GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub — What’s the History?
Both GE Link Hub and Wink Hub allow you control your smart home appliances, and both hubs come from the same company, Quirky — Except that Wink is a spin-off from invention incubator Quirky. According to a Quirky report, by 2015 there were Wink products in 300,000 homes, and the business was growing until April 2015, when Wink experienced a security problem.
Now, the problem caused a lot of Wink hubs to go offline or break. This incident forced the company to issue a recall. And already by November 2015, the Quirky company went through bankruptcy proceedings due to financial difficulties. Wink was sold for $15 million to Flextronics (now called Flex). It wasn’t surprising since Flex was Wink’s primary supplier of hardware and firmware. As of now, Wink continues to successfully operate as an independent subsidiary of Flex.
Unfortunately for GE Link Hub, everything was not so bright. Since Quirky has gone out of business, it has not been able to continue sending firmware updates to the GE Link Hub. Thus, GE Link bulbs that have newer software will not pair with the hub. Though the bulbs will show signs of communication with the hub (the 3-time flash), they still won’t pair with the hub.
So, if you’re looking to expand your collection of smart lighting and buy more GE Link Bulbs separate from the kit, you might have problems pairing them to the GE Link Hub. And, for the really bad news: no one knows if/when the GE Link firmware is to be updated.
And with all that said, let’s take a look at the differences between GE Link Hub and Wink Hub.
GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub — Differences:
Difference #1: Appliance control – The GE Link works only with GE Link bulbs. You can pair a total of 128 GE Link bulbs to the GE Link Hub. Whereas the Wink Hub controls a wider range of appliances. All the products that have the “Wink Compatible” seal on packaging will work with the Wink hub. These compatible products include door locks, motion sensors, door/window sensors, tilt sensors, light dimmer, light switches, appliance modules, light bulbs, and outlets.
Difference #2: Dimensions – The GE Link Hub is super small when compared to other hubs. You can plug it in the outlet and it’ll seamlessly blend with any design. The Wink Hub is bigger, but it’s not something you won’t be able to hide. The Wink Hub dimensions are: 8″ L x 3″ W x 8″ H, just a normal hub size, similar to SmartThings and Insteon.
Difference #3: Placement – You will need to plug in your GE Link hub at least 10 feet away from your Wi-Fi source. The Wink Hub can be placed in a location that is at least 5 feet away from your Wi-Fi router. The Wink company also offers the Wink Hub 2, which comes with an ethernet port and can be connected to your router via an Ethernet Cable (the Wink Hub 2 comes with a cable). The ethernet connect allows for a better, faster connection. So, we’d recommend considering the Wink Hub 2.
GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub — Full chart of features
|Wink Hub||GE Link Hub|
|Technology Support||Kidde, Clear Connect|
|Setup||Manual Discovery||Manual Discovery|
|Use with||Products that have the |
“Wink Compatible – Wink Hub Required”
seal on packaging
|ONLY with GE Link bulbs|
|Connectivity||2.4GHz (Wi-Fi)||2.4GHz (Wi-Fi)|
|Dimensions||8″ x 8″ x 3″||N/A|
|Supported Protocols||Bluetooth, Z-Wave® |
(Security Enabled Z-Wave Plus Device),
ZigBee®, Wi-Fi®, Lutron® Clear Connect®,
GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub — The Bottom Line
When choosing between the GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub, we’d say go with the Wink hub as a part of Wink Bright starter kit. The kit comes with the Wink hub 2 and two Sylvania light bulbs. Once you have the kit, you can easily connect other compatible light bulbs to the Wink hub. Check out the full list of Wink compatible lights here. GE Link offers a similar starter kit which includes a GE Link hub and two GE Link bulbs. Yet with the GE Link hub you’ll only be able to control the GE Link Bulbs. And, if you buy more GE Link bulbs separately, they might not pair with your existing hub due to the firmware incompatibility.
You can buy GE Link bulbs separately for $31.99 each and connect them straight to the Wink hub. There are no compatibility issues whatsoever. Plus, since the Wink Hub supports other protocols as well, you’ll be able to pair it with smart lighting products from Philips, Sylvania, Cree, Leviton, Lutron, and Hampton (be sure to check with each product as to its hub connectivity). And if you’re looking to add to your smart home appliances family, the Wink hubs are the best “prepare-for-the-future” bet, with our recommendation going to the Wink Hub 2. Here’s a detailed guide to help you make a choice between the two Wink hubs: Wink Hub vs. Wink Hub 2: What’s the difference?