I’ve had my eye on the Chamberlain myQ Smart Video Keypad for the last few months. When we have family in town staying with us, it’s a helpful way to give them access in and out of our house without having to cut new house keys. It’ll also be helpful if my wife and I are at the office and we have a package delivery that will be big enough (or valuable enough) to be left in the garage. I recently received such a keypad for review and that’s what I’ll be taking a look at in this blog.
Owning this myQ video keypad does have a fairly major prerequisite attached to it. You must own a Chamberlain (or subsidiary brand) garage door opener with photoelectric sensors for the keypad to work with it. However, year of manufacture is pretty open ended, and as long as the opener was built in 1993-present, it will work. This applies to all Chamberlain garage door openers, including the myQ Video Garage Door Opener, which I have and will be using with this review.
Let’s have a look!
Unboxing your Chamberlain myQ Smart Video Keypad
The unbox for this product is pretty simple. The myQ Smart Video Keypad is already put together, so all you have to do is pull the front cellophane off. In the box, you’ll also find a white mounting bracket, screws, and a drywall anchor. There’s also a printed sheet with information on how to install the myQ app (which you’ll need) and how to install your keypad.
The unit is really sturdy and has an IP55 rating, meaning that it is capable of standing up to pretty strong rainfall on it, but cannot be submerged in water. I live on the west coast and am subjected to about 200 days of rain per year. I’m pretty comfortable saying that this will stand up to Spring and Winter here. That said, the temperature range for this keypad is -20 to 50 Celsius, so those of you back east will likely have to pull this off the mount for safekeeping in the winter since it could stop functioning in the coldest months.
Before you set things up, you’ll have to pull the battery out of the housing and put it on to charge. It’s a simple Micro USB charge. If you don’t have a cable, it comes with one but does not come with a power brick. It will take about 8 – 10 hours to charge the battery. Battery life itself varies (I’ll discuss that more during the setup phase) and the unit itself comes on and off the mount fairly easily.
Setting up your myQ garage video keypad
Aside from charging the battery, the only preparation steps you have to take are downloading the myQ app from your app store and setting up a Chamberlain account. If you already have an account, just scan the top QR code on the paper included and it’ll take you straight to setup. I’d recommend setting everything up with the unit in hand first and then mounting it to the bracket once that’s done.
Once you’ve popped the battery back into the unit after charging and closed the housing, you’ll see a series of LED lights that correspond to setup and status. Chamberlain devices are almost too easy to set up, and this is no exception. The app guides you step by step through the different light statuses (or how to troubleshoot if the lights aren’t as they should be) and how to set things up. If you have a Wi-Fi enabled Chamberlain Garage Door Opener, you can set the whole thing up while sitting in your garage. If you don’t, you might have to get up on a ladder for the signals to sync up.
During this process, you’ll be asked to give the device your Wi-Fi password and then create and test a master PIN number that is registered to your profile. PINs are between 4 – 8 digits. Once you’ve tested your PIN number and the keypad is synced to your garage door opener and phone, you’re set. In reality, it should take you as long to set your device up as it did for you to read this section of the review. It’s really quick and straightforward. Then, it’s time to grab your power drill and level and affix the mount onto wherever it’s going to be docked. This, too, is pretty straightforward, only about five minutes of work. You just have to make sure that Wi-Fi signal strength is good enough wherever you’re putting it.
Using the myQ Smart Garage Video Keypad
Operating the myQ video keypad is pretty simple. Just walk up to it, pop in your PIN number and hit the home (bottom right) button. If accepted, the garage will open immediately. If you’re on the other side of things and you need to close the garage door, it’s even simpler than that. Just hit the home button and it’ll close the door for you. You don’t need to enter the PIN number to close the door; only to open it.
In addition to your master PIN, you can set up and allocate personalized PIN numbers for different users. For example, I can create something unique for my daughter and every time she keys in the PIN, it will push a notification that her code was used to access and open the garage. Here’s an example of one of those notifications that were sent to my Apple Watch. It will obviously send a notification to your phone too!
There’s a failsafe in place for incorrect PINs too. If somebody keys in an incorrect PIN, you’ll receive a notification immediately and you can access your live feed to see who’s at the garage door. The camera also comes with scaling person detection and motion sensitivity, and this is where battery life comes in. The higher of a person detection sensitivity/event triggering you set, the quicker it will drain. There are 5 detection different sensitivity settings to choose from, ranging from lower/lowest to highest.
Chamberlain’s support team defines the following battery life expectations:
Quiet Household (fewer than 10 events per day): 3 months of battery life
Typical Household (10 – 30 events per day): 2 months of battery life
Busy Household (over 30 events per day): 1 month of battery life
I have neighbours coming and going to a nearby park two doors down from me which makes up the majority of activity, so I suspect that no matter the setting, I’ll be on the “busy” end of battery life during the summer, and within the “quiet” to “typical” range outside of it. Thank goodness it’s rechargeable and it doesn’t require lithium batteries like some other home security options do! The camera itself captures in 1080p at a 160-degree wide angle and also comes with the ability to do two way audio communication too, whether you initiate it yourself or your visitor initiates it through the call button on the keypad. You’ll have clear operation both day and night, as the camera is equipped with really good night vision capabilities and the keypad itself is illuminated.
Recording is really clear and just like I found in my review of the Chamberlain IP camera, I’m impressed at how well this outputs at its price point. Video and audio (both in recording and 2 way conversations) are crystal clear and I had no problem picking up person notifications or tracking incidents. Overall, while the features of this camera are pretty simple and straightforward, it does its job really well and I was really pleased with how easy this all was.
Chamberlain cloud storage for video and incident recording
When your keypad gets going, you’ll also begin a 30-day trial for Chamberlain’s Cloud Storage which will record all of your incidents and save them for you to watch back or download. Once the trial is complete, you’ll have to pay for a 7 or 30-day cloud storage subscription in order to continue having access to all of these incidents. A 7-day program is $5.50 per month (or $55 if paid annually) while a 30-day rolling access is $14 a month (or $140 if paid annually.) This is…a lot for cloud storage for just your garage and I’d said in my IP Camera review, it may only be worth it if you have multiple Chamberlain devices running to have it make the most financial sense. If you do, be sure to get your subscription through the website, as the app seems to imply that you’d be purchasing storage for each device at its own subscription cost.
The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that without a cloud storage subscription, features of this camera are limited after the trial is over. You will still have the ability to live stream, engage in two way calling, and use the keypad itself to get in and out. However, all of the video recording features aren’t available until you activate a subscription.
I only have a couple really small gripes around this keypad. One—it isn’t really an information security-friendly solution, but I do wish Chamberlain would have assigned telephone keypad values in order to help form phoneword passwords. This would make for simplified accessibility for those that have difficulty remembering numeric PINs.
Two is my continuous and consistent balking at the cost of Chamberlain cloud storage, of which an annual 30-day continuous storage plan exceeds the cost of the keypad. Granted, they do now charge one price for your entire group of Chamberlain myQ devices (rather than per device as it used to be,) but it’s still a pretty high cost to swallow for just cloud storage for garage devices.
Outside of that, I have no complaints about the functionalities of the keypad at all. If you’re in the market for this keypad, it’s a great buy. It’s built really well, it has a solid IP rating for those of us in the rainier parts of Canada, and could not be easier to set up and get going.
The Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Video Keypad is now available at Best Buy and online at bestbuy.ca