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Hive revamps smart thermostat with invisible screen

Hive Active Heating 2 hides its display behind a mirrored fascia

Hive has released a second generation of its smart thermostat – although you wouldn’t necessarily guess it was ‘smart’ just by looking at it. The Hive Active Heating 2 looks to all intents and purposes like an ordinary chrome thermostat, complete with a dial for adjusting the temperature. Twiddle that dial, however, and the display behind the mirrored surface lights up. 

The theromstat was created by Yves Behar, the designer behind products such as the Jambox wireless speaker and Jawbone fitness band. There’s no touchscreen functionality – everything is controlled from the dial and three buttons, with the display asking the user a series of questions to adjust settings, such as when to switch the heating on and off. The thermostat is also used to control the home’s hot water, with users able to give the hot water a quick boost if they fancy a bath in the middle of the day, for example, when the boiler’s normally switched off. 

As before, the theromstat can also be controlled via the Hive smartphone app. Geolocation features prompt the user to switch the heating off if the phone detects you’re away from home. Conversely, users can switch the heating on remotely so that the house is nice and toasty by the time they arrive home on a winter’s night.

The Active Heating 2 has 13 different coloured frames to choose from, allowing homeowners to match the thermostat’s casing to their living room decor. Those frames cost an extra £20 each.

The Hive Active Heating 2 itself costs £249, including the wireless hub, the receiver for your boiler, and professional installation. The Britsh Gas-owned company isn’t taking booking until August 17, however. Owners of the existing Hive system can upgrade for £100 and homeowners can install the device themselves.  

The second-generation Hive is more expensive than its closest rival, the Google-owned Nest thermostat, which can be bought online for around £180, although that price doesn’t include installation. 

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