Hive, a home automation company based in the UK and backed by British energy giant Centrica, built its business around smart home products sold in packs, with subscriptions for services like video storage. The Hive View camera is the company's latest product and first departure from the pack-based sales structure. Priced at $200 or £189 and available for purchase as a standalone product, the Hive View camera looks great and has more than a few interesting features, but not quite enough capability to recommend it over better cameras like those from Nest and Amazon.
Selling a product individually like this is a first for Hive. Could this indicate a shift in their sales strategy? I doubt it, but it's nice to see Hive giving consumers the option. The Hive View is currently only available in the USA, Canada, the UK and Italy, though for the curious in Australia, the $200 price converts to roughly AU$247.
Hive collaborated with Swiss designer Yves Béhar on the Hive View design, and it looks fantastic. The camera is available in two color schemes: black and brushed copper or white and champagne gold. A slim stand supports the camera's cube design with a magnet connecting the side of the camera to the base.
What makes the Hive View unique is the ability to detach the camera cube from the stand and take it anywhere in your home. Once detached, the camera gets its power from a lithium ion battery that's rechargeable, but not removable. That battery is charged by the camera stand (powered by a Micro-USB cable) when the two parts are connected, and it lasts a little over 1 hour on its own.
Like most indoor cameras, the Hive View captures video clips when it detects sound or motion. The camera records video in 1080p HD with a 130-degree field of view. A live color feed is available on the Hive app and includes one-way audio. Any video captured is available to view in the app for 24 hours or in a $6-per-month, 30-day video history service called Hive Video Playback.
The Hive View also includes person detection, which you can turn on or off. That means pets, ceiling fans or other moving objects won't trigger notifications you don't care about. There's also an option for a scheduled privacy mode you can activate within the app, so video is only being captured during the days and times you select. That feature aims to calm the nerves of consumers who don't like the idea of an "always watching" camera.