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Wink's New $99 Smart Home Hub Works With Alexa

Connecting a number of smart home devices together can be a pain, because many use different standards to talk to each other. Wink was one of the first companies to come out with a smart home hub, which lets you control multiple devices from a single interface, and its newest hub—the Wink Hub 2—promises even more integration.

Here's what this $99 hub, due out in late October, has under the hood.

Where the original Wink Hub had a squarish shape and was designed to lie flat, the Wink Hub 2 looks more like a blade or sail, and is meant to stand upright; this helps increase the range of its radios, according to the company. However, it takes up about the same amount of space as the original: 7.25 x 7.25 x 1.25 inches.

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As with the original, the Wink Hub 2 has support for Z-Wave, Zigbee, Lutron Clear Connect, and Kidde devices. However, the second-gen Hub will also connect to Bluetooth LE, and has built-in support for Google's Thread interface, which will be activated in the future.

Additionally, the Hub 2 Can connect to your router via the 2.4 and 5GHz bands (the original had just 2.4GHz), and has an Ethernet port. The Hub 2 also has a faster processor and eight times the memory - 512MB, as opposed to 64MB on the original.

The Wink Hub 2 will also come with Alexa integration, which means that you can say "Alexa, turn off the lights," for example, and Amazon's device will send a command to the Wink Hub. In the near future, so-called Shortcuts will also be enabled, so users will be able to say "Alexa, Bedtime," and the lights will dim to whichever level you have set. This capability will also be extended to the original Wink Hub, though neither will work with Apple's HomeKit. Homeowners will also be able to link multiple Hubs together in one app, so that they can insure whole-home coverage if they have a large house.

While we had a few issues with the original Wink Hub, namely, the ability to create complex automated actions, we're looking forward to testing the Hub 2, to see how it—and the service—have improved.