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.
I actually had the same issue this weekend as well. I bought a new router (Black friday!), didn’t want to use the same SSID as I was previously using and now I can’t change it using the app so I had to plug it in to the ethernet port. Didn’t notice any major issues on my end though. I will stick with it for as long as I can and most likely will transition over to homekit if it comes down to it.
Nikiya Osborn says
Why not run home assistant so you can have more control and link home assistant to Google Assistant so that you’re wife can manage more easily.
Thomas Duffy says
I don’t know if you’ve actually used home assistant, but he specifically says whatever solution has to have a WAF. Home assistant is just about the furthest thing I can think of as having a WAF at the moment, it’s just way too complicated to set up and use.
I switched before I had your problem. I went to Hubitat mainly due to its local operation. While it is much more versatile and robust than Wink, the learning curve is quite steep. There are still things that I don’t understand. Good luck with Smart Things.
I dumped Wink earlier this year for Smart Things, and I didn’t look back. It constantly went down, and support was slow to respond. I don’t love the SmartThings app, but I didn’t realize til I got the Samsung hub how Rock solid it is, and how often Wink was slow to respond or suffered outages.
I loved Winks simplicity, it’s ashame Will.I.am bought it with no clear idea what to do with it.
Eddie G. says
Sooooo true dat, I’m gon be, I’m gon be, I’m gon be, I’m gon be, done wit dat HUB.
You do realize with Wink, if you can completely reset your hub and just reconnect your account. You don’t need to reconfigure everything again its stored on their servers. Only thing im not 100% sure of is the robots, but i think i tried it before and it restored those as well… I think
I feel strongly that my wink hub should be sorting things out itself. Carpet cleaners unplugged switches. I can’t get some back online.
I also have wink2 hub back in its box because i can’t get to stay on network. I could be making errors.
For now I’ve given up. I don’t care. Important switches Still work.
I’ve been playing Tech starting with RCA switches. Everything now is zigbee.
I’m in the same boat. I’ve got a couple Zigbee devices (color changing counter lights, SmartThings plug) that I’d prefer not to get rid of, but Wink is concerning me these days.
Coincidentally, just two days ago I also reached the decision to migrate away from Wink given many of the reasons stated in the article. I just purchased a SmartThings hub and plan on transitioning this week. Hopefully it is smooth as most of my sensors are SmartThings anyway.
Ken R says
I gave up on wink about 2 years ago when Phillips sent me. Free starter pack direct from the Netherlands! To test out! I took all the wink lights offline ASAP and never looked back! It was full of issues with connectivity lights not working etc
Bruce Arkwright says
I am very concerned on any products that rely solely on the internet to work!!! Sure it’s fine if you could use the internet to control/monitor it for remote control but every device must be able be used in the house without any external networks, PERIOD!!! The devices shouldn’t care if some distance server goes down or goes away, because what matters is what’s going on in the house! there are too many products on the market right now that if the internet goes down outside your house you cannot turn off the fucking light!!!! That is bullshit…
Bruce Arkwright says
I have only four expensive wink socket (one plug) units and Hunter fan/light controller…sadly if the internet goes down I’m screwed… And sadly the hunter fan control can not be controlled with Google voice control!!! You must use wink app, it does have its own remote if you don’t lose it!!!
All will be scrap if wink folds…that’s just Bullshit..
Bruce Arkwright says
Yeah, somebody delete this second statement…I got all that wrong…. sorry
Matt Coddington says
Bye bye, Wink!
I left wink for hubitat about a year ago and never turned back. I don’t like the dependence of Google and Samsung on internet as I don’t believe one should have internet to be able to control their house. It’s worked very well and whereas we do use Google as a voice interface (and even the Google home app), I do have some smart switches around that control most things also.
I have been singing this tune on reddit for a while now myself. Wink is done. It just is. I actually got banned from the wink reddit from posting anymore because i tried to warn people to leave it now.
The wink people who still support them are delusional. A bunch of delusional [email protected]!’s. I was one of those people. But you have to be able to know when its time to cut your losses and move on. I was able to migrate EVERYTHING i had with zero issues over to Hubitat for about a year now.
Will-i am spoiled a good thing.
I have many zigbee devices, and a few zwave alarm stuff, but mostly zigbee. No reason to stay on this dying platform any longer. Just bite the bullet and move.
You will be happy you did.
Joe C says
Wow! I just did the same thing on Black Friday! I replaced my old GE Link bulbs with Philips Wiz bulbs based on WiFi. A bit of setup on Google and IFTTT and I was back up and running. (I miss Wink’s advanced scheduling though. That’s why I needed IFTTT.)
I use SmartThings WiFi in my home which combines fast wifi and the hub in each device so there are less things to plug in. I have 3 ST wifi devices across my home and it’s been rock solid for over a year. Also, the SmartThings integration inside the Google Home app works well.. it definitely has a higher spousal approval rating than solutions I’ve tried to pull off in the past. Hope that helps.
I can’t take seriously anyone who thinks “Home Automation” is simply a few Wi-Fi controlled light bulbs. Currently, there is simply no way that Google Home can provide a complete home automation setup like a dedicated hub can do.
John R says
Our Wink Hub 2 never came back after the California power shut downs, so we were forced to ditch it back in October. We also migrated to SmartThings, so far it is ok but not as easy to use as Wink. I hope you guys are able to get an interview or a quote from will.i.am someday because I’d love to understand what happened.
Back to the Future says
I still have one ge light and wink Hampton Bay fan/light controller….one ge light stop working as a controlled device but light itself still working….only just recently was I about to ask Google to control wink HB light but still can not the fan… Luckily, HB fan/light controller has its own remote….
I am not a fan of smarthome controllers that must rely on the internet… If the internet gets cut off for whatever reason wink is useless…. And for some reason my internet goes out way too often…Something they don’t tell you when you buy the stupid ‘smart home’ controllers…
I love Wink and have it installed in two different properties but I’ve become aware that things haven’t been managed very well lately. A few weeks ago I bought a Hubitat hub and I’m trying to get a handle on how it works. I’ve transitioned a couple lights, added a few other devices… trying to understand how it works because it is a steeper learning curve for sure (undoubtedly more powerful). I can’t be caught flat footed if/when Wink goes away. If Hubitat was smart they would come up with a routine to migrate Wink devices to Hubitat. They understand that their hub is more complicated for the average Wink user… address this migration and they could cleanup.
On the podcast, Kevin mentioned that he wished he could schedule timed routines with Google Home instead of voice activated routines. You already can do that. With any routine you can add a scheduled time to run, so it will run with the voice command and/or at the scheduled time.
Kevin C. Tofel says
Thanks Darren! I wasn’t sure at the time of the podcast, mainly because the routine setup isn’t intuitive. As I looked at the setup I saw the voice command, which is mandatory for creation but not for triggering. Wish Google would make that a little clearer. Cheers!
Bryan Chamberlain says
I put this on the Wink group on Facebook too.
-What if Wyze partnered/bought Wink?
Kevin C. Tofel says
I wouldn’t mind that at all! 🙂
I gave up on Wink in September for good because of the outages…fortunately I was already using Home Assistant with Wink as a gateway to Zigbee and Z-Wave devices.
So, I grabbed a GoControl HUSBZB-1 USB Hub which supports both protocols and works flawlessly with Home Assistant…haven’t looked back!
No more outages, no more cloud access needed (everything’s local), and devices react instantly now!
But all said and done though, I hope Wink makes it…I’m concern that less players in the Zigbee & ZWave market could hurt those protocols in the long run…not a fan of wi-fi devices unless you can control them without needing to access someone’s cloud!
Failure and shutdown of BestBuy’s Insignia smart products and Lowes Iris smart products (to name a few) should be a clear example of why cloud solutions are a bad idea!
Only downside is Home Assistant is a bit technical to get going, but every release gets easier for newbies and the support forum is a great resource!
Thomas Caccitolo says
I totally agree. I’ve had a smart home for a couple years now and as time developed so did the devices in my home. While I’ve had Wink hub 2 the entire time, I think is time to upgrade to a company who takes more pride in there equipment, software, and customer concerns. Thanks for the learning curve wink. Hope you figure out it sucks not being first.
Terry Dean says
I hate tell everybody this but Wink only relies on the internet to setup devices, groups and robots. but the wink app and relays still operates everything as a manual control. you just wont see robots operate.. I have been using Wink since they first came out and have never see it operate under any situation.
Terry Dean says
Last line came out wrong it should say “never see it not operate under any situation”
I just switched from wink to HomeSeer. My biggest concern with Wink is if they did unexpectedly shut down their service that I would be unable to exclude my zwave devices from the hub which would effectively render them useless. The HomeTroller is only $99 and runs everything locally unlike SmartThings (which I used before Wink).
HomeSeer Mark says
FWIW – The exclude process is ‘promiscuous’ so that can be done by any Z-Wave controller. That said, thanks for getting one of our HomeTrollers! Hope you like it. 🙂
Ok, Phew.. I didn’t know that, Thanks!
I like the HomeSeer so far, although it had a bit of a learning curve. I did look at Home Assistant, but had some weird problems that kept me from adopting it for now.
My only issue with HomeSeer is that many of the plugins are written by independent developers and cost $40 or so a whack. Most other HA platforms have many of those included. e.g. Chamberlain garage door control, WeMo, etc..
Just got the email that wink is going to a subscription service… glad I switched last month. Was having so many wink”blackouts” I just couldn’t take the disruptive service…Bye bye wink!
So as many of you probably have heard Wink has decided to move to a $5/mo subscription service which totally sucks. Worse of all they only gave us one week before they disconnect you on the 13th if you don’t pay up. Maybe even sooner because I can’t control anything tonight (5/6/20) and its been solid for me. I’m done with them but where to go to. I’ve been using Home Assistant for about a year now and have some automations and WiFi switches that I put Tasmota on and use MQTT with but I’m running HA on my Synology NAS and not sure it can easily handle a ZWave stick and Zigbee stick. I’ve been controlling my Wink hub devices through HA and that has worked but that will go away too. Trying to decide do I just go to a Smart Things hub or go to the USB sticks on my NAS with HA. Another problem is my NAS is not centrally located like my hub is and worry about range of devices to the USB sticks. Any thoughts Kevin? I know you’ve been playing with HA and it sounds like you’ve had success based on the podcasts. I also am a Google Home user with 3 minis and a screen but my doorbell is Ring (may have to convert to Nest). I’m technical (SW engineer) but I need something with minimal downtime for the family. I’ve got about 5 Zwave switches (outdoor, indoor, and a ceiling fan) and about 6 Zigbee lights and motion sensor (don’t remember what it was). How can you tell from Wink if it’s Zigbee or Zwave?
I just got the email today, on the 10th. My experience with Wink is that it’s a product that never really worked properly. So for them to just decide that I need to keep paying them to use the stuff I purchased, that’s absurd. Unsubscribed from the email and unplugged their hub within a few minutes of getting the email. Seriously, that’d be like if after paying off my car, Mazda was like “We’ve decided to switch to a subscription model, so if you want to keep using your car, you’ll need to pay us constantly.”
Uhhh … nope!
Chris Winterscheid says
I dumped wink as well when I got their notice. I went with Smartthings. It was easy to set up and I moved all my devices over easily.
It is a much better platform.
After Wink’s issues over the last year there is no way I would pay for a service like that. Keep paying for a problematic device. No way.
I’m in the process of removing all devices from wink in preparation of my being “locked” out of “my” hub that I purchased from them. Will happen tomorrow when their recently announced subscription goes in effect.
The fact that I have two hubs, have put money and time into this platform only to receive 6 days notice of “pay us more money every month to continue using the product you purchased” (despite WINK telling us when we purchased the product that there wasn’t any subscriptions or additional fees) upsets me beyond words.
The platform was good, the service over the last few years has been terrible. The 6 days notice to disable a product that I’m supposed to own just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. They will never another dime from me again.
I won’t sell it the hubs I have now, I won’t give them a new customer to replace me. As of today I will go out of my way to advise others to not give them the time of day. Soon there will be a you tube video of a couple wink hubs being destroyed.
Good bye wink, good riddance.
My Wink 1 started having connection issues this last month. It was weird. The app was saying the hub was off line but it was still getting notified from the door sensors.
I understand them needing an income model. But there hasn’t been any news letters from them over the last 6-8 months and then suddenly we have a weeks notice their switching to monthly subscription. Would’ve been really nice to get info a lot sooner from them.
I’m switching over to Smartthings v.3. Took a few days to get things hooked up.
Their customer service has been terrible for Tha past year. I have been without service much longer than I have had service. And note they want a month subscription fee?!! Not a chance!!!
Tom Morgan says
After Wink suddenly announced the switch to a subscription I spent the equivalent of 10 months wink subscription and bought a smart thing hub. It was a great decision. The smart thing is smaller, broader reach and easier to use. Dump wink.