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Wink Hub Review: Hub 1 vs Hub 2 Compared Side-by-Side

Home » Hubs » Wink Hub Review: Hub 1 vs Hub 2 Compared Side-by-Side

If you’ve searched for smart home hubs, you might have heard the name Wink. They released their first generation Wink Hub in 2014 and after two years in 2016, they iterated this product and called it Wink Hub 2.

Many people are curious to know what the differences are between them. So in today’s article, we are going to review them and will also compare them head-to-head so you can make the right decision for yourself.

Wink Hub Review

Comparison Table

Wink HubWink Hub 2
Dimensions (W x H x L)3” x 8” x 8”1.25” x 7.25” x 7.25”
ConnectivityWi-Fi, BluetoothWi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, Ethernet
Supported Wi-Fi Bands2.4 GHz2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Supported ProtocolsZ-Wave, Zigbee, Lutron Clear Connect, KiddeZ-Wave, Zigbee, Lutron Clear Connect, Kidde, Thread
SetupManualAutomatic + Guided
Memory64 MB512 MB
Maximum Number of Devices430530
Voice AssistantsAmazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Supported Third-party ProductsPhilips Hue, Sengled, Leviton, Lutron, Ring, Nest, Schlage, Yale, Honeywell, ecobee, etc.Philips Hue, Sengled, Leviton, Lutron, Ring, Nest, Schlage, Yale, Honeywell, ecobee, etc.
Works without InternetYes (Basic)Yes (Enhanced)
Check PriceCheck Price

Wink Hub (First-Gen.) Review

The original Wink Hub or just simply Wink Hub 1 has Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth as the main medium of connectivity. It is compatible with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Clear Connect, and a couple more protocols. It can be controlled via voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The hub does not communicate with the app directly but instead, it goes to Wink Cloud and then gets forwarded to the app. However, in case of an internet outage, they have a backup technology called “Local Control”. Using this, you will be able to control your devices from the app if your phone and the hub are on the same Wi-Fi network.

One thing that is different on the first-generation hub is that the local control only has the basic functionalities. You will be able to turn devices on/off, but the schedules and automation will not work without an internet connection.

Wink Hub supports a wide range of products. Products that have a “Wink Compatible” or “Wink Hub Required” seal or simply any Zigbee or Z-Wave-based product should work beautifully with their system.

Wink Hub

Wink Hub

The Good

  1. Support for a great range of wireless protocols
  2. Pretty inexpensive compared to other home hubs
  3. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support

The Bad

  1. 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band only
  2. Limited control without internet
  3. Subscription required

Wink Hub 2 Review

Wink Hub 2 got a sleeker design compared to the old one and it is slim enough to be put in narrow spaces and bookshelves. They modernized their wireless connectivities with Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) and support for the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band. It is backward compatible with 2.4 GHz so you don’t have to worry if you only have the old Wi-Fi band.

Protocol-wise, it remains exactly the same but the difference can be felt if you use a 5 GHz network. Because 5 GHz works much faster and can accommodate more devices for simultaneous use. Previously, the connection between the hub and the Wi-Fi router was wireless. But now, it also supports a direct ethernet port connection.

There are a few more good improvements on the hardware side. The memory got bumped up to 512 MB from 64 MB. The setup process got better with automatic discovery of the hub followed by a guided interface.

The “Local Control”, the way they call it, got enhanced. Where the Hub 1 can only do basic stuff like switching devices on/off without internet, Hub 2 can, in addition, control home automation robots and schedules.

Third-party support for products stays the same way. Any Zigbee or Z-Wave product will work in their system. Some popular products that Wink officially announced as compatible are Philips Hue, Leviton, Lutron, Ring, Nest, Yale, etc. We reviewed Leviton Decora Smart recently and we can say they work pretty well with each other.

Wink Hub 2

Wink Hub 2

The Good

  1. Support for a great range of wireless protocols
  2. Sleeker and compact design
  3. 5 GHz Wi-Fi band and ethernet port support
  4. Easier discovery and setup process
  5. Improved local control for when there is no internet
  6. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support

The Bad

  1. Subscription required

Is Wink Hub 3 Coming Out Anytime Soon?

There are numerous rumors about Wink Hub 3 and people have been waiting so long for another good iteration of this product. Is it actually coming?

I have been looking into Reddit on this matter and a Redditor named jam905 posted his thoughts which made the most sense. According to him, after Wink’s former founder Nathan Smith left in 2017, they hired a new director of Hardware Engineering in 2019 for coordinating the engineering team again.

It is definitely questionable why it took them two years to fill in a replacement but if everything goes right, we might see a Wink Hub 3 in 2021 or 2022 at the latest assuming it takes a year or two for a new team to come out with a product in general. Anyway, this is my personal opinion and it is not taken from any credible source.

Wink Hub Alternatives

There are probably dozens of alternatives for Wink Hub if you ask me. However, I really don’t want to confuse you by throwing 5 or 6 different options. If you want something that is directly replaceable with Wink Hub, it is the Samsung SmartThings Hub. And here is why:

First of all and the most important one, SmartThings does not require a subscription to work. The support for different wireless protocols is a little less but it covers Zigbee and Z-Wave products which are the most prominent ones in the market.

SmartThings have a better app interface as it comes from Samsung who is already one of the tech leaders in terms of software experience. In theory, it supports up to 500 devices on one hub which is more than sufficient for one home but if you take advantage of automation further, you can use a much greater number of devices.

FAQ

What is Wink Hub?

Wink Hub is a mediator hub of different wireless protocols (Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, etc.) and offers its customers to control all of them in one place.

How to update Wink Hub?

If there is a new update available, it will pop up on the app screen. Or if you simply turn on “Automatic Firmware Updates” in your app which will take care of all your future updates in the background.

Is Wink out of business?

Wink was acquired by i.am+ in 2017 and since then, the company decayed a lot and even had several downtimes. But it is not officially out of business.

When is Wink Hub 3 coming out?

There is no exact date when Wink Hub 3 is coming out and is not even known if it is ever coming out. But according to some Redditors, Wink has incorporated a new engineering team in 2019 to work on their next products.

Does Wink work without subscription?

Wink works without a subscription but the features will be drastically limited and you will not be able to do any sort of cloud-based controlling.

Does Wink work without internet?

Wink works without internet with the help of their feature called “Local Control”. It is simply that when there is no internet connection, the hub will communicate directly with the devices instead of going through the cloud.

Does Wink work with Apple HomeKit?

Wink does not work directly with Apple HomeKit. However, there are several ways you can make this work, for example, using a HomeBridge in between. We have explained this method in our guide here.

Conclusion: Is Wink Subscription a Dealbreaker?

In May 2020, Wink announced out of the blue that they have changed their business model and now all their customers have to pay a monthly subscription fee to be able to use Wink Cloud. For a product that was advertised as no subscription required at the time of selling suddenly introducing a fixed monthly fee is surely immoral.

There are many other options on the market that do not require subscriptions whatsoever. So what could be the one reason to stay with Wink? In my honest opinion, there is none unless you are already invested in their system. The best use case of this hub would be integrating different wireless protocols together under one single hub. This is where Wink Hub shines the most keeping in mind that you will be paying a fixed subscription fee every month.