There are now plenty of smart hubs to choose from, so Hive is taking a different approach to stand out from the competition with its 'Welcome Home Plan'.
Hive is owned by British Gas and the brand is most well known for its , but it also makes a smart hub and a range of accessories. For £6 a month Hive will post its smart hub, two smart bulbs, a motion sensor and a smart plug to your home.
The smart home market is booming and Hive is just one of many brands to release a hub and accessories, so is Hive's range of devices better than hubs from big brands, such as and and is a monthly fee a good way to buy smart devices?
There's a good range of devices in the Welcome Home Plan, but it's a shame there aren't more tiers to let you select some of Hive's colour bulbs or add its thermostat.
Buying all of these devices separately from Hive's website would cost £186: £80 for the hub, £19 each for the bulbs, £39 for the plug and £29 for the sensor. At £6 a month you won't pay more than their total cost until month 32. Over two years of use this seems like a good deal, but if you don't want all of the devices in the plan it may be better to buy separately.
There's no contract and you can cancel your plan at any time, but understandably there is a charge to prevent people cancelling after the first month and keeping all the devices. If you cancel in the first year you would need to pay £120 and in the second year you would pay £60.
You could cancel after two years, keep the devices and have paid less than the cost of buying them outright, but you would miss out on some of the benefits of the plan. While you're paying your £6 a month all the devices are under warranty and you get a 10% discount on other Hive smart devices.
It's worth noting that if your broadband isn't quick enough and your Hive devices don't work, no refund will be given and you will face a £120 fee if you cancel.
Hive's devices are competitively priced and the hub uses IFTTT (if this then that), which means you can set up routines. With the devices you get in the plan you could have the lights turn on when you pass the motion sensor by the door and if you add more Hive devices, such as the , you could have it turn the heating on when you pass the sensor, too.
The Hive ecosystem is a closed one, though, so you couldn't add a wireless security camera or smart smoke alarm from another brand.