After reviewing the $279.99 Samsung SmartThings WiFi gear last month, I noted that I planned to also use the integrated SmartThings Hub functionality. I’ve done that, having removed all of my smart devices from my old Wink Hub 2, mainly because I’ve lost a little faith in Wink as a company but also because of some technical issues. Meanwhile, Samsung has continued to innovate, add more partners and improve their software.
So how did the transition from Wink to SmartThings go? In a word: excellent.
That’s not to say I haven’t had some challenges or issues. Overall, however, the Samsung SmartThings experience is far better, at least with my specific smart home devices, than when I last looked at it two years ago.
To start, I did what we always recommend when moving from one hub or platform to another: Carefully and properly remove all existing devices individually from the old system. This approach makes the new system setup relatively glitch free.
I say “relatively” because adding one of my old Z-Wave door sensors to SmartThings took a few stubborn tries.
I sort of expect that from Z-Wave from time to time, regardless of the hub or platform. And one time when trying to discover a Cree connected bulb, SmartThings found it but “it” was actually an old Wemo Insight Smart Plug. That’s really odd since the Cree bulb uses a ZigBee radio while the Wemo device uses Wi-Fi. Regardless, a reset of the Cree bulb and rediscovery solved the issue.
One other thing I noticed that I like from SmartThings over Wink is that with the latter, I usually had to have a Z-Wave device practically next to the hub for discovery. That wasn’t my experience when using Samsung’s hub.
When discovering a Z-Wave door or window sensors, for example, I was able to leave them where they’re currently installed. I’m not sure of the internal radio differences (if any) between SmartThings and Wink hubs but that could be the reason. And since each Samsung SmartThings WiFi unit has Z-Wave radios, perhaps the Z-Wave range is broader due to the mesh network set up around the house.
I was a little stymied by setting up some of my automations with SmartThings at first. For example, we have our family room lights turn on 15 minutes before sunset and then turn off nightly at 11 pm. After adding the two Osram bulbs for the family room to SmartThings, I didn’t see a “sunset” option; only clock settings for each bulb.
Later, I looked in the Automations section of the SmartThings mobile app, which does have both time and event options, i.e.; sunrise and sunset. In fact, this section is set up similar to IFTTT. You set up one or more “If” conditions and choose a “Then” action to take place. If conditions include the time, a change in device status, location and location modes of Home, Away, or Night. This is simple but powerful.
I’m not much of a “scene” user but did set up a few sample scenes for testing. This too was easy and the scenes all worked perfectly. Devices can be added to Groups as well, which is a key feature for me since I use more smart bulbs than smart switches.
And of course, I did link SmartThings to Google Home so the Google Assistant can control all of the devices on the SmartThings Hub. Amazon Alexa integration is also supported.
Simply put, the transition took about as long as I expected: Roughly 30 minutes to discover all of my smart devices and another 30 minutes to re-create automations from old routines. That’s a reasonably small investment of time. Since completion of that setup, the SmartThings Hub is working fantastic. And I now have access to a far broader range of supported smart home products.
For example, there are 33 supported switch/dimmer brands that appear in the SmartThings apps. According to the Wink site, there are 17 switches/dimmers and that also includes outlets. SmartThings shows 40 brands for outlets alone, although some of these are duplicates from the switch/dimmer category. Even though SmartThings doesn’t officially support my Nest or Canary gear, I feel that I have many more choices to pick from as my smart home evolves.
Note that I’m not against Wink as a company, brand or product. If anything, I’d rather see the Wink platform be successful because competition in the smart home hub space is good for consumers.
However, my SmartThings hub experience suggests to me that most mainstream smart home owners would likely be better served, at least for now, with Samsung’s SmartThings platform.
Mike Bailey says
I wish my experience was the same. Migration from the old app to the new app has been laborious. Automations are not as reliable as a smart app.
Im still using both untill they force me off the classic app
Thanks for your review. I’m an early adopter with v.1 hub and struggled with getting things to work. Now have eliminated geofencing, cell signals here part of that problem, & have begun using a repeater as well…I just wish there was a keypad device to make arming/disarming more reliable..
Something you might like to know about Samsung smartthings, I ran into a bug when I was adding a third party device that completely erased all the devices on the system and I had to start over again (multiple times) . They have no backup in place for the system as it currently is, and the third party device was one of the supported devices. They also don’t have a workaround for this problem and considering how fast it all happened without any indication of what was happening, it’s entirely possible it will happen again. I spent weeks trying to work with them to figure out the problem, along with several evenings recreating the problem and providing dozens of screen shots to them, to help isolate the issue. In the end they just said “don’t use third party devices”.
Quaker P says
Oh no.. what was the 3rd party device you were trying to add?
I love SmartThings have used is since 2013 stated with wemo system then found i could get alot more functionality for the cost of devices i was purchasing so switched and wouldn’t know how to live with out it my house is fully Automated thanks to Smarthings smart lighting apps and other custom device and smart apps i integrated into my system as well from tvs/ lights locks home security i never really look at the smartthings app it just runs itself kinda set it and forget it type and i love lt
They just killed one of the most popular 3rd party tie ins called echo speaks which let you do verbal alerts on echo speakers. I’ve also heard rumors that they are going to be killing all custom ties soon and shutting down the ide. I would seriously reconsider going with smarthings and go with another platform. I’ve heard hubitat is a good option.