Wink Hub 2 Review
The Wink Hub 2 is very similar looking to the 1st generation Wink Hub. It also works basically the same but there have been some improvements. The original hub was affordable and versatile but lacked sophisticated 5 GHz Wi-Fi and often suffered pairing issues with new devices. The second-generation Wink Hub 2 has fixed these issues; making the devices safer, more reliable, and easier to use. Unfortunately, these changes come at a cost but improved internal memory and security, added Bluetooth support, and simplified functionality more than justify the increase in price. While this hub does not support every device on the market; the Wink Hub 2 supported more wireless protocols than any other hub we’ve tested making use and pairing easy.
Overall the Wink 2 is a great option for the price conscious or Smart Home beginners only looking for a simple solution. But If you’re willing to spend a little more we’d recommend a voice controlled hub like Amazon Echo.
Ease of Installation: 8.9
Ease of Use: 8.5
- Easy to install & pair devices
- Compatible with numerous wireless protocols like Z-Wave and ZigBee
- Works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
- User-friendly app.
- Wired Ethernet and dual-band Wi-Fi support.
- No battery backup
- No USB ports
- Occasionally latency issues slowed things down
- Lutron devices are still difficult to connect to Wink
The Wink Hub 2 is a versatile home automation hub that works with virtually every wireless protocol out there and supports dual-band Wi-Fi. Installation and device pairing is mostly quick and easy, and works with Alexa voice commands and IFTTT recipes. The Wink 2 is a fantastic hub but if you’re willing to spend a little more we recommend purchasing the more robust Amazon Echo.
Wink’s Performance During Our Testing
The Wink Hub 2 performed great during testing. Motion sensors, smart plugs and door window sensors were responsive and worked well. Device commands through the Wink app were instant and the easy to set-up “Robots” worked well. We particularly enjoyed the “robot” we created that would turn on our Nest Cam when the front door was opened. It was a great way to check on the kids arriving home from school while we were in the office.
Alexa, IFTTT and 3rd-party device control also worked well during testing. We tested our Wink with the Ecobee3 Thermostat and found that we were able to control the device and receive real time temperature readings through the Wink app without issue.
The Wink app made set-up a breeze and we were impressed with how easy it was to pair (most) devices. We connected a Nest Indoor Cam & Thermostat, Ecobee Thermostat, and smart lightbulbs all without issue. Though we have heard that Lutron devices have pairing issues at times.
Wink Hub 2 Design
The Wink Hub 2 receive minor design improvements over the first generation hub. The new device measures 7.25 x 7.25 x 1.5 and features a tapered sail like design, durable feel and matte white finish. It’s a great looking device that will blend into your home easily despite being about twice the size of Samsung’s SmartThings.
At the top of the device is a thin LED light that changes color to let you know the hub’s status. Blinking blue while pairing, white while rebooting, and solid blue when everything is connected and working properly. Making it easy to check your devices status at a glance.
The rear of the hub has a power jack and an Ethernet port.
Hub 2 Features & Compatibility
Winks Hub lacks some handy features that its competitors have. Many competitors like SmartThings utilize a USB port and battery backup. The Wink Hub 2 may lack those features but makes up for this by supporting more wireless protocols than any other hub tested and contains an impressive 512MB internal memory. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-wave, ZigBee, Kiddie and Lutron wireless protocols are also all supported. This allows for control over a ton of 3rd part devices from thermostats, locks, and lighting to blinds, doorbells, and garage door openers. Wink also features support for Amazon’s Alexa voice commands, has its own If This Then That (IFTTT) channel and is prepped for the Google-backed protocol, thanks to its Thread radio.
Oddly enough, while the Wink’s hub doesn’t currently work with Google Home, it does work with Google’s other smart home products. The Wink Hub 2 is compatible with the Nest thermostat, smoke detector, and Nest Cam; products that are not compatible with any Samsung system.
Wink’s website lists roughly 65 products that the Wink Hub 2 is compatible with, in actuality the number of supported devices is over 100. By comparison, Samsung lists about 175 different products that its SmartThings hub will connect to though many seem like duplicates or other Samsung devices.
Unlike most of its competitor, the Wink Hub 2 offers dual-band Wi-Fi, which makes it easy to connect to the hub anywhere in your home without the need for a wired connection. It’s a convenient feature that neither the Lowes Iris or SmartThings hubs offer. Also, new to the hub is Secure Boot, a security feature that ensures only Wink software can run on the hub, a simple solution that makes it difficult for hackers to access and control the device.
Both Android and iOS devices are compatible with the free Wink App. This app is well designed and organized to optimize the users experience and even provides detailed on screen instructions to help you pair components and monitor your connected smart home devices. Overall, it’s a great app but power users may find that it leaves a little to be desired.
The app uses large easily identifiable icons to help make it more user-friendly than competitors apps. The Wink Apps is designed so the home screen is whatever category of device you selected from a side menu. By tapping any category icon you will open a screen showing each installed device in that category. If you tap a device icon you can adjust settings, check the status, or view a live video feed if it’s a camera. Navigation between the various products on in the App and the home screen is very simple.
At the bottom of the app screen are icons for Products, Shortcuts, Robots, and Activity. Shortcuts provide one-touch automation for frequent actions. For example, I created a Heat shortcut to change the Ecobee3 heat set point to 70 degrees. Once you create a shortcut it gets its own icon on the Shortcut screen.
“Robots,” or automated actions that occur based on predetermined conditions provide an easy way to make installed devices work together. Similar to an IFTTT recipe, you pick a device and even then choose what action will be taken. For example, I created a Robot to automatically set our ecobee3 thermostat to Home and turn the Philips Hue lights on when I arrive home. You can set these robots run all the time, or you can schedule start and end times for specific days of the week.
The Activity icon takes you to a screen that displays a history of events such as motion detection, lights turned on and off, doors opened, and cameras recording video.
Unlike with Samsung’s SmartThings app, the Wink app does not allow you to group devices from different categories together by room. For instance, you can’t put your bedroom lights and window shades together into a “Bedroom” group. The closest you can come to doing that is to create a shortcut that opens the shades and turns on the lights at the same time. However, you’d have to create a second shortcut to lower the shades and turn off the lights. Grouping smart devices by room would be a much more sensible organizing method.
Hub Set-Up & Installation
Installing the Wink Hub 2 is pretty straightforward. Simply plug in the power and connect the Ethernet cables, download the app to your smartphone, and follow the installation instructions on the app. Set-up and pairing the app with the device took us about 5 minutes.
Once the Wink Hub is set-up you’ll need to connect your other smart home equipment to it which we found to be fairly easy with most devices. Smart home devices that are compatible with Wink and connected to your network will appear in your Wink app. Simply tap on these devices and follow the prompts to set them up. If you’re connecting a Nest, Ecobee, or Phillips Hue device you’ll simply log into that devices account through your Wink app and it’s ready to go. If pairing isn’t done through login into an account there will be on screen prompts that walk you through pairing.
Editors Note: If you have a schedule created on a devices app those settings will not transfer to the Wink App. Meaning any heating and cooling schedules you have set in your Ecobee app will have to be re setup in the Wink app.
MORE: Wink Hub FAQs
Review Wrap Up
The Wink hub is a great affordable Hub that supports multiple wireless communication protocols. It performed well in our testing and we would recommend it to any smart home beginner. For the more advanced smart home user; the wink hub may prove too simple for your taste. Overall the Wink Hub is a great value for the money but if you’re willing to spend a little more we recommend purchasing the Amazon Echo.Tags: home automation, Home Security, Security Equipment, smart home