The Wink Hub gets off to a strong start when you take it out of the box. It offers wide support for various protocols, a free app that walks you through a quick, painless setup, and the price is competitive. This little device is a nice glossy white that blends with any decor. It includes a built-in stand, and the power adapter is detachable.

There is a single LED indicator light to keep you up to date on its status, and that thing is bright. There’s a learning curve on what the various flashing LED messages mean; keep the manual nearby to decode what it’s telling you.

The app for your smartphone that lets you control Wink is a free download. It serves as your user interface for your Wink Hub and any other Wink-compatible products you’ve got. Connecting to the hub via the app is straightforward, and step-by-step instructions display as you go along. This is a plus for those who are not tech-savvy.

With Wink, you must use your iOS- or Android-capable device, such as your smartphone or tablet. There are no interface apps for your PC or Mac. Everything connects and works via your home internet network. If your internet access drops for some reason, the entire Wink system and all the connectivity between the hub and your devices go with it.

Setting up the Wink Hub is a painless process. It can be a bit tedious when first activated because there is usually a lengthy update process. But once that’s done, adding and configuring devices is fairly simple.

When Wink comes online, it doesn’t completely take over like a mini Skynet that’s determined to push every other smart protocol out. Wink works with other protocols without locking you out in the process.

How Does Wink Work?

Wink functions in the same basic manner as any smart home control system. Plug it in, set it up, link all your devices, and you’re good to go. But it isn’t always that simple. Some steps require a bit more finesse. For example, some devices may require more nudging to get them to connect via Wink.

If you get hung up during your setup process, you can contact support via email or by telephone for help. There is a FAQ section on the Wink website that offers good information, and a user manual is also on the website. There is no online live chat feature or discussion forum, however.

What Makes Wink Stand Out?

Wink stands out from its competitors in the potential it presents. Because of its ability to interface with so many protocols, the possibilities are interesting. When it works properly, Wink can hold its own against any of the far more expensive home automation systems. The geofencing feature is something many are not familiar with or prepared to properly maintain.

Common Reviews of Wink

Wink has its stable of fans, and it has about an equal number of detractors. Most of the online forums that allow star ratings show Wink with an average rating of three stars. The main problem mentioned seems to be a lack of reliability in the system’s consistency.

Several reviewers mentioned that they had the best results when they placed their Wink within 20 to 30 feet of their Wi-Fi routers. This seems to decrease problems of signal loss between the hub and the devices in the home.

Wink has some reviews that reveal the same problems their competitors have: Users who don’t understand that plugging in Wink alone will not control the elements in the home. There must be devices to control such things as lights, thermostats, garage doors, door locks and so on. You must then link these devices to the Wink “mastermind,” which is the app on your phone, to control your home devices.

The simplicity of use that is a positive for the Wink app is also a negative. In interacting with some devices, Wink’s control app actually limits the performance of the device. For example, you may have a dimmer switch that can take your lights up and down in a gradual, incremental fade. When controlled through the Wink app, you may only get the option to flip the light on or off.

Is Wink for Me?

Wink is affordable and simple to use. Like any smart home control hub, however, the use you get from it depends solely on how much you’re willing to spend on the devices that allow your home to be “smart.”

Wink is an economical, uncomplicated choice for anyone wanting to investigate the smart home. Learn the ropes and add more devices as your learning curve and budget allow.