For many people the prospect of turning their regular, boring home into a smart one still seems a little bit scary and very time-consuming. Luckily, the Hive Active Heating 2 is looking to change all of that and make upgrading your home easier, quicker and worth it in the long-run.
One of the main reasons why building up your smart home can seem scary is because there's an assumption that you have to go 'all in' and upgrade everything to really see the benefits. This isn't how it works. At least not anymore.
Smart systems like Hive allow you to start off small and then gradually add some smarter devices to your home one step at a time. That means you don't blow your budget and can choose the products that suit you - rather than being caught up in the hype.
[Update: The Hive ecosystem has grown to include a Hive Camera system. We have added this as a separate section to this review as while it's branded Hive, it uses a standalone app and feels separate to the rest of the Hive line-up.]
We used the Hive system for more than six months now and as each week has passed, we’ve found something new to do with it.
At its core, Hive is a smart heating system. However, over the past few years the brand has been expanding to offer up a whole-home smart setup.
It’s this modular approach to creating a smart home that all users will benefit from. For example, you can use Hive to heat your house and have fun doing this, or you can allow it to take control of lights, sensors and more, all of which are easy to control through the accompanying Hive app.
The initial installation is the hardest part of the Hive setup but it’s something you don’t actually need to do yourself. Hive's British Gas connection means that once you purchase the product the installation of Hive is included, although it's worth noting that you don't have to be a British Gas customer to use the smart home system.
For its initial price you get a wireless thermostat controller, the Hive hub, a receiver that connects up your boiler to the controller and a person to come install the thing.
Yes, the price is a little steep but the technology you are buying into - more on this later in the review - is worth it.
Hive is also boasting on its website, that by using its system over the course of a year you can save hundreds on your heating bills.
We haven’t had the system installed for long enough to test this claim but the smarts of the service certainly suggest a saving is possible. We'll naturally return to this review in due course when we've got more data available.
The installation was hassle-free on our part. We have a combi boiler - two boilers in a house can also work, you just have to choose the multi-zone package which allows you to control the boilers separately - and already had a rudimentary wireless system attached. The installer simply replaced this with Hive and the whole process took under an hour.
The Hive hub was also set up in this time. The hub is the beating heart of Hive. It connects up to your router and is the thing that each Hive product connects to. Again, setup for this was within that hour time, and included a walkthrough of the app.