We’ll continue our series of reviews for smart home assistant products by covering Wink, another top brand in the smart home controller business. In case you haven’t read our previous reviews in the series, you can read our Amazon Echo review here, and for the Samsung SmartThings.
There are three main products from Wink: the Wink smart home hub 1st generation, the updated 2nd generation, and a smart home relay system. Our focus today is the 1st generation of the Wink hub home security assistant, while we will discuss the other 2 in the next articles.
Before we begin, you might wonder about the difference between the 1st and 2nd generation. Let’s put it this way: the 2nd generation is roughly $50 more expensive but comes with updated features. Hence, the ultimate questions will be whether the price difference can be justified by the new features.
As the result of the release of the 2nd generation, however, the Wink Hub 1 got a quite significant price drop. It is now one of the most affordable smart home assistant, roughly $70 cheaper than Samsung Smart Things, and more than $100 cheaper compared to the Amazon Echo.
For its price, the Wink Hub 1 is also versatile for third-party integration. It is quite similar to the Samsung SmartThings in fully supporting ZigBee and Z-Wave protocol. Considering the price tag of the Wink Hub 1, this is a great value. It also supports Lutron ClearConnect and Kidde, so it is pretty rich in terms of third-party integration. It also supports IFTTT protocol, so you can connect almost everything with a bit of technical know-how.
Similar to the Samsung SmartThings, the Wink Hub 1 doesn’t come with a built-in voice assistant. It does, however, support the Amazon Alexa, so you can pair it with Amazon Echo.
By far, the Wink Hub 1 seems pretty great, isn’t it? Especially with its price tag. How then, will it fare compared to more expensive products out there? Let’s begin by discussing its key features.
Without a doubt, this is the main highlight of the Wink Hub 1st generation. It is among the cheapest of top smart home controllers product out there and is definitely a great value considering the supported protocols. A ZigBee hub alone will cost you more than double the cost of the Wink hub 1.
For its price, the Wink Hub 1 provides one of the best third party protocol in the market. It supports Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lutron ClearConnect, Kidde, and Wi-Fi connection. Paired with IFTTT protocol, it can connect with almost everything. Compare this with the Samsung SmartThings, which only supports ZigBee and Z-Wave.
The Wink Hub 1 is controlled through a smartphone app, available for iOS and Android. Wink also recently supports Windows 10, both for PC and Windows phone. For syncing and adding devices, using a PC is a better approach for some of us, so this is a nice addition.
After you have downloaded the necessary app based on your OS, linking it to the hub is fairly simple. You plug the hub into a network and power cable, enable the Bluetooth on your phone or tablet, put in your Wi-Fi details, and you are done.
After the Wink Hub is up and running, you can add your devices. Now, the process to add devices will vary from product to product, and this is where we discovered some problems with the connection.
The Wink Hub connection issues are especially prevalent when we tried to connect to Lutron devices. The problem is actually quite common, based on our quick search on the internet and our call to Wink’s customer service. You will most likely need to fix this problem by restoring the Lustron device and the Wink Hub 1 to their factory reset state, which is a hassle.
We also experienced other Wink Hub connecting problems with other devices, such as the Quirky+GE products, but we found out that the problem lies with the devices itself, and not from the Wink Hub 1.
Kidde, ZigBee, and Z-Wave products are relatively simpler to connect, and the processes are actually simpler compared to Samsung SmartThings, so we can at least be confident that the integrations to especially Kidde products are seamless.
The IFTTT protocol feature can give you another issue, mainly because the Wi-Fi connection of the Wink Hub 1 is relatively unstable, compared to, say, Google Home or Apple Homekit. As the result, the delay from IFTTT connections can be quite significant. It is still bearable, but depending on the device, the delay could be a big problem.
Also, unlike the Samsung SmartThings, the Wink Hub 1 doesn’t have a backup battery system. However, chances are, when there’s a power outage, you won’t need to use the Wink Hub anyways, as most of your devices will also be offline. The backup battery is a nice extra feature to have, but considering the price tag, it’s not an absolute must.
Regarding the smart home management, it’s not as good as other, more expensive products, such as Google Home or Samsung SmartThings, as the programmable schemes are fairly limited. However, with the wide range of third-party integration, this issue can be tackled fairly easy.
We also tried to pair the Wink Hub 1 with the Amazon Echo. The integration process is fairly smooth, and they perform really well together. Again, considering the value of the Wink Hub, buying both the Amazon Echo and the Wink Hub 1 can be a great idea, as both complements the others weakness really well.
- Very affordable, great value for its overall quality
- Among the best third-party integration, can connect with almost all smart products available
- The smartphone app is very intuitive and easy to use compared to other competitors
- Relatively weak Wi-Fi connection, can have connection issues
- Some third-party integration can be a hassle at first
- Limited smart home monitoring and automation programs
You Should Buy This If
If you are on a budget, this is simply one of the best options out there. Also, If you already have an Amazon Echo, this is a great hub to complement it.
Let’s end our Wink Connected Home Hub generation 1 review with a verdict:
The key value of the Wink Hub 1 is definitely, its affordability. For the great price tag, it can do almost everything its more expensive competitors can do. The wide range of third party integration is definitely a huge benefit.
The Wi-Fi connection issues, as well as some product integrations, can be a hassle, but it can easily be tackled by a Wi-Fi signal extender, as well as a little time investment when you set up the product integration. Overall, a great bargain! Check out the Wink Smart Home Touchscreen Controller here.