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Wink vs. SmartThings Smart Home Hubs

By Derek Hales | Updated August 21, 2018
Home » Best Smart Home Devices » Wink vs. SmartThings

Many smart homes rely on a central smart home hub to act as a home base for connecting smart devices.

This review is going to take a closer look at Samsung SmartThings vs. Wink smart home hubs to see which makes the best hub for your smart home devices.

They’ve got a similar look, and widespread appeal, but a couple differences that could sway your final decision one way another. Let’s dive in.

Wink vs. SmartThings smart home hub

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Many smart homes rely on a central smart home hub to act as a home base for connect smart devices. This review is going to take a closer look at Samsung SmartThings vs. Wink smart home hubs to see which makes the best base for your smart home devices.

They’ve got a similar look, and widespread appeal, but a couple differences that could sway your final decision.

Wink 1Wink 2SmartThings
Wink Controlled Home hub - Generation 1Wink Controlled Home hub - Generation 2Smart Home hub - Samsung SmartThings
Size7.25" x 7.25" x 1.75"7.25" x 7.25" x 1.25"4.9" x 4.2" x 1.3"
ConnectivityWifi OnlyWifi +Wired EthernetWifi + Wired Ethernet
BatteryNoneNoneYes, lasts for up to approx. 10 hours
Compatible Voice-ControlAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SonosAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SonosAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Sonos
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

SmartThings Hub Overview

The SmartThings Hub serves as a central command center for smart devices in the home.

Samsung SmartThings smart home hub

Samsung SmartThings smart home hub

This Hub can connect to a variety of devices to help make your life easier. Control lights, cameras, speakers, security systems, door locks, smart thermostats, smart garage doors, and even simple outlets with one central hub.

Requirements:

  • SmartThings Hub
  • Samsung SmartThings app (compatible with Android 4.1 or later or iPhone iOS 9.0 or later)
  • Wi-Fi connection with 2.4GHz router
  • Apple smartphones & tablets (tablets use iPhone app) or Android devices
Samsung Smarthings smart home hub

Samsung Smarthings smart home hub

Supported Device Types:

  • Smart bulbs and lights (see our LIFX vs. Hue comparison)
  • Smart switches
  • Smart cameras
  • Smart doorbells
  • Smart door locks
  • Smart thermostats (see our Ecobee vs. Nest comparison)
  • Smart outlets
  • Smart sensors (motion, water leaks, arrival, multipurpose, etc)

As a side note, Samsung also makes a Connected Home Hub, which doubles as a smart home hub and a router, with a wired ethernet connection.

Wink Hub Overview

The Wink 2 Hub is Wink’s newest smart home hub device. It’s predecessor, the Wink 1 was the first generation Wink smart home hub.

Winks 1 smart home hub

Winks 1 smart home hub

Both devices are designed to connect to other smart devices around your home for a more wireless, hands-free, home that responds to your lifestyle, patterns, and habits.

Requirements:

  • Wink Hub
  • Wink app (latest version)
  • Wi-Fi connection with 2.4GHz router / 20 MHz bandwidth and WPA-PSK security
  • Apple smartphones & tablets (tablets use iPhone app) or Android devices
Winks (generation 1) smart home hub

Winks (generation 1) smart home hub

Supported Device Types:

RELATED – Hubs can be helpful in controlling and automating robot vacuums. See our ultra detailed robot vacuum reviews guide here.

Wink 1 vs. Wink 2?

Wondering how the Wink 1 compares to Wink 2? If you’re asking this question, you’re not alone. The Wink Hub 2 prides itself on connecting to your home faster and in a more secure way.

Aesthetics

Both of these devices are white and are 7.25” x 7.25” in profile. In-depth, the Wink 1 is 1.75” thick and the Wink 2 is 1.25” thick, so 0.5” difference in overall thickness.

Wink 1 vs. Wink 2

Wink 1 (left) vs. Wink 2 (right)

Device Support

In addition, the standard devices that the Wink Hub connects to, the Wink Hub 2 also adds Bluetooth LE for more universal connections.

Setup

The setup of the Basic Wink Hub was simply a manual, “figure it out” kind of approach. The Wink Hub 2 has a more guided approach, with illustrated animations to help walk you through the setup.

Wink app add device

Adding a device with the Wink app

Local Control

This is another area where the Wink Hub 2 takes the lead. Simply put, the basic Wink utilized basic local control, while the Wink 2 has enhanced local controls for an improved user experience.

Connectivity

The regular Wink connected with standard 2.4 GHz wifi. The Wink 2 connected to 2.4 networks, as well as 5 GHz networks or even a wired Ethernet port. The Wink 1 does not provide the option of wired Ethernet.

Wink 1 hub connectivity problems

Keep the Wink 1 hub at least 15 feet away from your router (due to interface concerns)

During our tests, we found the Wink 1 had difficulty in staying connected to the wifi. This seems to be a fairly common problem among other Wink generation 1 users. The power generated by the Wink 1 necessitates you keep it at least 15 feet away from the router.

Memory

The Wink 2 also has a big boost in memory—the Wink 1 offers 64 MB and the Wink 2 stepping up the game to 512 MB.

What’s Included

With the Wink 1, you simply get the necessities, which means the basic hub and a power supply. The Wink 2 offers a bit more, by also including an Ethernet cable (in addition to the items above).

Design Differences Between Wink vs. SmartThings

At first glance, the Wink and SmartThings Hubs are not drastically different. They are all relatively small, white squares with minimal accents or notable features. They are designed to blend into their surroundings with a simple, minimalistic approach.

TURNED ON ITS SIDE | In looks, the biggest difference is that the Wink 1 and SmartThings Hub are both designed to sit on the bottom of the unit, while the Wink 2 gets turned on its side for a more vertical, slender aesthetic.

Below is the Winks hub (generation 1) laying flat.

Winks smart home hub laying flat

Winks smart home hub laying flat

Below is the SmartThings hub laying flat on its side.

Samsung SmartThings smart home hub laying flat

Samsung SmartThings smart home hub laying flat

WIRED VS. WIRELESS | The Wink 2 and Samsung SmartThings hub are both designed with Ethernet connectivity as well as wifi. The Wink 1 operates by wifi only. Whether you opt for wired or wireless connectivity, each of these hubs can be powered using your smartphone, through their associative apps.

Wink vs Smartthings back view

Wink 1 vs. Smartthings view of the back

SMARTPHONE CONTROLS | Using the custom designed app for each hub, you can connect your hub directly to your smartphone and gain access to a variety of functions. Use the app to turn lights on/off, play music, adjust temperature, lock doors, or other household tasks.

RELATED – Check out more cool stuff you can connect to your smart home hub here.

The Wink app interface looks like:

Wink app

Wink app

The SmartThings app interface looks like:

Samsung Smartthings app

Samsung Smartthings app

Both the Wink app and Samsung SmartThings app will also allow you to also set patterns or various lifestyle habits.

Have a set of commands for when you wake up, go to sleep, leave for work, or arrive back home. Using customization tools, you can make these command patterns as elaborate or as simple as you want.

How To Set Up Your Smart Home Hub

Setting up the Wink or SmartThings smart hub both only take a few minutes and involve following a few simple steps:

  1. Make sure you have an active wifi network within range of the smart home hub.
  2. Use your smartphone or table to download the associated app. (Wink or SmartThings).
  3. Follow the promptings on the app to connect your smart devices.

After following the steps above, there are a couple things that I noticed between the Wink and SmartThings system.

Setting up both apps was very easy. It took just a couple minutes to sync to the active wifi network.

Adding a device was a little less intuitive on the Samsung SmartThings, but still not necessarily bad.

Setting Up Wink hub

With the Wink app, there are helpful animations that guide you through the process and identify next steps (these may not all be included in the setup of the Wink 1 Smart Hub).

First, you will connect Wink to your wifi.

Setting up the wink - step 1

First, connect the Wink hub to your wifi network

Next, allow it to configure itself on your network.

Setting up the wink step 2

Next, allow the Wink to connect and configure itself

Finally, you now can start adding your devices via the app interface.

Adding devices to your Wink

Finally, you can now start adding devices to your Wink hub

Setting Up Smartthings hub

With the Samsung SmartThings, there is an auto-detect feature that automatically starts searching for smart devices in the home. While the automation is nice, it makes for a bit more a hassle if your devices do not show up.

First, plug the SmartThings home hub in.

Step 1 plug in

First, plug in your SmartThings hub

Next, register the device (see the card inside your box).

Step 2 register

Next, register your device using the card in the box

Finally, you can now start adding your devices.

Step 3 add devices

Finally, you can now start adding devices

One note, while testing the Wink and SmartThings smart home hubs, I did lose connection to the Wink 1 hub at one point and was not able to restore the connection. The exact cause of this connection loss is still uncertain (though it does seem to be a fairly common problem based on online help forums).

Because of this I really feel it’s worth spending the extra money to get the Wink 2 so you can avoid these issues altogether. With the Wink 2 you have a wired ethernet connection, so you’re always online.

Wink vs. SmartThings Sizes

The overall size of these smart hubs is another area that is slightly different.

The Wink 1 and Wink 2 are basically the same size, but the Samsung SmartThings is actually quite about smaller, about half the size.

  • The Wink 1 is: 7.25” x 7.25” x 2”
  • The Wink 2 is: 7.25” x 7.25” x 1.25”
  • The Samsung SmartThings is: 4.9″ x 4.25” x 1.25”
Wink vs. Samsung SmartThings sizes

Wink vs. SmartThings size differences (front view)

Side view of the Wink (gen 1) vs. SmartThings home hub

Side view of the Wink (gen 1) vs. SmartThings home hub

Compatibility Differences on Wink vs. SmartThings

Concerning compatibility, there are a few differences between these models.

If you already own a specific smart device, you may want to pay extra close attention to the table below. This table details out some of the most popular interfaces, devices, and details which smart home hubs are compatible:

Wink 1Wink 2SmartThings
Wink Controlled Home hub - Generation 1Wink Controlled Home hub - Generation 2Smart Home hub - Samsung SmartThings
Systems
Z-WAVE
ZIGBEE
IFTT
Bluetooth LE
Cameras
Arlo
Canary
Ring
Locks
August
Thermostats
Nest
ecobee
Lights
Philips Hue
Leviton
LIFX
Lutron *No Bridge Required *No Bridge Required" aria-hidden="true"> *Bridge Required

Are Smart Home Hubs Easy To Use?

The main job of any smart home hub is to effectively organize all smart home devices on an easy-to-use interface, making your life easier and a little smarter. Both of the apps associated with Wink and SmartThings is pretty easy to use.

I found both the Wink and SmartThings hubs fairly simple to set up.

Samsung Smartthings smart hub

Samsung Smartthings smart hub

I did have to temporarily open up my network security, but once they were online, I was able to re-secure everything.

My only real complaint is the Wink 1’s difficulty in remaining connected to the wifi. While I was able to set it up and connect easily enough, after it lost connection, I wasn’t able to reconnect. After an hour of troubleshooting, the problem still wasn’t clear.

In any case, if you do go with the Wink hub, I think it definitely makes more sense to spend the extra money and get the wired version via the Wink 2. With the Wink 2 and SmartThings you have a fully wired experience and shouldn’t deal with the same type of connectivity problems.

So…Which is Better? Wink or SmartThings?

So Wink vs. SmartThings— is there a definitive winner?

Honestly, not really.

If you have a particular smart device that you’re trying to connect, it’s possible that one of these devices would be preferred, while the other device would not be able to connect at all.

Newer technology is reducing the chance of this being an issue, but it’s always a good idea to check the compatibility before making a purchase on any particular smart home hub.

That said, I would reiterate again, if you get the Wink hub, get the Wink 2. The wired connection of the Wink 2 will help to avoid any connectivity problems.

Wink 1 vs. Wink 2 vs. Samsung SmartThings smart hubs

Final Decision: Wink vs. SmartThings

So you have all the facts, specs, and details…still wondering which smart home hub is right for you?

I would recommend the Wink Smart Hub to people who:

  • Want to save a little money – if money is tight, the Wink 1 is one of the least expensive smart home hubs on the market. That said, there are reports of connectivity issues, but for the price, if you can make it work it may be worth it.
  • Want compatibility with Nest thermostats – one of the biggest weaknesses of the Smartthings hub is it cannot communicate with Nest. So if you have a Nest, keep that in mind.
  • Just want something that works – smart home works best when it’s simple, the Wink 2 makes it super simple. Plug it in, install the app, add devices, and you’re good to go.

To learn more about the Wink Smart Hub 1, check it out on Amazon here. Or click here to learn more about the Wink Smart Hub 2.

I would recommend the Samsung SmartThings Hub to people who:

  • Want to connect all their Samsung products – if you have many Samsung products you may really like the benefit of the SmartThings. Many Samsung products work beautifully together via the app. Additionally, newer Samsung phones can benefit from built-in top-of-screen control dashboards for easier access to your smart home setup.
  • Just want something that works – just as with the Wink, the SmartThing just works. It was easy to set up and easy to use. Whether you go with Wink or SmartThings, both hubs have a lot going for them.

To learn more about the Samsung SmartThings Smart Hub, check it out on Amazon here.

Still not sure how to make up your mind?

Shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to help you decide which hub is right for you. You can contact us here. We’re real people with a real passion for home products—we’re simply here to help!

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Editor-in-Chief

Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.