If you’re just getting into the world of smart home connectivity, WeMo and Wink are two potential options. WeMo provides convenient control over your appliances and home electronics right from your mobile device. While you can manage your house through WeMo when you’re actually home you can also control your electronics and appliances even when you’re not at home.
The Wink Relay touchscreen controller is another smart home controller device designed with convenience in mind. Simply stick the Wink Relay controller on a wall of your choice and watch as it does everything from monitor the temperature and humidity levels to turn your other smart products on or off as needed. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect with WeMo and Wink smart home controllers.
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Overview of Wemo
WeMo offers a simple yet effective way to control your appliances and home electronics directly from your mobile device. You’ll feel as though you’re right at home controlling the electronics and appliances even if you’re out and about. The router-dependent WeMo has an operating range of 100 feet and doesn’t require a hub. WeMo is owned by Belkin, a company that typically creates tech accessories and networking gear.
The smart home wireless network uses WiFi already installed in a home rather than a controller or hub for operation. While WeMo devices speak to each other via signals sent through a WiFi router, WeMo can also connect to the broader WiFi network and the internet in general.
Overview of Wink
The Wink Relay touchscreen controller offers the convenience of having a smart home right on your wall. This controller is tailored to your demands and allows you to easily run the Wink app to help manage your favorite smart products in one place. The system ensures instant access to your home through the convenience of a touchscreen. It also comes with temperature, proximity, and humidity sensors to keep close tabs on your home environment.
The controller features smart buttons that act as light switches or that can be used to turn other smart products off or on when needed. A 4.3-inch touch screen displays information about your house in a convenient place.
Key Features of Wink vs WeMo
Both smart controllers have an array of key features. Knowing exactly which feature a smart controller has (or doesn’t) can help you decide on the best overall product for your home.
Setup and installation: WeMo uses the star network configuration that is commonly found in the majority of WiFi setups. This convenient WiFi configuration lets users simply install the WeMo app to begin directly interfacing with WeMo-ready devices. Another handy feature that WeMo users enjoy is the ability to connect with products from brands such as Mr. Coffee and CrockPot. The result is that you can make coffee or even cook dinner through WeMo.
The Wink controller can be mounted in a single or double switch box. There are two mechanical buttons on the relay panel that can be used as replacements for the light switches you’re removing to mount the Wink. It’s important to note that it’s also essential to use a neutral wire during the installation process. Once installation is complete and the wiring is correct the final steps before using the Wink including snapping on the touchscreen portion followed by the filler plate.
Some users might just find it better to hire a professional to correctly install Wink.
Connectivity: WeMo is an app-based network that makes it possible for devices with a WeMo app to connect to it and other devices that use WeMo. For example, a WeMo motion detector can alert other WeMo devices once the user enters the room. Those who also have Amazon Echo can use the voice-command device with WeMo. There is a growing number of WiFi-based smart home devices that can communicate with WeMo devices within the home. WeMo also connects to IFTTT (if this then that). This rapidly growing new service is simple and intuitive and expands on WeMo’s capabilities.
Wink Relay places all of your compatible smart home products into one convenient wall-mounted touchscreen. Wink Relay can communicate with a number of different WiFi and ZigBee products. A wall-mounted controller runs the Wink app, providing instant access to connected smart products. The command center lets users easily manage locks, thermostats, lights, and more. The home controller simply connects with the home’s existing WiFi network.
Pros and Cons
Direct Compatibility Via WiFi: WeMo acts as a convenient remote control for your home electronics, WiFi, and more. You can control WeMo directly from your tablet or smartphone. WeMo directly connects to the typical WiFi network in homes, which makes purchasing an additional controller or hub unnecessary. This direct WiFi connectivity also enables internet-compatible devices. Once they’re connected, WeMo devices speak to each other by sending signals to one another through the WiFi router. These devices can also send signals through the broader local WiFi network and the web in general. It’s easy to get started as the consumer simply needs to install the WeMo app to directly connect with WeMo devices. WeMo also offers connectivity to other devices as well, such as Amazon Echo, the voice-command device.
Not Compatible with Some Other Popular Protocols: WeMo isn’t yet compatible with all WiFi smart home devices. One example is the SmartThings Hub, which supports other popular home automation devices such as ZigBee and Z-Wave. These two brands are also typically more likely to work with major hubs than WeMo.
Compatible with Most Electric Systems: In most homes the Wink Relay readily fits into existing light switch sockets. The setup consists of a clear and easily visible 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen on one side with a manual light switch on the other so that you can quickly and easily turn the lights on and off as desired. Another bonus is that the Wink app and interface are very similar so there’s not much of a learning curve when switching between the two. The Relay is outfitted with proximity sensors that detect when someone is close by and show the humidity and temperature.
Can’t Distinguish Between Users: The Wink Relay home system falls a bit short when it comes to technology. For example, it is not yet able to distinguish between users. The system also includes a microphone and speaker. You can use this setup to record messages but not much beyond that.
More Complicated Install: Another issue for some consumers is a relatively complicated installation process as the Wink Relay system requires a neutral wire in addition to line and load wires. It may be necessary to hire a professional to complete the installation process.
Limited Customization: Another area the Wink Relay falls short is lack of customization. You can’t set up anything or add new devices to the Relay directly. Instead, you’ll have to add them to the app. There currently isn’t a way to choose which devices are displayed on the Relay’s screen and which ones aren’t.
Comparison: WeMo vs. Wink Relay
A side-by-side comparison of both smart home controllers can help you determine which one is the best fit for your budget and lifestyle.
|MSRP||$115 Starter Bundle (see here for latest)||$300 (see here for latest)|
|Setup||Uses WiFi already installed in the house rather than a separate hub; features a star network configuration found in most WiFi setups||Needs to be mounted in a single or double switch box; may require professional installation; connects to smart home devices via Wink app|
|Compatibility||Uses the internet to control home electronics, water, power, and WiFi; compatible with IFTTT||Uses the internet to automatically connect to Wink app-ready products around the house|
|Features||Turns appliances and electronics on and off and monitors them from anywhere; lets users create custom schedules and rules via the WeMo app; offers a collection of WeMo products that work with the WeMo app such as smart LED bulbs, WeMo insight switches, and WeMo light switch||Enables instant access to any connected product via the touchscreen; provides updates through proximity, temperature, and humidity sensors; smart buttons can be used as light switches or can help turn smart products on or off|
Which One Should I buy Today?
Both WeMo and Wink are becoming popular options in the world of smart home controllers. As with most smart home controllers on the market there are a number of perks and drawbacks to consider. For example, both products are a bit pricey. However, WeMo is easy to set up and excels at monitoring appliances, electronics, and other connected products inside the house even when you’re not there. Wink Relay stands out for innovative features that include proximity, temperature, and humidity sensors as well as smart buttons that can double as light switches.
However, Wink Relay falls a bit behind in terms of delivery as many consumers are left wishing it offered a little bit more, including Yours Truly. WeMo’s integration with IFTTT is highly touted although it still needs some work. If you’re new to the smart home controller market then WeMo stands out as the more well-rounded (and budget-friendly) option.