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Wink - Worth a look now?

I'm wondering why Wink never seems to get the love like other systems do. It appears as though they have a fully baked, open system, with multiple big-name partners. The brand is attractive and spun out of the DIY/Maker community at Quirky. They even have prime shelf space at the end of the aisle at Target. And still no one is talking about it. The hardware is reasonably priced and aesthetically pleasing. Why has Wink not taken off as a platform? I HAVE read numerous hiccups with the Wink software. (but also read that it is improved) Is this the only thing preventing Wink from taking off?

With the latest announcements at CES including, most notably, the "Spotter" sensor and the "Norm" thermostat, Wink really seems to have rounded out their offerings. I can go to wink.com and fully outfit my home with the things I need in one place. That's pretty great.

Norm appears to take the same approach as the Ecobee3 by using the Spotter sensor to determine which rooms you're in and react accordingly. (Using IFTTT, it looks like you can use the Spotter sensor with a Nest as well.)

Is Wink worth another look?

Comments

  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember

    Maybe it is getting looks....

    https://gigaom.com/2015/01/21/winks-rocky-launch-hasnt-stopped-it-from-gaining-market-share/

    The marketing and major retail presence is helpful, but in the end, it comes down to 1) does it work? 2) is it secure?

  • EFTCEFTC CanadaMember

    Tried it, hate it, and returned it. Why?
    1. Buggy software.
    2. Poor software / hardware integration.
    3. Unstable hardware/software.

    The thing I dislike the most is the need of the HUB and the app to do anything simple. Example: Lutron wireless dimmer. Once I paired the hub to the light switch (which by the way was a painful process), I have to pair the pico remote to the hub as well (which was a near impossible mission). To use the pico remote to shut the room light, the pico remote sends a signal to the hub, which in turn sends the signal to the light switch. If the HUB is not working properly, then everything falls apart.

    ultrazero
  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember

    Thanks EFTC. That's good to know. I wonder with the market share they're gaining if they've taken time to improve these issues. I did read that the initial launch was very shaky and garnered a lot of bad press, but they've since fixed many of the issues. How long ago did you try it out?

    I really think they have a compelling product lineup.

    scriptx
  • bemyaxbemyax Northeast Iowa, US Member

    I'm open to a different hub. I am currently using a revolv, so my next home automation center must live up to the standard to which I've become accustomed. Will the Wink work our devices when the internet is disconnected? Does it do Z-Wave? I had thought I would wait for SmartThings 2 before looking around again. Despite the fact that it has been deprecated, revolv completes my simple automation needs very well.

  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember

    I'm still very intrigued by Wink, despite the early negative reviews. Since I already own a Dropcam, I downloaded the app and paired it to the Wink. It went very smoothly. Having all of my smart stuff in one app is very appealing to me (and more importantly to my wife).

    Wink.com is running a promotion where if you spend $75 or more on products, they'll give you the hub for free (or $50 off the new Relay switch). I decided to pick up a bunch of the Cree connected lights and a Tapt light switch. I figure the hub is free and if I hate the Wink, I can still use the lights on another system.

    Will report back and let you guys know how it goes.

  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember
    edited February 2015

    So I've spent a week and change with the Wink hub and wanted to report back...

    My current HA gear is a Dropcam pro, 2 GE Link lightbulbs, a 2gig CT100 thermostat, and a WeMo Insight. 2 Cree Connected LEDs are on the way. I also own a very cool, very nerdy Thinking Cleaner WiFi add-on for a Roomba which allows me to control, schedule, and geofence my Roomba. There are some HA plugins available for this puppy as well.

    The Wink app is gorgeous and fairly intuitive. I love the graphic look at my gear. I love controlling the lights with the easy to use sliders. Grouping and scheduling things is simple. The Robot feature is also easy to use, but very limited.

    Once I plugged the hub in, it quickly updated itself with what I assume was newer firmware and became active. Pairing devices was also very easy and smooth. And there are little instructional slides/videos that help you with most pairings. Dropcam worked out of the box via cloud-to-cloud pairing. My GE link bulbs paired right up. The unsupported 2gig CT100 Z-wave Thermostat also paired very easily. The WeMo and Thinking Cleaner are unsupported.

    With all of the radios in the Wink hub, it's very appealing. Unfortunately, the system is still very closed. Only officially supported products really work, even though they offer the option to pair generic gear. While I could pair the CT100 stat, I couldn't control it. There's very little support online and virtually no community whatsoever. Certainly no dev community. Basically, I'm finding the Wink experience quite good, so long as you stay with the products they support and don't want to do any really dramatic automation. (Again, the Robots feature is limited.) Give me the simple front layer in the app as they currently have and a hearty advanced layer to let me do all kinds of contextual, creative automation with my stuff and you may have me.

    I've gotten my hands on a Smartthings hub as well. While I think the Wink App is FAR superior, (I'm completely lost in the Smartthings App) the HA system itself is far more robust. It's got support for way more devices, built in context, and since it's open to developers, it's infinitely more expandable. With their Hub 2.0 coming soon which will bring near radio parity with Wink, it's looking like Smartthings may be the way to go. Just wish the app was sexier.

  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember

    bemyax said:
    Will the Wink work our devices when the internet is disconnected? Does it do Z-Wave? I had thought I would wait for SmartThings 2 before looking around again.

    The Wink won't work when the internet is disconnected. It includes Z-wave Plus but seems to work best with officially supported z-wave devices. I'd wait for Smartthings 2 before making any decision.

  • ultrazero said:
    Thanks EFTC. That's good to know. I wonder with the market share they're gaining if they've taken time to improve these issues. I did read that the initial launch was very shaky and garnered a lot of bad press, but they've since fixed many of the issues. How long ago did you try it out?

    I really think they have a compelling product lineup.

    I would agree. I have been in HA for a very long time. Mr. House, to Elk, then Homeseer, then Vera, currently SmartThings. I was a software engineer in a previous life and moved to SmartThings so I didn't have to write code to get things working.

    But, to do anything other than simply turning on a light in SmartThings, e.g. Turn on speakers first, very last, turn on PA you really need to, write code and I am not going to learn yet another Groovy, Luau, VB language to do something I should be able to do with a very simple if then else rule builder.

    It looks like there is potential that Wink's robots can do if then else logic. Can it?

  • SteveSteve Seattle, WAAdministrator

    I had such a bad experience with the Quirky Spotter back in Dec 2013, that I'd have to be strongly convinced to give it another shot.

    http://www.stevejenkins.com/blog/2013/12/review-quirky-spotter/

  • ultrazeroultrazero new jerseyMember
    edited February 2015

    It's funny @Steve ... Most people's experience with Wink seems to echo yours. It's not just a bad experience, it's terrible! Here's one from Gizmodo that was just released yesterday. http://gizmodo.com/why-is-my-smart-home-so-fucking-dumb-1684949715 The Spotter is what actually piqued my interest in Wink in the first place (then I read the reviews for it, including yours.) For me, I was pleasantly surprised with it's look and ease of use. Admittedly. I only synced up two lightbulbs and a thermostat. I'm sure as the devices add up, the frustration could too. At one point, I did have to turn my house power off for a few minutes and found out that I had to re-pair everything. Not sure if that's par for the course with all HA systems, but I can see that being a major pain with more devices connected.

    @scriptx This is what I'm finding with SmartThings as well. I just want to build logic without having to write any code (because I don't know how). SmartThings has all sorts of extraneous stuff that I don't understand and don't want to. I just want to automate my house as quickly and easily as possible. Device Types, SmartApps, etc are just confusing to me. On the other side of the spectrum, at the moment, Wink's Robot feature may be too deprecated. It does support simple If/Then statements, but doesn't allow anything more thorough. I don't see anything that uses your family's presence or things analogous to modes in SmartThings. Simplicity is perhaps the point. But people have complicated lives, our smart homes need to keep up.

  • SteveSteve Seattle, WAAdministrator

    I'm also holding out hope for SmartThings, but it REALLY needs to be simpler. All the "heavy lifting" of HA should happen behind the scenes, and the human interface should "just work."

    ultrazero
  • bukzinbukzin CaliforniaMember
  • I bought the WINK Hub a couple of years ago. It worked just OK! Then they pushed out the update that bricked the HUB, so I migrated to StaplesConnect the D-Link Hub was on sale so why not! It worked pretty well and played nice with my d-link cameras, but the app interface was horrid. I got tired of it! So I dusted off the WINK Hub and the past few months have been extremely pleased with it. I had issues with it losing connectivity until I heard the ding of the microwave in the kitchen and watched the yellow light turn back to blue! So I moved the Hub, it plays nice with my CANARY and ecobee3, just not my D-Link Cameras (yet)

  • silviagideonsilviagideon londonMember

    Guys we've created an app that it's called Gideon Smart Home that works with Wink and 200 other devices. We launched recently and we need more feedback on the usability and the overall integration? Anyone interested in helping us?

  • xaxvixaxvi NYMember

    I use Wink for my Roomba 980 and it's pretty decent. What I like the most is Wink's mobile application.

    The system itself could use some improvements since I had better experience with SmartThings. I'll spend a few more weeks with Wink and will probably shift back to SmartThings. It's more integrable and reliable.

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