Wink Relay, Another Flawed Quirky Product

Back in September, Wink announced the addition of Relay to their ever growing lineup of home automation products. The Relay is a wall mounted touch screen device that connects to your Wink home automation system and is powered by an Android variant. It features Wifi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth communication protocols, but missing are the Z-Wave and Lutron ClearConnect capabilities included in the original Wink Hub. For $300, you might reasonably expect that that the Relay could replace the Wink Hub. Alas, not.

Installation of Wink Relay was for the most part flawless. Having swapped out a previous light switch with both a Wemo and Lutron switch, it was fairly simple to line up the correct wires with the Relay. The Relay can install on both a single or dual switch and the box includes adapters for proper fit in either scenario. After installation and setup of the Relay, and my previous experience with the Wink hub, my thoughts remain the same to what was conveyed in our Battle of the Hubs post. The Wink/Quirky vision is simplicity and their products and software reflect this. Yet, the problem remains in the implementation. There are still too many times when the system is just not responsive and even fails to react to existing “robots’ setup. When you factor in locks and smoke alarms, I don’t trust the Wink system to react when I need it to.

Hopefully, with the backing of GE, Quirky and Wink can resolve these issues. Yet, given the pace they are releasing new products without addressing open items, my confidence level is not high.

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  • They have the vision - great ideas and an interesting line of products. But their attention to detail and overall reliability just isn't where it needs to be for this market. Even at a mere $30, I returned both my two Wink/GE LED bulbs and Hub to Home Depot a couple months after the fact. As I said on Twitter, I'm not troubleshooting a lightbulb. It just needs to work. Random flickering or dimming/brightening (when the Hub isn't even plugged in) doesn't work in my house. Speed to market is indeed critical. But if you destroy your "brand" in the process, was it worth it?

  • My problem with the device is the price. It's basically a phone that goes nowhere - $70-80 is the correct price not $300.

  • I do see practical benefit to a wall-mounted touchscreen controller (with two bonus programmable physical buttons). It also looks cool. But not sure what something like this is worth in dollars to most folks. An iPod Touch goes for $200 and could run the Wink app... plus a ton of other things. Wonder if that have mounting brackets somewhere for iPads and Touches that can draw power like this sort of switch box. By the by, a box in the wall is probably why it doesn't have all the antennas Adam pines for - too much potential interference (and heat?).

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Adam Miarka