Home Automation

Wink vs SmartThings in 2017 – What Has Changed?

(Last Updated On: April 15, 2017)

Home automation hubs allow you to control and manage different connected devices easily.  Instead of launching different mobile apps to control your smart bulb, locks, blinds and all your other smart devices, you can just control the hub.

You also have the option to create rules or use recipes that would make your different devices work together in a way that suits your lifestyle and routine.  This way, for instance, when it is time for you to sleep, your home automation hubs could easily turn off the lights, lock the doors and arm the security system for you.

And if you have Amazon Echo, all you have to do is issue a voice command.

Two of the most recommended hubs right now are Samsung SmartThings and Wink 2 hub.  If you are planning to buy one this year, which should you choose?

Bottom Line Up Front: If you are looking to make a quick decision, here’s my high level take…

Samsung SmartThings

Samsung SmartThings aims to be the center of your smart home, connecting different devices together using several supported protocols.

This device is very simple to set up with its box containing everything you need, including the 4 AA batteries, the power supply, and the three-foot long Ethernet cable.

SmartThings has a square shape with rounded edges and it comes in white, which enables it to easily blend with the colors of your home.  It connects to your Wi-Fi network and allows you to control connected devices through your smartphone using iOS, Window OS, or Android app.

SmartThings allows you to control different connected devices without having to switch from one mobile app to another.  Apart from its Z-Wave and ZigBee compatibility, you can also use IFTTT recipes with the hub.

What you would love about the SmartThings hub

  • Strong Dev Community: Aside from being compatible with a wide range of platforms and being able to use IFTTT recipes, SmartThings also has a robust developer community that can add more integrations and allow more devices not yet currently compatible with it.  That means that you do not have to wait for Samsung or other partners to come up with an official integration.
  • Battery Backups: You would also love the fact that this hub has a battery backup as well as a local storage for some of the automations you set up for your home.  That means these important automations would still work even when the hub disconnects from your Wi-Fi network.
  • Centralizes Control: As an automation hub, SmartThings allows you to lessen the use of different mobile apps to control different types of devices, and even lessen the use of your smartphone to control anything.
  • Works with Alexa: Also, since SmartThings works with Amazon Alexa, you can keep your phone in your pocket and just ask Alexa to do things for you.

What could be better

  • Mobile App Learning Curve: Samsung SmartThings is pretty easy to set up, but the mobile app does need a little work.  A lot of users have complained that the mobile app interface is quite confusing and that it takes a while to figure things out.  It would have been a lot better if the mobile app was easier to understand and more simplified.
  • Could Use Additional Access Points: Further, Samsung could have added more access points than just the mobile apps.  If you were able to do your setup using a desktop computer, for one, it would have been easier and it would have provided an alternative for those who found the mobile app non-intuitive and difficult to figure out.
  • Limited Bluetooth Functionality: The SmartThings hub has a built-in Bluetooth, but as of now, it does nothing.  It does, however, point to future plans that could see the hub working with different devices using Bluetooth radio.
  • Basic Design: What’s more, the hub’s white plastic casing matches just about any interior paint color and goes well with just about any furniture design theme.  That is not to say, however, that SmartThings has a beautiful design.  It certainly could use an upgrade design-wise because it currently looks very drab and utilitarian.
  • A Few Historical Glitches: Lastly, there have been reports that some users experienced glitches like their lights suddenly turning on in the middle of the night and their alarms blaring.  These glitches caused connected devices to turn on or off at arbitrary times, forcing users to disable SmartThings altogether.  These problems cropped up in the earlier part of 2016, and the company has been very responsive in solving this kind of issue.

Final Word on SmartThings

Even with an awful app and with reliability issues, Samsung SmartThings is a great product that works to make home automation a breeze once you have gone through the trouble of setting it up.  You can easily see the connected devices and sensors, and it gives prompt alerts whenever these sensors are triggered.

The wide range of integrations also makes it one of the toughest to beat as far as home automation hubs are concerned.

Plus, it also has the potential to become even greater, with possible Bluetooth integrations and more compatible platforms.

What About the New Wink 2?

The Wink 2 hub has more connectivity protocols than the first edition and it now has an Ethernet port to help it become compatible with more devices.  It has also received an aesthetic upgrade, looking sharper than the original Wink hub.

Wink is very easy to set up especially if you have compatible connected devices.  You can use either the Wink app or Amazon Echo to control all these supported and connected devices.  If you do not have Amazon Echo, you can also use Apple’s Siri because of the HomeKit integration.

What you would love about Wink 2

  • Easy to Use: The Wink 2 mobile app is very easy to use.  Adding a device is very straightforward with easy-to-follow and detailed instructions.
  • Plays Well with Others: Wink works with Zwave and Zigbee, as well as a wide range of connected devices that you own.
  • Plenty of Connections: It can connect up to 530 devices, enough for a basic smart home set up.

What could be better

  • Basic Design: Like the SmartThings hub, Wink 2 has a white plastic casing and it looks drab rather than futuristic or modern.  It may have high-tech functions allowing you to automate your smart home, but it certainly does not look that way.
  • No Battery Backup: Also, in the event of a power outage, your Wink 2 Hub will go offline as it does not have battery backup.
  • Can Only Use Wink Hub: If you already have another smart home platform in place and are looking to use Wink 2 for more automation with more devices, you will have to unpair devices connected to this current platform first before they could work with Wink 2.  That could mean more work for you.
  • Robot Creation App Needs Work: Also, the Wink 2 app has a section that allows you to create robots.  These robots are actually a set of rules that work like IFTTT recipes.  However, this app does not always work and has some connectivity issues.

Comparing the Wink 2 vs Samsung SmartThings

Similar Performance: In terms of performance, both Wink 2 and Samsung SmartThings deliver what they promised: an easy way to automate Z-Wave- and Zigbee-compatible devices, as well as other devices using other platforms.

SmartThings has Smaller Footprint: While both Wink 2 and Samsung SmartThings have boring looks, SmartThings is only half the size of Wink 2, which makes it easier to hide.  It is also the logical choice if you have a smaller space and would like to hide your hub behind a TV or place it near your router.

SmartThings has Battery Backup: Moreover, both SmartThings and Wink 2 will continue to work when they somehow get disconnected from your Wi-Fi network, but Wink 2 will go offline when there is a power outage.  With the backup batteries on SmartThings, you get two hours of uninterrupted operation with the automations you save on the local storage.

Wink App is Easier to Use: A clear win for Wink is how easy and intuitive its app is.  Everything about Wink’s mobile app is geared towards user-friendliness.  In stark contrast, the SmartThings mobile app feels clunky and confusing.

SmartThings Allows More Connected Devices: However, it does have limitations to the number of devices you can pair it with.  We expect a lot of new devices for the smart home to be introduced in 2017, and it helps that Wink can connect to 530 devices.  SmartThings, on the other hand, does not have that limitation and you can connect an unlimited number of devices to it.

Key Comparison Table

 

 SmartThingsWink2
PriceCheck here for latestCheck here for latest
Weight0.50 lbs.0.90 lbs.
Dimensions1.30″ x 4.90″ x 4.20″7.25″ x 7.25″ x 1.75″
ZigbeeYesYes
Z-WaveYesYes
IFTTTYesYes
Bluetooth LEYesYes
BatteryYesNo
Battery life2 hours on backupNo
Power sourceACAC
Works withSamsung, Schlage, Honeywell, First Alert, Yale, OSRAM LIGHTIFY, D-Link, Bose, Leviton, CreeKidde, Clear Connect, Philips Hue, Lutron, Nest, ecobee, Gocontrol, Sensi, Schlage, Commercial Electric, Cree, Canary, Kwikset, Ring, Leviton Arlo, Rheem, Rachio, Honeywell, Bali, Carrier, Andersen, Ecosmart, Osram, Chamberlain
AlexaYesYes
Google HomeYesNo
Local storage512 MB + 4 GB Flash512 MB

 The Final Assessment – Which to Get?

Choosing between the two would also depend on the devices that you have.  There are devices that each hub does not support.  For instance, and more notably, SmartThings also does not natively work with Nest Cam, Nest Thermostat and Nest smoke detector.  But then again, Wink 2 is not supported by Google Home.

All things considered, however, the choice between Wink 2 and SmartThings would depend on your needs and the devices that you have. Wink 2 is perfect for people who have just started investing in smart home devices.  It is very easy to set up and use, with a mobile app that does not frustrate you.

However, SmartThings is for those who want go deeper into the smart home and home automation space.  With a developer support that allows you to connect a wide range of devices and sensors, you could forgive SmartThings for having a confusing mobile app.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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