CNET First Look
Hive's DIY home automation kit locks you into a contractMegan Wollerton really likes Hive's Welcome Home Standard automation system -- with one frustrating exception.
[MUSIC] Hive's standard home automation kit comes with a thermostat, a motion sensor, two door and window sensors, two smart plugs, and four LED lights. These Zigby devices communicate with a router tethered hub which then translates everything over wi-fi. Set-up was ridiculously simple. Download the Hive app on your phone, select install devices, and follow the instructions to get everything up and running. Although I configured ten devices and a hub, each product connected to the app in seconds. The thermostat was the lone exception since it required some basic electrical work. After everything's installed, you can create rules or actions so you receive alerts whenever the sensors detect motion or notice a door is open. Hive is also compatible with Amazon Alexa speakers, the google home and if. If you want to use voice commands to control your devices, or set up advanced automations with the If This, Then That service. Hive worked consistently well for me from start to finish. I like the layout of the app and found it easy to navigate. But there's one thing about Hive I really don't understand. Rather than paying for these devices outright, you're actually locked into a monthly contract that lasts for 2 years. The standard kit costs $25 per month so you're ultimately paying $600 over two years. And even more, if you continue to use Hive for longer than that and weirdly, you aren't getting professional monitoring or any other fancy services without monthly fee. So while I like all this functionality, I'm totally stumped by it's pricing plan. And have a hard time recommending it, has a result. [MUSIC]