Hive View Outdoor Review

Hive moves to outdoor security with this smart-looking camera

Verdict

Easy to install and with a decent app, the Hive View Outdoor gets most things right, but a bit more control over motion alerts would have been welcome

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Motion and sound detection
  • Clever IFTTT channel to control camera recording

Cons

  • No motion detection zones
  • No thumbnails next to events

Key Specifications

  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • 130-degree field of view
  • 1080p sensor
  • IP66 rated
  • IFTTT support

What is the Hive View Outdoor?

Hive is continuing its expansion into the smart home with this, its first outdoor security camera. With similar good looks to the indoor model, the Hive View Outdoor is one of the most attractive cameras you can buy.

It’s simple to install, and most competent DIYers will be able to drill the required hole in the wall. Free cloud storage, smart scheduling and a clean-looking app help to round off the package, making the Hive View Outdoor one of the best examples of an outdoor camera.

Hive View Outdoor – Design and build

The Hive View is one of the best-looking indoor cameras I’ve reviewed, so it’s no surprise that the Hive View Outdoor is one of the best-looking outdoor models. It sports the same cube design (66 x 66 x 66mm) of the indoor model, looking neat yet unobtrusive. While the indoor model has been available in a choice of two colours, the outdoor model comes in white only.

Installation is quite simple for an outdoor camera, but you’ll need to drill a hole in the wall in order to run the power cable through. For a competent DIYer with a long enough drill bit, this is easy enough to do. Hive provides a couple of plastic wall plugs that fit into the hole at either end, giving a neat finish; the power cable is then run through.

Hive View Outdoor wall plug

On the inside, there’s a standard USB power adapter. On the outside, there’s a magnetic mount that screws to the wall. The benefit of this is that it’s easy to angle the Hive View Outdoor to point where you want it.

The power cable is secured with a tiny screw, with Hive providing the right-sized screwdriver in the box. This screw helps to act as additional security: if someone ripped the camera off of the wall, the odds are that they’d end up filming themselves.

Hive View Outdoor cable screw

Hive View Outdoor – Features

Once the camera is in place and powered on, it’s configured through the Hive app, which is also used for the Hive Active Heating 2 thermostat and Hive Active Lighting. With the camera in the mix, Hive is becoming a neat smart home ecosystem.

Hooking up the camera to Wi-Fi was a trivial affair, with the camera joining any 2.4GHz 802.11n network (if you’ve got a mesh network, the camera will just join the 2.4GHz band).

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From the Hive app’s homescreen you can just tap your camera to get to its main screen. The preview doesn’t start automatically, which is a little annoying, and to view the live feed you have to tap the “Go live” button.

Hive View Outdoor home screen

Aside from that minor annoyance, the app is well laid out. Underneath the live preview are previous events; you can filter them by date, making it easier to find a specific entry. It’s a shame that events don’t have thumbnails next to them to make it even easier to find the event you want.

There’s no option to set motion zones, and the Hive View Outdoor simply monitors the entire camera frame. There are a couple of ways to reduce false positives and curb the number of alerts. First, you can change the motion sensitivity. Second, you can instruct the camera to record only when it spots a person.

Hive View Outdoor motion detection

You get one day of free cloud storage, which may be just enough if you’re around. If you’re away, upgrading to the 30-day storage plan for a reasonable £3.99 a month for one camera is a well-priced option.

All footage can be downloaded to your smartphone, so you can save valuable evidence before it’s deleted.

Hive has also added sound detection to the camera, which will alert you when the View Outdoor hears loud sounds, such as breaking glass or people talking loudly. You can adjust the sensitivity of this detection to cut down on the number of alerts you receive.

Hive View Outdoor sound sensitivity

Scheduling lets you turn the camera on and off automatically, so you can have it only record when you want it to.

At launch, I was told that the camera would be able to play noises – such as a barking dog – to scare people off. This feature hasn’t made it into the final product, although you can use the live chat feature to talk to anyone you see on the video feed.

Actions are quite neat, letting you control your other Hive devices when your camera picks up motion. For example, one of the pre-defined rules will turn on a Hive Active Light when there’s motion and it’s dark.

Hive View Outdoor – Performance

The Hive View Outdoor tends to fire off more alerts than other outdoor security cameras, since there’s no way to configure motion detection zones. Instead, you have to carefully position the camera to cover the areas you want, but block out any areas where there may be too much motion.

I found that setting the camera to only record people cut down dramatically on the number of alerts, but for safety (in case the camera misses a person), dialling down the motion sensitivity is a good option.

Likewise, out of the box, sound detection was a little bit too active for my liking and I found that turning the sensitivity down reduced the number of false alerts.

Hive View Outdoor – Video quality

Video quality is pretty good thanks to the camera’s 1080p sensor. During the day, relatively high compression smooths out some detail in the image, but you can clearly make out people’s features.

Hive View Outdoor daylight

At night, the Hive View Outdoor switches to IR mode, which does a good job lighting up the area. As with other cameras, IR mode tends to soften out detail, although you can still spot individuals.

Hive View Outdoor nighttime

I found that the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor shot better video overall, but the Hive View Outdoor’s footage is more than fit for purpose.

Hive View Outdoor – IFTTT, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Hive’s IFTTT channel is one of the best, providing controls to turn the camera on or off. If you have a product such as the Flic Buttons, you can have a hardware switch to turn your camera on when you go out and off when you return home. That’s a neat way of controlling the Hive View Outdoor.

Strangely, the channel offers no Triggers, so you can’t turn on a light when the camera notices motion, for example.

Although Hive has Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant skills, neither currently supports viewing footage from the camera on a compatible device, such as an Amazon Echo Show or Google Home Hub.

Why buy the Hive View Outdoor?

Hive has worked hard on improving its app and interface – and it shows with the Hive View Outdoor. A quality camera that’s easy to install, the main app does a decent job of providing access to your recorded footage.

It would be nice to see Hive add motion detection zones to further cut down on false positives, though. For the same price, the Ring Stick Up Cam offers more control over motion recording and an app that’s slightly easier to use. You can also check out my other recommendations in the Best security camera guide.

Verdict

Easy to install and with a decent app, the Hive View Outdoor gets most things right, but a bit more control over motion alerts would have been welcome.

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