For people who purchase dozens of smart home products, launching the apps of every single device is tedious and tiring. This issue can be solved by purchasing a product called a ‘smart hub'.
Smart hubs are useful devices that allow us to connect other smart devices and control them all with a single application. Besides the controlling perk, smart hubs enable us to create handy setups that better suit our lifestyle.
Today, dozens of companies offer smart hubs and claim their products are the most integration-friendly and easy to use devices. However, not all companies are truly trustworthy and not all of the hubs live up to the hype.
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Wink 2 vs SmartThings: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this comparison article, we'll be comparing two of the best-selling devices, Wink and SmartThings. These two offer the most interesting features and are among the very best smart hubs on the market.
We'll be reviewing, comparing and evaluating some of the most important aspects of SmartThings and Wink. Lastly, we'll come up with a reasoned verdict and crown one as the leading product.
The first thing we need to write about is the installation processes of our smart hubs. Today, modern smart home shoppers seek out devices that are easy to set up and don't require any professional assistance. So we need to be sure that both Wink and SmartThings are easy to activate.
Setting up SmartThings is pretty straightforward, and it takes about 10 minutes to complete the installation process. I won't write a step-by-step guide since SmartThings has uploaded an excellent guide that perfectly explains everything in detail.
So setting up SmartThings is quite easy and it doesn't require any professional assistance. If you still find it hard to complete the process, just check the user's manual or reach out to the support team. Those guys are superb. Alternatively, SmartThings' community forum is fantastic. You can find all the answers to your questions there.
Just like SmartThings, setting up Wink takes a few minutes. It's so easy to install Wink that there's no chance of getting lost.
To help you understand what is required to complete the installation process, I'll include an excellent infographic that perfectly illustrates the complexity of the whole procedure.
Once you have navigated through these six steps, your Wink Hub will be ready for use. If you find yourself stuck and in need of help, check the user's manual for further guidance or, as a last resort, reach out to Wink's helpful support team.
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Unfortunately, Wink doesn't have a community forum like SmartThings'. That's a big drawback as a lot of valuable information is accessible at SmartThings' forum.
The next topic we need to discuss is the designs of Wink and SmartThings. Today, everyone wants to purchase a product that looks attractive and improves the overall looks of their interiors. If Wink and SmartThings fail to meet the requirements of a buyer in this respect, they'll start looking for alternatives.
Visually, SmartThings Hub is attractive. It's small, simple, minimalistic and eye-catching. In terms of size, It's vital for a hub like this to have neat dimensions so that it can be placed in a variety of settings. The dimensions of SmartThings Hub are 4.2 x 4.9 x 1.3 inches, and it weighs 0.5lb.
I own the SmartThings and can say from experience that it looks terrific. SmartThings is well-sized and can sit tidily in just about any convenient location in your house. Still, I've come across buyers who say they are bored of the “plastic cube-hub look” and complain about SmartThings' lack of innovation. You can't blame them; it's as though there's an unwritten rule for a smart hub to be white, and that needs to change.
Just like SmartThings, Wink is only available in the colour white. Regarding design, it's different from ST. Let's find out how Wink looks and if it's visually more compelling than its competitors.
Compared to the first generation model, Wink 2 is more beautiful and eye-catching. However, the plastic doesn't feel like a quality material, and the LED that shines and sends different alerts requires a manual to understand what it's trying to say.
I've seen buyers complaining about the size of the smart hub. Most of them state that it's a bit larger than they'd like. The dimensions of Wink 2 are 7.25″ x 7.25″ x 1.75″, and it weighs 8 ounces. Frankly, Wink's design isn't ideal, but it's close to perfect.
3. Supported Devices
The main consideration when people purchase a smart hub is its third-party integrations. If a smart hub can't integrate with famous names in the smart home industry, it would be futile to buy it. So we need to find out if Wink and SmartThings are third-party integration friendly and if they can work with popular names in the smart home industry.
SmartThings Hub syncs with most prominent and well-known smart home devices on the market. There's a supported device list uploaded by ST, and if you'd like to view what products integrate with SmartThings, click here. If a device you want to connect with SmartThings isn't on the list, don't worry.
Besides the supported devices, SmartThings works perfectly with other Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. SmartThings hub has two USB ports, and a built-in Bluetooth LE, for future device support.
Unfortunately, Bluetooth isn't enabled but as soon it's active, control options will undoubtedly increase. To make the smart hub even more attractive, it allows you to control specific devices directly from the hub. For instance, you can control Philips Hue bulbs via SmartThings.
SmartThings can also connect with security cameras. If you own an Arlo, connecting it with ST is a piece-of-cake process. What I don't like about pairing a security camera with Samsung SmartThings is that the cloud storage will soon turn into a paid service.
A lot of security camera manufacturers offer FREE, limited cloud storage and the idea of paying for SmartThings' cloud doesn't sound like a good idea. Along with everything we've mentioned, ST also works with IFTTT. While this might cause small delays in triggers, it's still good to have the option.
Notable companies that don't support SmartThings, such as Nest, can still be connected to the smart hub. SmartThings is well-known for having a powerful API that allows developers to write their device handlers.
But integrating those devices are bit harder since it requires you to add scripts manually. If you don't have previous experience in this regard, you might need some help to complete the linking process. You can also read integrations guides written by other users. A lot of valuable information and guides are available at SmartThings' community forum.
The latest SmartThings' addition is that it now supports Amazon Alexa — allowing you to give voice-enabled commands to SmartThings, which adds an extra level of convenience.
Today, Wink 2 is widely-regarded as the best smart hub. It supports a huge array of smart-home protocols and devices. Besides Wi-Fi support, Wink 2 supports Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Google Thread, etc.
Another compelling aspect is the Wink 2 integrations. In case you're interested in the full list, make sure to visit Wink's website. What makes Wink 2 even more attractive is that it's voice-control enabled. If you own an Amazon Echo, you can use it to give commands.
The third-party integrations of Wink 2 make the smart hub outstanding. For instance, pairing Nest Cam, thermostats, garage door openers and window shades is a simple process, and you can do it with a few button presses.
The major flaw of Wink 2 is related to its robot and rules. As Wink explained, the logic for those rules can be exemplified by the following scenario: If Nest Cam Outdoor detects activity, Schlage Sense will automatically lock itself.
Unfortunately, we had trouble creating a similar setup since Wink 2 continually returned internal errors. We reached out to Wink's support team, and they explained it was a problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible.
But don't think that Wink 2 is the only hub that has problems with connectivity. Other top-notch smart hubs have similar issues, and every other company is trying to solve these problems.
The fact that Wink 2 can integrate with Amazon Alexa, the voice-control feature, makes it attractive and desirable. But we found that Wink had problems following the commands we gave through the voice controller. For example, when we told the Wink hub to set my Ecobee4's temperature to 60 degrees, sometimes it didn't obey the command (and possibly didn't understand what I was saying).
4. Mobile Application
Additionally, it's essential for a smart hub to have an easy-to-navigate mobile application with a clean, simple design so that users don't get lost and confused.
So we need to review the mobile apps of SmartThings and Wink to be sure they offer functional and reliable applications. Otherwise, controlling all our smart devices through these apps would be tiring and tedious.
It's accurate when people say that the mobile application plays a huge role as to how successful a device is. There have been numerous cases when a poorly structured mobile application killed off a smart gadget that in other respects had great potential.
Luckily, the mobile app of SmartThings is terrific. It never bugs, glitches or freezes. It allows the owner to configure a lot of things and offers fast access features. To begin with, SmartThings has several modes to choose from, and you automate the shifts so that everything runs smoothly.
For example, if you're in the ‘Home Mode' and unexpectedly leave your house (SmartThings will instantly take notice since it tracks your phone's location), it will activate the ‘Away Mode' that'll turn on the motion-detection system of your security cameras.
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Of course, that's only an example. You can configure your ‘Home and Away' modes as you like. There's also a ‘Night Mode', and additionally, SmartThings allows you to create custom modes that fit your needs.
For instance, ‘Guest Mode' can be an excellent addition; so that whenever there are guests, lights will not automatically turn on or off, for example.
Furthermore, SmartThings has a security mode. In other words, there are three modes to choose from – Armed (Away), Armed (Home) and Disarmed. You can configure all those modes as you wish.
For instance, you could create the following setup (or adjust it to whatever your preferences might be): Whenever you're in the ‘Armed Away' mode, the security camera will start recording, and if it detects motion, it'll call 911 (if you have a monitoring contract purchased) and sound the siren to alarm trespassers that they're spotted.
Wink also has a beautiful mobile application that works flawlessly. It's clean, modern, comfortable to use and intuitive. What I like about the app is that I've never had cases of it lagging, crashing or freezing. It is on the same level as SmartThings.
If you're interested how the app looks on the inside, I'll drop a few pics so you can know what to expect from it.
This mobile application allows you to create lots of things, but many consider it inferior to SmartThings. From what Wink owners have said to me, I've gauged that it can't function on the same level at SmartThings and offers less flexibility with fewer options for configuration.
The main issue of Wink is the inability to group devices from different categories together.
SmartThings lagged in displaying live feeds from a security camera and couldn't properly deliver IFTTT commands.
Well, there were no such issues with Wink, and the results were sharp. The live feed displayed by the security camera was crystal clear, and IFTTT recipes worked fine too.
To test the full capabilities of Wink, we paired it with an Ecobee4, and as expected, we received accurate temperature and humidity reports.
5. Advantages and Disadvantages
The next topic we need to write about is the advantages and disadvantages of both smart hubs. We need to know all the pros and cons to avoid any misunderstandings before purchasing either Wink or SmartThings.
Hence we've created two detailed charts that perfectly show the strengths and weaknesses of both smart hubs.
|Flexible Mobile Application||Limited Bluetooth Connectivity|
|Amazon Alexa Support||Problems Disabling Alarms|
|Compatible With Hundreds of Smart Devices|
|Powerful Developer Community|
|Zigbee and Z-Wave Support|
|Easy to Install||Purchase SmartThings|
Wink 2 Hub
|Easy Setup Process||No USB Ports|
|Free to Use||No Battery Backup|
|Flexible Mobile Application||Basic Design|
|Plenty of Connections||Error Messages While Creating Automation Rules|
|Strong Bluetooth Connectivity|
|Alexa & IFTTT Support|
|Auto-Discovery Setup||Purchase Wink 2|
So those are the advantages and disadvantages of both smart hubs. Both products have pretty cool pros and a few cons. If compared, Wink and SmartThings have quite similar stats.
Here's where SmartThings wins big. The Developer Community is the most fantastic thing I've seen. It's filled with priceless information and professional tips. If you ever encounter any problems with your smart hubs, simply visiting the community forum and searching a thing or two is enough to find the solution to your problem.
Unfortunately, Wink doesn't offer its users an environment like this. All you can do here is reach out to the support team and speak directly to a Wink representative. The good thing is that those guys are professional and are likely to help you solve the issues you're facing.
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Alternatively, instead of visiting the community of SmartThings, you can also reach out to the company's customer care with any inquiries. The customer care area of SmartThings is outstanding. I've contacted them a few times and always received professional answers and tips.
Before concluding our comparison article, we'd like to present a detailed chart that shows the full features of both smart hubs. With this, you can know how Wink and ST compare and understand the main differentiators.
So both smart hubs are wonderfully constructed, best-selling and highly-rated products. Purchasing either of these hubs will surely meet and even exceed your expectations. Both Wink and SmartThings have thousands of satisfied customers and are top products in the industry.
Both have their drawbacks, but overall, Wink and ST will not disappoint you since they are a-thousand-time-tested smart hubs with enormous customer bases.
The Bottom Line
Wink 2 has much improved compared to its predecessor hub. Now it has a sleeker design, more capabilities and features and higher durability. People widely consider Wink 2 as a huge success, and some even think of it as the best product on the market.
Wink's mobile application makes it easy for newbie users to connect all their smart devices. But SmartThings' app is designed to be easier to navigate. Plus, it's more intuitive.
The good part is that both smart hubs integrate with all the popular smart devices on the market. They support all the major names, and on top of this, both support Z-Wave and Zigbee. While we slightly prefer the SmartThings, before making any purchase it's essential to check if these products work with devices you own or plan to purchase.
If you purchase either of these two and end up with a smart hub that doesn't integrate with your current smart home products, it will be a total disaster.
Lastly, the main and most important perk of Wink 2 is the wider range of wireless protocols and dual-band networking abilities.
Purchasing either of these two will meet or even exceed your expectations. Before making the final call, make sure to check if your current or future smart devices integrate with these hubs.
|Smart Hub Name||SmartThings||Wink 2|