The MyQ Garage system from Chamberlain is trying to hit the market with a bang. Unfortunately, from everything I can find about it that bang is more like a pop. Sure, it’s a pretty cool product with a viable use. It’s also pretty easy to install and configure. There are mobile apps so you aren’t tied down to a computer. You really don’t need to have an engineering degree or buy anything extra get it installed and up and running.
The main problem with it is it’s not compatible with the products and technologies in the sector that are gaining the most traction with consumers.
MyQ Garage Makes Your Garage Door Smart
The name MyQ is a play on words meant to trick you into automatically ascribing intelligent aspects or characteristics to the product. The suggested retail price of about $130 is pretty smart. Unlike other smart home or home automation products on the market, this Chamberlain product can interface with other products in the house, but it isn’t designed to control anything but the garage door.
You can pop open the mobile app on your phone or tablet and see if the kids remembered to close the garage door when they got home from school and close it when you see they left it open. You can also open it to let your neighbor Bob borrow the lawnmower. Just remember to get it back when he’s done with it.
The simple opening and closing of the garage door from anywhere you have an active Internet connection for your mobile device is just the beginning of what the Chamberlain MyQ Garage can do, though.
For instance, you can simulate traffic in and out of the garage by turning lights on and off from around the globe while on vacation. From the looks of it, you can even program the system to automatically turn lights on and off.
That’s pretty cool, but the product doesn’t stop there. Does your child have a habit of dragging their feet on the way home from school? It can also be set up to send you push alerts when certain pre-programmed actions are detected.
Wide Compatibility and Incredibly Easy to Install
The control unit/hub installs in two easy steps. First mount the included bracket somewhere convenient with the included hardware. Slide the hub/control unit onto the bracket and plug it in. Run through some simple Bluetooth and Wi-Fi pairing procedures, install the apps, place the sensor unit on the garage door, and you’re good to go. You’ll need a screwdriver to install it and that’s it. Other products with similar capabilities require you to hardwire them into the electrical system. This one just plugs in.
The Chamberlain system is compatible with garage door openers from all major makers like Sears Craftsman and Liftmaster. There’s also a retrofit kit for use with older garage door openers. Chamberlain says the device is compatible with any garage door opener made after 1993 that is equipped with a photoelectric sensor.
Unfortunately, the MyQ system leaves you wanting more functionality out of the box. The thing sends a message to my phone while I’m at work saying the garage door just opened? Great. Who opened? Why did they open it? Maybe it’s the wife and she’s bringing groceries in and would be pretty peeved if I started closing the garage door while she was inside dropping off an armful of groceries.
The News Is More Good than Bad
Chamberlain put an extremely sensitive Wi-Fi antenna and receiver into the unit. Even if your phone has problems seeing the home Wi-Fi network from the garage, Chamberlain’s MyQ Garage has such a strong receiver and antenna that few garages are out of range. There’s also the fact that it’s compatible with most home automation/smart home products, which is also good news, although it’s pretty disappointing that it notably leaves out compatibility with one of the fastest-growing companies in the niche, SmartThings, or even Revolv.
More Compatibility to Come
Chamberlain has promised to expand the capabilities of the system and its compatibility with home automation/smart home platforms. Hopefully future iterations of the product will have more functionality and the ability to communicate properly with the SmartThings platform. Until then, I’ll keep hitting the button on the wall and keep hoping.