Wink was founded in 2014 by now bankrupt company Quirky. Since then, the company has developed new partnerships (Canary) and has been ultimately acquired by Flex (formerly known as Flextronics) in late 2015. Because of this turbulent start, experts have predicted that Wink will go out of business, yet, the company continues to gain market share, mainly due to the vast number of products which the Wink Hub is able to control.
Wink does not offer professional installation or 24/7 monitoring of their system or products, and puts all monitoring into onto the individual user by using their smartphone. Winks' app is available for Android and Apple mobile devices and is free to download and to use. Some customers have reported challenges with pairing various devices with the Wink hub, while others state that they had no difficulty doing so. This discrepancy may be a result of user inexperience, devices which are not designed to be compatible with the hub or even the placement of the devices in the home relative to the hub, which can affect the range of the device.
- Expansive compatibility
- Popular brands supported by Wink*
- Languages supported by Wink
- Comprehensive automation solutions
Wink's hub and extensive list of compatible products allow users to completely customize their home. Among the over 100 compatible products are lighting, temperature, video cameras, door locks, garage door openers, appliances, and window treatments. Users can also integrate voice control into their app, which is unique to the Wink Hub.
Popular Brands Supported by Wink*
*Not all products by these companies are compatible with the Wink Hub
Languages Supported by Wink
- 433 MHz RF
Wink is working with Amazon as well to integrate Amazon Echo. Additionally, the app works with iOS and Android wearables.
Comprehensive Automation Solutions
Wave users save on the monthly monitoring fees, since they self-monitor their systems. At the writing of this review, the hub costs around $100 from several sources.
Additional accessories range from around $40 to $250:
- Overflow water sensor ($40)
- Tripper window/door sensors ($40)
- Real-time streaming cameras ($200)
- Smoke and CO alarms ($50-$100)
- Garage controllers ($100-$129)
- Keypad door locks ($199)
- Propane gauges ($50)
- Irrigation controllers ($249)
Users can opt to install an in-home touchscreen controller, which usually requires professional installation, as recommended by Wink. One of the popular items in home automation is Hue lights, which are easy to control with the Wink app, but like some other items, the official product app allows more control options.
Wink boasts that their system is able to learn the normal routines of users' homes and alert users to anything out of the ordinary. In addition to this, the system uses IFTTT (If This Then That) technology which allows users to customize their system to perform multiple actions simultaneously. (Turn on lights when door is opened, etc.)
- Can be expensive
- Installation and inventory issues
- System limitations
Can Be Expensive
Pricing for the Wave Hub has risen significantly during the company's 18-month lifetime. Pricing for the hub began at $49.99 for an initial launch of the product. This may be due to the company having experienced much upheaval in its infancy. Purchasing products individually can become quite costly, and the packages offered by Wink are minimal.
Installation and Inventory Issues
Users report varying degrees of difficulty installing the systems themselves - namely in how easily the products are registered and recognized on their systems. There does not appear to be a common thread, since problems are reported sporadically, and with different platforms (Android, Apple, etc.) Those purchasing Wink should be prepared for the worst-case scenario, and needing multiple attempts to pair various products, but this is not necessarily the case all the time. Customers have complained about the starter kits being frequently sold out. At the writing of this review (January 2016) each of the three available starter kits were unavailable.
The hub needs a Wi-Fi network in order to connect. It also only works on a 2.4GHz network, so if users have a 5GHz network, it won't work. While it's not uncommon for home automation hubs to require Wi-Fi, it's worth noting that the product becomes completely useless if the power or Internet goes out.
While it's nice to have the option of the Wink Relay (the mountable wall control device), a lot of the purpose behind automating your home gets lost when you have to walk to one location to control things. At $300, it costs the same (or more, especially because they suggest you get it professionally installed) as a nice tablet, so there's not a lot of incentive to go this route.