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Wink Lookout Review

Wink Lookout is an example of why smart hubs do not necessarily make good DIY security systems. As a smart home controller, Wink Hub 2 is quite good, but it lacks the alerts, battery backup and functions of systems designed specifically for security.

Our Verdict

Wink is an excellent smart home system, but its Wink Lookout starter kit doesn’t handle home security as well as dedicated DIY security systems.

For

  • Wink works with more smart home devices than most other DIY security systems.

Against

  • When armed, this system doesn’t sound a siren when its sensors detect activity.
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Wink Lookout is an example of why smart hubs do not necessarily make good DIY security systems. As a smart home controller, Wink Hub 2 is quite good, but it lacks the alerts, battery backup and functions of systems designed specifically for security.

Wink Lookout is a starter kit that comes with a Wink Hub 2, two door and window sensors, a motion detector and a siren. At $199, Wink Lookout is one of the more affordable options in our comparison of DIY home security systems. The system doesn’t require a service plan to use so there are no additional costs beyond purchasing extra equipment to outfit your home. However, this also means that Wink Lookout doesn’t have a professional security monitoring option like the best DIY home security systems such as Scout Alarm, SimpliSafe and abode.

To arm and disarm the system, you need a smartphone with the Wink app. Since you control the system with the app, there are no entry or exit delays and there are no keypad or key fob options, which means everyone using the system must have a Wink account. This is not nearly as convenient as giving a key fob to your kids or when you don’t have your phone available.

Once armed, the system sends a notification to your phone when it detects activity within your home. You then have the option to turn on the siren, call a contact, call 911 or dismiss alerts altogether. Having a manually activated siren is less effective than other systems in our comparison, which activate a siren before issuing a notification, possibly preventing an intruder from entering your home altogether.

During our tests, we simulated a dropped internet connection and power outage and found that the Wink Hub 2 doesn’t proactively send any alerts to your phone. However, it does show status as offline if you open the app, which can be inconvenient. You can program alerts and actions through Wink’s robots, which are simple schedules or reactions to activity in your smart home. Wink Lookout doesn’t have a backup battery or cellular connection, unlike most DIY security systems.

The Wink Lookout service within the Wink app doesn’t control other devices, but merely activates notifications from sensors when armed. If Wink Lookout had more control over smart locks or security cameras connected to your DIY security system, this would help make up for some of the missing security features.

Wink’s Home Sitter feature in the app turns lights on and off at random intervals to make it look like someone’s home and discourages intruders. While this enhances Wink’s ability to help keep your home secure, it can’t make up for the lack of other security features in this system.

The Wink Siren & Chime is the best security device included with Wink Lookout. It lets you customize which tones it uses when a specific sensor detects activity. There are 10 tones, which can be used in siren or chime mode. The chime is best suited for quick notifications, such as a door opening, while the siren sounds for one of four preset settings: 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes or until you turn it off. Wink’s motion and door sensors aren’t much different from those of the competition.

The Wink app provides complete walkthroughs for adding and installing products, which makes it relatively easy to install. The hub and sensors took about 10 minutes to set up in our tests. You can connect the hub to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The main reason Wink scored so low in our installation testing is that it’s incompatible with many of the Z-Wave and ZigBee security devices available on other systems, particularly when it comes to key fobs and keypads.

Wink has some of the best smart home compatibility of any DIY security system. In addition to Z-Wave and ZigBee support, you can connect your Wink system to smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest, ecobee, August, Rachio, Ring, Philips Hue, Sonos and many others.

Wink’s customer support resources are impressive, going as far as including help guides for all of the third-party products it officially supports, not just products made by Wink itself. Wink’s products carry a one-year warranty, which is typical of most DIY security systems but not as impressive and the two- and three-year warranty of Nest Secure and SimpliSafe respectively.