With thousands of different home automation products on the market offering a variety of functions, it can get pretty overwhelming. Most Smart Home products can be classified into one of two categories: those that address an issue with a current device by making it more intuitive, advanced, or extending its use (think smart locks, smart light bulbs, thermostats, etc) , and those that add a new element altogether (including voice assistant platforms like Amazon Echo and Google Home, water leak sensors, and smart hubs). Some of the most successful home automation products I have seen aren’t fundamentally groundbreaking new ideas, they just make things safer or simpler with enhanced usability and features. Nexx Garage is a straightforward smart garage door opener that seeks to enhance accessibility without complicating things, which the company believes puts it ahead of the pack.
Smart garage door opener companies are cropping up pretty quickly, and the space is getting crowded. We’ve previously looked at the offerings of Garadget, Garageio, and now we have something new from Nexx Garage. At their core, all of these products are designed with one purpose: enabling greater control over the garage door access point.
Nexx level control
The Nexx Garage uses a system that has a control unit, which plugs into a standard outlet and has two wires that connect to the same two terminals the wall-mounted opener uses. There is another cable for the wired sensor, which runs down the side of the roller track and affixes to the stationary door frame. A wireless sensor attaches just opposite the wired one, stuck to the door itself with adhesive backing.
The actual functionality is pretty simple: when the two sensors are near one another, the door registers as closed. When they are apart, it registers as open. While the initial setup of the Nexx smart garage door controller might take a little bit longer than say Garadget (that one does not use the wired sensors for door detection), I found the sensors are more secure this way. Instead of relying on a laser bouncing off a reflective pad, which can become shifted and cause incorrect readings, the Nexx seems like it would be a bit more stable over time.
Smart garage features
While the garage door itself has been largely unchanged for years, there are a few new tricks to teach this old dog. Since all smart garage door controller applications rely on a standard motor for operation and are simply affecting utility, there isn’t any change to the actual open and close function (not that it needs any).
The new features that Nexx Garage brings to the table include push notifications to the accompanying smart phone app for open and close events, as well as the ability to include voice notifications for these events. One of the more practical features is the “open door reminder,” which helps to prevent forgotten garage doors from sitting open for extended periods of time, unsecured.
The app allows for remote operation of the door for whatever situation might arise where you need to grant access away from home. This might be limited in regular use, however one very unique case could be for receiving important deliveries. If the home has a smart surveillance camera with two-way communication incorporated (like a RemoBell or Toucan) users could receive notifications when a delivery driver arrives, communicate with the driver to leave the package in the garage, open and close the door, and feel comfortable the package is secured.
Automating the garage
Bumping up the intelligence, this smart garage door opener has voice integration with both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant for use on the Google Home platform. For Alexa, you need to enable the Nexx Garage skill, but pairing the two is quite simple and pretty awesome to use. With the general command of “Alexa (or Hey Google), tell Nexx Garage to close the door,” your door springs to life and performs the task. The inclusion of voice assistant control makes this tool a little more practical in my opinion, since families can all utilize the smart benefit without everyone needing to install the app and keep their phones on-hand to open the door. At least in today’s home automation world, if a device pairs with both Alexa and Assistant then it has a seat at the smart home table.
My favorite feature is the geofencing option that is currently in Beta, which allows the smart phone to automatically open the door within a certain proximity to the home (I found that distance to be roughly a couple of houses down the block). This is great for me because my garage door motor is quite old, and with antiquated DIP switches it will not pair with the information center in my vehicle. I don’t like the idea of keeping a clicker in my vehicle in case it gets stolen, and the crooks then have access to my property, leaving me without a safeguard. While the geofencing feature is currently only available for Android 6.0+, based on my experience I would expect a full rollout shortly.
Smart garage door control
Overall, I’m pretty fond of the Nexx Garage smart door opener, and out of the three different brands I have tested so far, I think it edges out Garadget and Garageio. One of the big factors for me is the inclusion of geofencing, which makes things so much easier for those without multiple remotes at home (like myself). The interface is smooth to utilize, the functions are useful, and the setup is simple. The settings menu is straightforward, and while there isn’t a desktop interface everything is easy enough to quickly address in the app.
Some other users have commented on difficulty getting it set up properly or the need to create special brackets; I find this to be completely outside the experience I had.
The price point is compelling as well, and at only $99.99 this is definitely on the cheaper end of home automation products. With the added security and monitoring of usage that Nexx Garage offers, it boosts the utility of the mundane garage door and adds some very useful features. It may not make the garage door any more exciting, but it sure does help to keep it up to date with the rest of the smart home.