I found the Meross MSG100 to be a capable—and wildly affordable—smart garage door controller. With its Meross Collie (also known as the MSG200), the manufacturer aims to improve on that formula, offering a dramatically better industrial design as well as some updated features.
The first thing you’ll notice is the much more appealing appearance, as the Collie’s svelte, all-black exterior fits in better with every garage door opener I’ve ever seen. The other big change can be spotted on the rear of the device: Three ports allow the Collie to handle three separate garage door openers, all from a single controller. Be aware, however, that the device will arrive with the parts needed for only a single opener. You’ll need to purchase additional sensors and wiring for doors two and three at $15 each if you want to control more than one door. Priced at $50 for a single door, the Collie is just $10 more than the MSG100.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart garage door controllers, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Like all wired smart garage door controllers, the product won’t work out of the box with most new openers, which have encryption routines that require a special type of opening device. As with the MSG100, an accessory is required to make the Collie work with these types of openers, but you won’t know for sure if you need it until you run through the setup on the Meross mobile app.
As I mentioned in my review of the MSG100, here’s a pro tip: Install the app before you buy the product and plug in your garage door opener’s model info to see if you’ll need the extra accessory.
Hardware installation is virtually identical to that of the MSG100 and most other wired smart garage door openers. Plug the unit into wall power, then connect two bare wires to screwposts or spring terminals on the back of your garage door opener.
The Collie still uses a wired sensor that you must snake along the overhead track to your door, placing the two magnetic sensor components on the door and wall, much as you would with a standard door or window sensor in your house. The catch, of course, is the wire that runs back to the Collie, and you’ll need to position the wire carefully, so it doesn’t get caught in the opener chain. It’s not the tidiest part of the operation, either so plan to wear gloves. And if your garage is anything like mine, connecting sensors in this way to three doors could make for some complex wiring.
Another upgrade from the MSG100 is that the Collie unit is designed to work in Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, so once you’re ready to set up the app, you are directed to scan the QR code and run through the iOS installation routine to complete the process. (You can read this article to learn all about HomeKit.) This ultimately worked fine in my testing—although it took several minutes where it seemed like nothing was happening—and soon I was able to begin working with the Collie directly.
The Collie uses the same app as the MSG100 (and all Meross products), and it’s by and large a simple affair, with all your devices visible on a single primary control pane. Just tap the image of the garage door to open or close, or tap in the top right corner of the product image to visit the device’s settings.
Unfortunately I had more trouble with the Collie than the MSG100, starting with the fact that it populated three garage doors in the app, even though I only set up one—and had indicated such during the initial installation. The app seemed to believe these were fully operational doors, even alerting me that one of them had been left open after a while.
A much bigger issue, however, is that the Collie was just not nearly as reliable as the MSG100. I ended up achieving about a 50/50 success rating getting it to respond to open/close commands, and when it did, it would often take 10 to 15 seconds for anything to happen. The rest of the time I’d receive a droll “Response timeout” error message. Trying again usually got things working, but if you’re sitting in your car after a long day on the road, waiting to get into your garage, it’s a huge nuisance of a problem.
On the plus side, the app gives you plenty of flexibility, including the ability to set notifications when the door is opened and/or closed (iOS Home also sends these notifications by default), there’s a configurable reminder system if the door has been left open for a certain length of time, a reminder if you left the door open at bedtime, several automatic closing options, and even the ability to turn off the beeping warning system when the door is about to close (which was turned off by default on my unit). Alexa and Google Home are also supported for voice control. That’s a hefty collection of features, and they all work well—at least, when the system itself is working well.
Unfortunately, smart garage door controllers tend to be finicky when it comes to wireless, and the Meross Collie is pickier than most. Unless you absolutely need to have three doors running off of a single controller, I’d recommend sticking with one of our other top choices.