Hive View Outdoor full review
Hive has been expanding its range of smart home devices for quite some time now and the firm's latest product is an outdoor security camera simply called the Hive View Outdoor.
AT £179 or $199, the Hive View Outdoor isn't the cheapest security camera around, nor is it the most expensive.
The other element to consider is the monthly fee for extra cloud video space. The Video Playback Membership subscription costs £3.99 per month and is for 30-days of storage.
Otherwise you can rely on the free service which stores video for 24 hours. You can of course download any video clip that the camera records then it is triggered onto your mobile device.
The design has been inspired by their earlier smart camera device the Hive View. In fact, as the View, it was also created in collaboration with designer Yves Béhar, and looks almost identical but in a slightly larger package.
The clean design is very welcoming. However, what you don’t see on the outside is that this camera has been designed to withstand the elements and weather conditions. It being an outdoor camera, it has weatherproofing to IP66 and can withstand dust, rain and temperatures down to -20c.
From what we can see the camera inside the Hive View Outdoor's casing has not changed and is still the 1080p HD resolution as its smaller indoor brethren. Along with 130° wide angle lens and up to 8x digital zoom, it also features things like Night Vision, Person Detection and two-way audio. We’ll get to some of these features in more detail later.
The Hive View Outdoor uses a clever magnetic ball mount to attached to the outside of your property and can be easily adjusted in any direction. It uses a USB cable for power, which is a generous 7.5m in length, and is small enough to go thought a 12mm whole in the wall. The USB cable also acts as a security wire which attaches to the camera with a security screw, and is meant to prevent someone from simply running away with it.
We didn’t try to check how strong the USB cable really is, but we wouldn’t assume it can stop someone, if they yank at the camera hard enough. So placing it out of easy reach would be our recommendation. And in fact Hive suggests a height of 2.2m.
You have the option of installing the camera yourself, or for an additional £89 you can get Hive to professionally install it for you. Just keep in mind that you will require a spare wall power socket within 7 meters of where you want to place the Hive View Outdoor camera.
We also recommend that your Wi-Fi signal is strong enough at the camera’s location, especially if you plan to use the highest 1080p HD video setting. As the camera does not have any internal storage or media card slots, it depends on the wireless signal to transfer the video feed. So it might be a good idea to set it up first and test it out before drilling any holes in your home.
If you’re going to install the Hive View Outdoor camera yourself and you’ve now decided where it will live, the Hive app has a very handy step-by-step fitting guide which will help with the installation.
You will need to drill into your wall to anchor a screw and hang the magnetic mount on it. The camera then simply snaps onto the mount. Feeding the USB power cable inside will require either drilling a hole through or finding an existing hole. We chose to feed it through a window as a temporary measure, as the cable is thin enough to allow the window to shut… just.
Of course a clean installation will require a bit more work, so it’s nice that Hive includes accessories like screws, wall plugs, nails, cable clips, and grommets and even a small screwdriver in the box.
Once you have the Hive View Outdoor camera installed outside it’s time to connect it to power and the rest of the Hive system. You will first need to download the Hive app and create an account if you don’t already have one.
If you’re an owner of other Hive products you just need to open up the Hive app and add a new device. Currently, the Hive View Outdoor camera is not supported by the Hive web application, so you will need an Android or Apple device.
Now just follow the step by step instructions in the app to setup the camera. Our setup took only a few minutes and after a firmware update and reboot, we had the Hive View Outdoor camera on. Just like the Hive View, the Outdoor View camera has many of the same options which you can play with and setup as you like in the settings menu of the app.
We placed our Outdoor View camera in our front garden, and this would mean that every time a car went by, or a tree branch moved, it would trigger an alert. So we switched the setting to only alert us if it detected a person instead.
This seems to work quite well. However, the camera did get fooled a few times in the month we’ve had it installed. Once by a pair of car tail lights, which sort of resembled a happy face. But also by steam coming out of a boiler ventilation pipe in the wall.
We found that the 1080p resolution of the camera is fine, and will be good enough to allow you to see some detail, even when zooming in a little. However, as this seems to only be digital zoom, we’re not so optimistic about the quoted 8X zoom. Things start to get quite blurry quite quickly.
Night vision mode is again usable, however, as you zoom, it gets very pixelated and you won’t see any detail.
Over all we find the Hive View Outdoor camera a good addition to the rest of the Hive ecosystem of security products.
The design looks solid, and it has survived both rain and temperatures down to -4. If you’re already a Hive customer and you’re in need of an outdoor security camera, you can’t go wrong with the Hive View Outdoor, just don’t expect miracles from the 8X zoom advertised.
Hive View Outdoor: Specs
- 1080p HD video
- 130° wide angle lens
- 16ft auto night vision
- Dual-core processor
- Up to 8x digital zoom
- Manual pan and tilt options
- 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
- Bluetooth 4.1 LE
- -20°C - +45°C operating temperature
- Rolling 24-hour camera history as standard, with option to add 30-day storage
- IP66 waterproof