As promised, we will now cover the 2nd Generation of the Wink Smart Hub. In case you haven’t read our review of the 1st generation, and the Wink Relay you can find them here and here. You might want to read them first, as there will be many comparisons to be made.
First things first, the best home automation hub is designed to replace the 1st generation, with few upgrades and especially a fix for the Wi-Fi connection issues found in the 1st generation. The Wink Hub 1 will only be available while stock lasts, so if you are planning to get one, this might be a good time.
Honestly, most of the features remained the same, with very few upgrades we’ll cover below, so the big question will be whether the price difference will be justified. However, the Wink Hub 2 is cheaper compared to the Wink Relay with the lack of touch screen control, so it might be another major consideration.
There are several key upgrades of the Wink Hub 2 over the 1st generation. First is obviously the physical design. It is thinner yet a little heavier and feels more durable, and comes with an Ethernet port, as well as Bluetooth to connect with Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The internal memory has also been upgraded from 64MB to 512MB, so we can expect an increase in performance and stability. Last but not least, the Wi-Fi receiver has been upgraded, and now supports dual-band Wi-Fi. Stability and connectivity are the main issues of the Wink Hub 1, so it’s great that they have been addressed.
The key features remain intact, and the third-party integration for almost all smart home protocols is still there. Being the highlight of Wink Hub 1’s key features, we can expect it to run better with all the upgraded features and fixes.
As you can see, most of the upgrades are intended to address performance issues found on the Wink Hub 1, and there is, arguably, no real upgrade to the key features. Would the price difference can then be justified? We are going to find out, and let’s kick start our Wink Smart Hub 2 review by discussing its key features.
Although it’s priced a little higher than the Wink Hub 1, the Wink Hub 2 is still one of the most affordable smart home hubs out there. With its wide range of support to a lot of products and protocols, the Wink Hub 2 is a great bargain.
Wide Range of Supported Products
The already excellent third-party support of Wink Hub 1 is improved by adding the support of Bluetooth LE-enabled products, and future support of Thread. In total, the Wink Hub 2 supports Lutron ClearConnect, Thread, Kidde, Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee, and Bluetooth LE. It is very impressive, considering getting an individual hub for just one protocol can cost you a lot more.
Improved Performance and Stability
One of the key issues of the Wink Hub 1 is the connectivity issues over Wi-Fi, and it has been improved with the 2nd generation. Overall, the Wink Hub 2 runs smoother with fewer hiccups and troubleshooting, which further increases its value.
As we first opened the package of the Wink Hub 2, we immediately noticed the physical difference compared to the Wink Hub 1. It is thinner yet feels more durable, and in our opinion, designed better in a sleek, modern-minimalist way. Also included in the package is an Ethernet cable, which is not found in the package for Wink Hub 1. The Ethernet port is a great addition since it can improve stability dramatically, and adds flexibility to your preferred setup.
As for the installation process, it is very similar to the Wink Hub 1, although you can opt to use the Ethernet cable instead of your Wi-Fi network if necessary. As with the Wink Hub 1, the installation itself is fairly simple: download the app, power up the Wink Hub, sync them together, and you’re good to go.
We have mentioned our issue in pairing Lutron devices to both the Wink Hub 1 and Wink Relay, so we tried to add a Lutron dimmer first. Sadly, this issue hasn’t been improved, and the integration process for Lutron devices remain a hassle. Most likely you will need to reset the Lutron device to its factory state, which can be a problem for some devices.
However, for other devices, the integration process is significantly improved. Wink promised an improved, auto-discovery and guided setup for adding devices, and this helps a lot, especially for those new to smart devices and products. The integration process on the Wink Hub 1 (except for Lutron devices) is already good, so this upgrade surprised us for the better. You can expect a seamless and easy integration process for almost any supported devices. This is a big advantage over, say, the Samsung SmartThings, which is a little complicated in adding more devices.
We also tried to add some IFTTT recipes with unsupported devices. Thanks to the improved Wi-FI connection, it performs better compared to the Wink Hub 1.
Will the extra money over the Wink Hub 1 worth the added stability and performance? In our opinion, the answer is yes. But we will let you be the ultimate judge.
- Affordability, one of the most affordable products among its competitors
- Wide range of third-party support and integration
- Flexible and stable with Ethernet and dual-band Wi-FI support
- Easy to setup and add devices
- No battery backup support
- No USB port
- Integration to Lutron devices can be a hassle
You Should Buy This If
If you are looking for an affordable smart home hub with decent performance, the Wink Hub 2 is simply one of the best options you can get right now.
Let’s end our Wink Hub 2 review by answering the big question: Will the upgrades over the Wink Hub 1 justified the price difference? In our opinion, yes, especially if you already loved the Wink Hub 1.
With that being said, the Wink Hub 2 is definitely one of the most affordable choices available today. With all the features, performance, and especially the wide range third-party supports, it is definitely a great value on its own.