What is it? The Hive is the latest smart, programmable thermostat from British Gas
Category: Smart heating control
- Mobile control
- Hands-free controls
- Automation and geolocation
- Compatible with smart TRVs
- Boost function
- Automatic frost protection
- Temperature graphs
- Program modes
1. Mobile controls
- Can be controlled via the Hive app (iOS or Android)
- Can be controlled via text message and a website
2. Hands-free control
- Voice-control works with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and IFTTT (If That Then This - a program which makes your devices and apps compatible with each other)
3. Visual features
- The Hive has a large colour digital display with a backlight
- The display colour contrast is a black background with white and orange text
- The room and target temperatures are displayed in a medium to large font, and there are small subtitles under the buttons to explain their function
- The navigation buttons on the front are lit with red, blue and green LED lights
4. Audio output
- All of the buttons on the device have faint audible clicks when pressed
- There is no audio output on the device itself,but audio verification is available for basic features when paired with a smart speaker or smart assistant
- The Hive app works reasonably well with Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader, and most buttons are clearly labelled
5. Tactile features
- The Hive’s user interface has a medium-sized dial and three tactile buttons on the front
- The hot water and heating boost buttons on the top of the device have faint tactile markings
- The dial and all the buttons have faint tactile clicks when turned /pressed.
6. Dexterity features
- The dial interface turns easily with little resistance
- The buttons are easy to press and responsive
- The basic features on the device and the Hive app are reasonably intuitive and simple to use
- There are useful on-screen prompts to help you set programmes
- The advanced features on the device and Hive app are more complex to use, although once automation features are set-up regular user interaction with these features may not be necessary
Is there anything I should watch out for?
- The highly reflective coating on the device can make reading the screen tricky in bright light.
- The dial is quite slippery and has no raised grip-markings
- The dial itself has poor colour contrast and can be turned continuously through 360°
- The heat and hot water boost buttons at the top of the device have very poor white on white colour contrast
- The device display switches onto standby-mode very quickly (after about 60 seconds of inactivity) - this can make it difficult to read the on-screen menus and prompts.
- Apart from the room and target temperatures other on-screen text is quite small
- There is no audio output on the device itself
Who might want to buy it?
We think the Hive Active Smart Thermostat 3rd Gen would be great for people who already use some smart tech (e.g. a smart phone) and who would like a lot of control over their heating and hot-water.
Our consumer panel told us…
- Although the Hive is very visual, its voice-control features and screen-reader compatibility could be useful for people with visual impairments
- The mobile controls and voice control could be useful features for people with mobility and dexterity impairments
- The basic controls are reasonably intuitive, but the advanced features could be problematic for people with cognitive or memory impairments
To find out more about the Hive check out these links: