Over the last year or so, many of us have been wondering what’s going on with Wink. Version 2 of the smart home hub hasn’t seen many updates and I can’t remember the last time I heard about newly supported devices from Wink. Indeed, the most recent press release from Wink is from June of 2017. We’ve also heard it recently reported that Wink may not be around much longer. Even so, I’ve been running my home on the Wink hub for well over two years. At least I was.
Lately, I’ve experienced a rash of issues with my Wink hub, ranging from service outages last month between it and Google Home to some connected devices simply not working on the first or second try when in the Wink app. And this past weekend was the last straw for me.
We unplugged the hub to paint our hallway. After plugging the hub back in, it failed to re-connect to my home network; something it’s generally done by itself after the resolution of a power loss. Repeated attempts to get Wink back on my wireless network have resulted in utter failure.
I’m sure I can reset and manually connect the hub to an ethernet cable to re-establish the network connection temporarily. Then I could change it over to Wi-Fi access like it had before. And of course, I would then rediscover devices, set up automations, etc…
But I’m not going to do that.
If I’m going to go to all of the trouble to set up my devices and automations again, I think it makes more sense to do so with an alternative product that has continued to evolve and improve over time. If Wink the company were showing momentum, I’d stick with it. I’ve loved the product for its simplicity and effectiveness. However, that love affair has deteriorated over time due to small issues and a lack of product maturity.
To be honest, I’m not sure what route I’ll be taking. In fact, I think I’ll be transitioning to a temporary solution for a bit. The easiest thing for me to do right now is to plug in the Samsung SmartThings Link for Nvidia Shield TV that I bought at a discount for $10 in 2018. We have two Nvidia Shield TVs in the house, so I can plug in the Samsung USB stick in the one that’s most central in our home.
Why use SmartThings instead of the many other alternatives we’ve covered here such as Home Assistant, Hubitat, an Amazon Echo Plus, OpenHAB, Insteon or a similar solution?
There’s a good reason. Any smart home devices in our home have to be simple enough for my wife to use. If she can’t use or manage a device, she doesn’t want it in the house. And although all of the automation solutions above are excellent ones, few have what I’d consider “mainstream usability” as compared to Samsung SmartThings.
This also leads to the transition I mentioned prior.
I think an even simpler (read: highly acceptable to my wife) end solution is not to have a traditional hub at all. We have multiple Google Home displays and speakers around the house and ideally, if all of my devices could run through those, my wife would likely be happier.
So although I’ll probably be moving over to SmartThings in the near term, I’m patiently waiting to see what additional integrations and features Google adds to its smart home platform, such as local control. My wife and I already love the updated Google Home mobile app that brings all of our devices together in one unified view.
Over the long term, I’ll be thinking about swapping out some older Zigbee bulbs with newer inexpensive Wyze bulbs. I’ve been very happy with the few I recently bought; they work great with our Google Home and there’s practically zero latency due to the use of Wi-Fi.
I know there’s a passionate crowd using Wink out there and if the Wink hub is still meeting your needs, I don’t blame you for continuing to use the product. However, I’ve been let down a little much lately by the old hub, so it’s time for me to pull the plug on Wink.