Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who likes to build websites, and make video games. He buys way too much Lego.
I’m really intrigued by the concept of the smart home. Making everything wireless and controllable by some sort of app on my smartphone would be great.
Being that it’s winter and has been rather cold and wet in the south west of England – sorting out my home’s heating is quite important to me. As such getting a wifi thermostat so that I can control my heating remotely is a big bonus for me.
Hive, by British Gas, contacted me earlier this year to get my opinion on the Hive internet enabled thermostat which I gladly accepted.
The obvious competitor for Hive is Nest, recently purchased by Google. However – apart from the Nests learning abilities and the fact they look different i don’t think there’s much between them in terms of features.
The thermostat itself is a portable unit – so I can move it to any room in the house – there’s also a wall bracket should you want to keep it in one place. It connects to the internet via a small device that plugs into my internet hub. When the Hive was installed I was given a login so that I can connect to my hub via the internet (through a web interface), or through the free smartphone app that I now have on my iPhone.
The Hive isn’t quite as advanced as Nest. It doesn’t have any learning algorithms or power saving reports – but these things could come in future software updates (I hope :)).
If I want to control the heating schedule then this can be done through the smartphone app. I can also use the app to view the temperature inside and outside my house which is handy when I am out as it allows me to make more informed decisions when adjusting the temperature remotely – assuming of course that I remember to turn it back on.
One thing to keep in mind is that the smartphone app needs the internet to work. This should be obvious but it’s not something I had really considered before. If your home internet connection is down, or you have poor mobile internet, then you can’t control anything through your phone. Thankfully the thermostat doesn’t rely on the internet so I can still control the temperature at home using the base unit. However one thing to keep in mind is that you can’t edit the heating schedule without using the smartphone app.
As my first proper smart home app I’m quite pleased with the Hive. There’s been a couple of times when the app hasn’t connected but with any luck that will be fixed in future app updates. Otherwise it has been great coming home to a warm house – and so I am looking forward to getting my next smart gadget.
I still want to find a wifi camera or two so I can watch my house from afar :).