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.

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The Good

  • Expansive compatibility
  • Popular brands supported by Wink*
  • Languages supported by Wink
  • Comprehensive automation solutions

Expansive Compatibility

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*

  • Bali
  • Chamberlain
  • GE
  • Honeywell
  • Kidde
  • Kwikset
  • Leviton
  • Lutron
  • Philips
  • Rachio
  • Rheem
  • Schlage
  • TCP

*Not all products by these companies are compatible with the Wink Hub

Languages Supported by Wink

  • 433 MHz RF
  • Bluetooth
  • Lutron
  • WIFI
  • ZigBee
  • ZWave

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.)

The Bad

  • 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.

System Limitations

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.

The Bottom Line

The general trend towards a DIY home automation system gives reason to believe that Wink is in the proper niche. While there are a few glitches in the system, the array of compatible products make Wink stand above most of their competitors. Wink excels at making their product widely compatible with other companies' products and selection is quite impressive.

It is notable that on the company's website that there are several products which are out of stock. Customers may find that getting Wink products is difficult. The fact that Wink remains viable after so much uncertainty speaks to the quality of the product overall and customer satisfaction. For those looking for a DIY home automation solution with the ability to add several products, Wink is a good choice for home automation.

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Francisco Rodriguez

March 6th, 2017 Corpus Christi, TX

Defective wink relay unit. Waited over 1 month to have certified electrical technician to come in and install just to make sure it was going to be done correctly therefore the return policy was past due. The lights will not come on; The installation was correct because the green LED works as do the test buttons. It looks like bad contacts on the panel or faceplate. Tech tried just about everything including the spacers. There is definitely a bad contact because when the faceplate is being attached the lights flicker. I've already spend a lot more that this thing is worth getting it installed, now I have to call the technician back to have it removed because WINK's awful return policy only allows customers to get a replacement after the defective units are sent back to them. Therefore will have to wait until the tech comes, removes, pay him again, pay more for the shipping to WINK, wait at least two weeks for the replacement unit, call the tech back and wait for him to be available, install (and pray that one works), pay him again...how much would say I will spend on all of this?...incredible...don't go thru this nightmare and don't buy the relay.

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