Reviewed by David Savage
Home security is something that should be taken very seriously, after all our homes are our castles and filled with all our precious possessions. With the UK seeing a forced entry burglary approx. every minute, making your home less of an attractive target for thieves is a must!
You have secured your doors and windows, fitted alarms and cameras and leave a light on or two when you’re out, so you are secure right? No, light timers need to be on a random pattern because if the lights come on at the same time every day the pattern can be established and burglars will know that it is a timer and you are probably not at home. There are plenty of timers on the market that offer programmable timings. But technology has advanced so much that we can now integrate our home security devices with our phones; not only being able to program times to what we want but also use them to turn on and off devices at will, even when not at home.
Lots of us have Hive heating systems at home. It is a great system for being able to control the heat settings in our homes from the comfort of our chairs or even from the office so that the house warms up before we get home. We can now add security devices to the system and I was sent a Hive Active Plug (RRP: £39) and Hive Dimmable Light Bulb (RRP: £19) to try out. Both these devices are excellent for making it look like you’re in when you are out.
Up until now we have only had the Hive heating system and control it, for the most part, with the app on the phone. It is so easy to use and responds quickly. The Hive Active Plug and Dimmable Light Bulb also fully integrate with the same app and can all be controlled from the same place. They need to be added to the app, but this is a simple task and only tool a couple of minutes.
To add a new device to the system, make sure the device is installed in a plug socket, light fitting etc. open the app and click “add” to install a new device on to your dashboard. Select the type of device you want to install and the app will search and install it. Once found, you can give it a name – we fitted the light bulb on the landing so called in “Landing Light”. Once the devices are installed you can add the devices to your home screen in the app.
Once all installed, you use the app the same way as you would for your heating except now you need to select what device you want to control. You can choose whether you want the device to be permanently on, switched off or run to a schedule. You can now turn on or off devices at will, so in the case of the light bulb you could turn on the landing light from your phone before getting out of bed (or turn it off once in bed if you forgot to do so on the way past). You can also set schedules for every day of the week and for whatever time you choose so that you can have a light turning on/off at different times every day.
Hive Active Plug
The Hive Active Plug is an excellent little device for turning on and off devices plugged in to it – maybe you want to turn on your kettle a couple of minutes before you get home so you can make a nice hot cuppa as soon as you get in (you can even integrate with Alexa and just shout out “Alexa, turn on my plug!” and turn on the kettle), or maybe you want to turn on your electric blanket so that your bed is warmed up by the time you get in to it. We used it for a hallway lamp.
The Active Plug is a device what plugs into a three-pin plug socket and has another three-pin socket on it to plug your device into. Once you have your device plugged in and set up on your app your can control it via the app manually or set up an automatic schedule (we tend to use a mixture of both). For home security measures you could plug in a lamp or even a radio so that it looks or sounds like someone is home.
Hive Dimmable Light Bulb
The Hive Dimmable Light Bulb looks just like an ordinary LED bulb and is available in bayonet or screw fittings (it just feels a bit heavier). Once installed you just leave the wall switch on and then control the light from the app on your phone. It is really easy to use and again can be controlled manually from the phone turning on and off whenever required or even dimming or brightening the light to make it much more pleasant or a brighter light. It can also be scheduled to turn on and off at specific times and each day can have its own unique timings, so that the light doesn’t come on at the same time every night. As part of the scheduling not only can you have the light automatically turning on at say 4pm (during the darker winter months), you can also set it to dim to 40% at 11pm, a fantastic feature if you are using as a night light in the hallway for the kids.
With both of these devices (and any other that you may add) you don’t have to be home to use and control them. As long as you have your phone connected to the internet, you can control them from anywhere. So if you are at work and it gets darker earlier than expected, you can just log on to the app and turn on your light, lamp, radio or whatever device you have connected.
Overall, I have been very impressed with both of these devices. They are extremely easy to install and work brilliantly. They are easy to use and control and the app responds very fast. They make a excellent addition to any home security measures that you already have in the home for use while you are out and are also great for everyday use while you are at home as well (turn the kettle on while upstairs so that it is already boiled when you get down – provided you remembered to put water in before you went up of course, it is not clever enough to fill the kettle for you!).
If you are considering adding security devices that make it look like you are home when you are not and already a Hive system, then the active plug and light bulbs are perfect additions to the system. I will be looking at adding more to the system like an outdoor security camera and the motion, door or window sensors.
RRP: £39 (Hive Active Plug) / £19 (Hive Dimmable Light Bulb)
For more information or to buy, visit www.hivehome.com.