Published on March 28th, 2017 |
Petcube Play: Fun With Your Pets, Even From Afar
As with most busy pet owners, we often feel sad leaving our furry friends home alone for a day. But in the heyday of home surveillance systems, many of us have resorted to setting up a web camera to spy on our beastie’s favorite spots. The simple act of checking in on your buddy during the day can create immense peace of mind, especially when on vacation. And while there are lots of home security cameras on the market, there are only a couple that come equipped with a laser pointer to let you play with your pets when you’re away. The first was the Petcube Camera, which debuted in 2014. The second is the new Petcube Play, which improves upon the original with 1080p video, an ultra-wide 138-degree field of view, night vision, and alerts.
The Petcube Play
is a 3.1-inch, 10.7-ounce friendly-looking cube. A rubber square on the bottom keeps the plastic cube from sliding around on flat surfaces and a standard screw mount allows you to hook the device up to a tripod for better viewing angles! Just remember to buy your own mini tripod since it doesn’t come with one. Originally a Kickstarter project
that raised over $300K (along with their other major product, a remote pet feeder called Bites), you’ll need to sign up for a free Petcube account to set up and access your camera, which only takes a moment of your time. The next thing you’ll be prompted for is to connect to the Wifi in your home, which took a bit longer than it should have in our tests. We were forced to refresh the login page periodically until the device finally recognized the wifi network. Once you do get signed in, the camera will run through some diagnostics for setup and voila, you can see your critter on the camera!
Currently, you can only have one Petcube device on your account, so you can’t hook up multiple cameras to cover different angles of your home but we are hoping that in the near future, we’ll get that ability. As with many IP cameras, this one offers night vision, which meant that the dark apartment looked bright when checking on a sleepy Fritz during evenings away. The camera also features a microphone and speaker that let you listen and talk to your pets. The sound on the small device was decent, capturing the attention of our furry little fellow. You can also tap the video and drag your finger over the screen to direct a laser on nearly anything in frame. The initial problem with this laser is that there is a lag time between your swipe and the lasers movement so you can never quite be sure of where the dot will land. The laser is often also unresponsive, too quick or too slow to move, which means it can be hard to actually play with your pet. There’s an automatic mode too, that can trigger on movement, but it’s pretty jerky, the dot jumping around too fast to be much fun.
Another perk is that you can share your Play’s video feed with family members, friends, or even the general public over the Petcube app. You can still find the first-generation model occasionally, but the hardware improvements here seem worth the extra coin. The optional Petcube Care is a new cloud storage service that allows you to store 10 days of video for $10 per month. Expect to spend around $199
for the Petcube Play, online and in stores.