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Nexx Garage review: A one-stop shop for garage smarts

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The Nexx Garage is a $100 smart-garage controller that adds skills to your normal garage door, such as voice commands, remote access and auto opening. A close second to the widely integratabtle Chamberlain MyQ system, I'd recommend the Nexx Garage for anyone wanting simple, fuss-free smarts and compatibility with the voice-activated assistants Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. 

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7.5

Nexx Garage

The Good

The Nexx Garage works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant without needing IFTTT and has good auto-opening performance.

The Bad

The sensors for the door require a long wire strung across your garage space and can be tricky to align just right.

The Bottom Line

It performs well, costs less than $100, and offers a simple setup with native voice-assistant integration.
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Nexx Garage mounts to your existing garage door.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Installation

The Nexx Garage system is compatible with most garage doors that have an opener motor. (Check this compatibility list to see if it will work with your garage door. I tested the Nexx Garage with the Chamberlain AccessMaster garage door opener.) The Nexx Garage system includes two sensors for your garage door and one Wi-Fi device for your existing garage door opener. You attach the device to your opener with the provided double-sided adhesive tape.

Securing the sensors is a bit trickier. The Nexx Garage kit comes with two sensors. You can secure sensors with either the double-sided tape or a pair of screws. The bottom sensor attaches to the top panel of your garage door, while the top sensor attaches to the wall directly above it. The top sensor is wired, and that's my biggest gripe with the system. You'll need to run that wire along your wall or ceiling back to the garage door opener, where it connects to the Nexx Garage device. This requires a bit more ladder work to get that wire routed and secured. Adding more wires to any room is a big turn-off for me. 

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Even so, the sensors worked wonderfully once installed. The sensors must be installed on your garage door between one-eighth to one-quarter-inch apart. Because they're so close and directly connected to the Nexx Garage device, all the opening and closing commands and notifications were quick and accurate.

The Nexx Garage device connects to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. The Nexx Garage app (available on Android and iOS) walks you through setting up an account and adding your first device. The system also comes with thorough printed instructions. 

Once your device is connected, you can customize preferences for app alerts. One of the more interesting options is a voice alert feature. When you enable that feature, a voice will alert you when the garage door opens or closes. There are also standard notifications to let you know the door has been closed, opened or left open for too long.

How smart is it?

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The Nexx Garage app offers alert and customization options for your garage. 

Screenshot by Molly Price/CNET

Perhaps the Nexx Garage's best feature, compared to the other garage devices I've tested, is the auto open. Most smart garage controllers, like the GogoGate2 and Garadget offer some sort of auto open, often through geofencing with IFTTT applets. The Nexx Garage doesn't need IFTTT though, so auto open doesn't need any IFTTT recipe setup. 

The Nexx Garage app uses your phone's location, and this method worked more accurately in my testing. You can set parameters for geofencing within the app, but the default settings I tested were plenty accurate. Just enable the auto-open button, and the garage door will raise as you drive up to it. 

The Nexx Garage isn't compatible with Apple's HomeKit, but it does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands and checking door status. There is a Nexx Garage skill for Alexa, and Google links up by signing into your Nexx Garage account through the Google Home app. 

Both voice assistants require you to ask the assistant to ask the device to do something, which can turn into a mouthful given the device must be called "Nexx Garage." For example, "Alexa, ask Nexx Garage to close the door." But I still found this method easier than setting up a special IFTTT applet. 

With Alexa, you'll need to set a PIN in order to use voice commands to open or close the door. In the app, Nexx Garage explains that this is because Alexa identifies the device as a security item, likely because it's an entry into your home, thus requiring a mandatory PIN to operate it. 

With Google, you can create a PIN if you want extra security, but it's completely optional. If someone knew which device operated your garage door and could get Google Assistant to hear their voice command from outside your house, it could be a security issue. That's unlikely, but Amazon seems to think it's better to be safe than sorry. None of the other garage door controllers I tested had a mandatory PIN. 

Conclusion

Overall, the Nexx Garage checked nearly all the boxes for basic garage smarts. It provides support for voice commands, auto opening, scheduling, multiple users and alerts for garage door action. I'd still prefer a camera integration like the Garager or the Garadget. With the Nexx Garage, you'd need a third-party camera (and the camera's app) to monitor your garage space in real time. Chamberlain's MyQ system integrates with many more smart home platforms such as Nest, Wink and Xfinity Home for the same price. Add Chamberlain's MyQ Home Bridge to your system for $70, and you'll be able to control your door with Siri and HomeKit. 

If you'd like HomeKit compatibility and native camera integrations, the Nexx Garage isn't for you. Despite these shortcomings and a strong showing by Chamberlain on the integrations side, I'd still recommend the Nexx Garage to anyone looking for a simple way to fully smarten their garage. You'll get all the major features a smart garage needs in a reliable, affordable system.

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7.5

Nexx Garage

Score Breakdown

Features 8Usability 7Design 7Performance 8