in videos look very dark. There are other drawbacks, too. Once you’ve tapped a newly created clip, it can take several minutes before being able to access it.

As for notifications, they’re great when they work, but half the time I found myself waiting in vain for a notification to pop up on my Android device. In the dark, however, the Hive View is much like its competitors. It’s able to pick up plenty of detail, as night mode kicks in as soon as the lights turn off – no complaints here.