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Alcidae Garager review: Garager lets you close the garage door from anywhere

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The Alcidae app controls the Garager for both iOS and Android devices. From the app, you can view a live, color video feed with 960p HD resolution. That's slightly lower than the 1080p HD we're used to seeing now in security and smart cameras, but still enough to see most action clearly. The camera does include two-way audio, so you can talk to someone inside your garage from the Alcidae app by pressing the microphone button beneath the live feed. In addition to communicating, you can record videos or snap photos of what's going on in your garage. And, of course, you can raise and lower your garage door remotely with a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

Viewing, saving and sharing recorded clips of any alert does require a $5 per month subscription. That's not uncommon across the DIY security cameras we've seen this year, and while it wasn't a surprise, I wish there were at least a free 7-day or even 24-hour option for recorded clips. Notifications of sound, motion and door activity in the Alcidae app were prompt and accurate in my testing. The app displayed a  time-stamped activity log of detected sound and motion. Both sound and motion detections are optional, and you can set individual sensitivity settings for each. If you did subscribe to the clip service, you'd also see the accompanying video clip for the sound or motion event in question.  

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The Alcidae app houses the Garager video feed, notifications and recorded clips. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Garager doesn't check every box for me as a fully smart garage system. Things like scheduling, geofencing and smart assistant compatibility are all missing right now. Without Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa (or even IFTTT) compatibility, the Garager doesn't feel as smart as it could be. Without any scheduling capabilities, you won't be able to set the door to open or close at a specific time each day. Geofencing would add hands-free convenience. These things are supposedly coming to the Garager soon, but they aren't here yet.

Until these key features make their way to the Garager, I can't recommend it over something like Chamberlain's $99 MyQ Smart Garage Hub which works with a variety of smart assistants and platforms including Google Assistant, Homekit, Nest, Wink and IFTTT. It is worth noting the Garager isn't compatible with any MyQ garage door openers. You do get some features MyQ can't give you, like a live color and night vision video feed and two-way audio, but MyQ has more smart features overall. If geofencing, scheduling or asking a virtual assistant to close the garage door top your list, you'll be disappointed with the Garager's capabilities, at least for now.

If being able to see, hear and speak to your garage space remotely is a priority, give the Garager a try. If not, I'd recommend going with Garageio ($129 at Garageio) or Chamberlain's MyQ line or products for complete garage smarts that work with the rest of your smart home. 

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