Wink Hub 2 review: The Wink Hub 2 takes one step forward, two steps back

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The Good The companion app is the $99/£80/AU$130 Wink Hub 2's strongest asset -- the layout is logical and step-by-step tutorials make it relatively easy to pair (most) devices.

The Bad I received a steady stream of error messages when trying to create automation rules and never managed to run one successfully. Occasionally latency issues slowed things down and Lutron devices are still laughably difficult to connect to Wink.

The Bottom Line The Wink Hub 2 is fine, but it's hard to recommend over platforms like Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit that reduce challenging behind-the-scenes integrations to simple voice commands.

6.8 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 7
  • Design 7
  • Performance 6

Wink's Hub 2 gave me major deja vu. Not only does this slab of white plastic look very similar to the startup's first-generation Wink Hub, it also works roughly the same.

That means you'll run into occasional in-app glitches, latency issues and connectivity woes. And, priced at $99/£80/AU$130, this smart home gizmo also costs $20 more than the original version.

Yes, Wink has made some improvements over generation one. Hub 2 has more memory, supports Bluetooth, comes with an Ethernet port and works with dual-band Wi-Fi. But that isn't enough to recommend it over the interactive voice-control platforms that have emerged since from Amazon and Apple.

A utilitarian hunk o' plastic

No one has found a truly engaging aesthetic for a smart-home hub and the white plastic Wink Hub 2 is no exception. While this model feels heavier and more durable than its predecessor, it isn't much of a design improvement. The two iterations have roughly the same measurements and they're, well, seriously boring-looking.

Instead, the most significant updates are hidden inside the hub itself. There you'll find 512 MB worth of memory (up from 64 MB), an Ethernet port for connecting the hub directly to your router and support for both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Here's a list of the automation languages Wink's Hub 2 works with:

  • Bluetooth LE
  • Kidde
  • Clear Connect
  • Z-Wave
  • ZigBee

Note: You can still buy the first-generation Wink Hub for $69/£55/AU$90 while supplies last.

View all of your Wink-connected devices from the app's home screen and select "Add a Product" to pair more.

Screenshot by CNET

Testing out Wink's new hub

All of those improvements are a step in the right direction, but I didn't notice any distinct differences between testing the first- and second-generation Wink Hubs.

The good news is that it's still (mostly) easy to pair devices. I connected a Nest Learning Thermostat, a Nest Cam Indoor, a Lutron Serena window shade and a Lutron Pico remote. I also connected to our Chamberlain MyQ Garage door opener account, but that product isn't currently installed at the CNET Smart Home so I couldn't actually control it.