Hive Plug And Bulb Smart Kit Review
We already have a Hive hub to go with our hot water and heating system, and it works just great. Ours is plugged into a range extender from the main router using a cheaper Asus unit that needs a reboot every so often. Other than that, all is good with the Hive which we run from our Samsung S8 mobiles with the Hive app.
So we decided to see what it would be like to extend the system. Hive does a few bits and pieces, but the most obvious first step is to use their plugs and light bulbs. Plugs first, as they are the most beneficial. So, open up the unit, plug it into a socket somewhere, power it on and grab your Hive app-armed phone or tablet and select a device.
It searches for a new unit and eventually came up with the first plug. Add it, give it a name, plug other stuff into it, and viola, instant control. Cleverly, we use power strips to plug in several lights around the lounge. Plug that power strip into your new Hive plug, and you can set up daily schedules to turn the lights on and off.
But you can have just about anything plugged in. I would advise against things like kettles as they can be harmful to little ones if activated unattended. My mum-in-law and sister-in-law like to shut down everything around their televisions, sound bars and set top boxes overnight. It is ideal for that sort of thing.
Of course, the lights can be turned on and off while you are away to make it look like someone is at home when burglars pop round. The Hive light bulbs can do this too, of course. A combo system of both plug and light bulb could be ideal. They are also dimmable and worked with my dimmer switches which you leave on maximum.
They can all be activated manually on a device with the app and use the schedules. The light bulb colour can be varied on the type of white you want, and there are coloured ones too spanning a wide spectrum. One thing missing from these is the ‘Christmas setting’ where they change at random, unless I missed it.
The coloured bulbs only take 9.5w with the white taking 9w – both provide 806 lumens, so pretty bright. They have a rated lifetime of 25,000 hours, which is good because they are £19 each for the cool to warm white. The coloured ones are at the time of writing £29 each. They are cheaper in larger multi packs.
The plugs are £39 each, and again cheaper in multi packs of three or five. Now, we have the biggest downer. The light bulbs are enormous, and there was no where sensible to use them in our home. We have a couple of uplighters, but they still stick out the top. There is a GU10 range already around, but Hive needs to introduce candle bulbs urgently.
Setting schedules is a little painful on a phone, but if you have a PC, your Hive account is available there. One nice aspect is you can setup one day, and then copy the timings to all the other days just by clicking them which saves an awful lot of time. We like that.
So, there you are. If you have room, the bulbs and plugs are utterly brilliant and so easy to use up and use. Get them now and automate the simple things. They may even save some bending down, which the mother-in-law would really appreciate. Hmm, Christmas presents.
And now the GU10 bulbs have arrived, and boy are they bright. However, if you don’t need your room filled with enough lumens to illuminate a stadium football match, grab your trusty device and use the dim facility.
Once again, the installation, if you can call it that, was a dream. Plug the GU10 Hive bulbs in, grab your app, and hit find new and up the first one comes. And here is the great bit. Install a second one and you are asked if you want to group it.
So, now we have three of them in a group which means they can be controlled as one item. Give the group a name, in case you have a few, and away you go. All the same actions, scheduling, dimming is available in an amazingly neat little package. And of course, that grouping doesn’t mean they all have to be in the same lighting unit. It doesn’t matter where they all are individually around your home. And the grouping can include the other larger and colour bulbs too. I love the Hive system – I just wish the scheduling menu was easier. All we need now is some candle bulbs.