For pet owners who miss their pets while they are away from home during work or vacation, they can always keep an eye on their pets by installing an IP or web connected camera at home. Web cameras allow you to view live streaming videos of your pets to make sure they are alright. However, most of the time this is a one way communication with no way for you to communicate or interact with your pets. The Petcube is a specially designed WiFi camera for pet owners that not only allows you to talk to your pets but to play with them as well.
The Petcube is a very attractive looking 4 inch brushed aluminum cube that houses a wide-angled 720p HD camera, a microphone, a speaker and a low intensity laser. It also has WiFi connectivity so that it can connect to your home network and stream live video to your smartphone or tablet. It supports both iOS and Android devices but testing was done on an iPad.
Installation is both quick and easy. Just download and install the app. I first connected my iPad to the Petcube directly via WiFi and set it up to connect to my home WiFi. With that, setup is complete and it connects to my home WiFi automatically. It took about 10 minutes in total. The app is well designed and easy to understand. With a little experimentation, I soon became familiar with all the features in no time.
What the Petcube does is to combine the functions of a webcam with a few pet specific interactive features. The HD camera allows you to see your pet anywhere and anytime from your smart device. It has a 138º wide-angle lens. Place the camera at the corner of a small room and the camera should be able to capture the entire room. You can place it on a shelf or table. The bottom of the camera has a piece of non-slip padding and a tripod mount. Personally, I used a camera tripod to mount the Petcube so that I can place and angle it properly.
Video is captured at 720p which is comparable to most security and pet cams. It is not as clear as I hoped it would be but it is decent quality in bright daylight. If lighting is insufficient or if the room is dimly lit, the video quality does suffer. The camera does not have night vision. On the other hand, you should let sleeping dogs lie and not disturb them while they sleep.
You can save video clips and photo stills as you view the video feed. You can also share the video feed with friends and family through the app although only one device can view the feed at a time. There is no subscription fee required for the live feed viewing or sharing features.
You can hear your pet via the microphone and at the same time you can speak to it via the built-in speaker. The speaker is sufficiently loud and my pet dog, Jackpot, was able to recognize my voice and respond to it. However, there seems to be a bit of an echo as well. A word of warning. Talking to your pet through your phone while at the office might earn you some strange stares.
The built-in laser pointer lets you play with your pets. It lets you lay claim that you are exercising your pet while sitting comfortably in your office chair. You control the laser pointer by touching the camera view on the app. Your mileage may wary on this feature. Younger pets may find this fascinating and a huge source of fun. Jackpot on the other hand is quite advanced in years and therefore was not as keen.
As a pet lover who works long hours, being able to check on Jackpot from work at any time and being able to communicate and play with her with a pet cam is a brilliant idea. I wish that the camera and sound quality were a bit better. My dog, Jackpot was not interested in the laser pointer feature but it is not the fault of the Petcube itself as the laser worked surprisingly well via the app. Overall, the product worked as advertised but whether the pet-centric features are worth the extra dollars over a normal IP camera is something you have to decide for yourself. It is difficult to put a dollar value to an owner’s love for her pet.
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