Let’s face it our cats and dogs are as important to us as any other member of the family. Insuring they looked after and entertained during the day whilst we are at work is one of our higher priorities. Petcube camera promises to do this whilst essentially just being an IP camera whilst also operating as an activity centre and it looks pretty good to boot.
Inside the Petcubes attractive exterior are three things. Firstly an IP camera, This requires minimal setup, works almost first time, seems to be fairly reliable and whilst the quality isn’t superb it is certainly serviceable.
Secondly, a microphone and speaker. For your animals to be able to hear your voice whilst you are not their offers a lot of reassurance. This can also be useful for directing family members to find something in a room.
Thirdly, a laser beam. The primary focus of the laser beam is a distraction for your animal. dogs aren’t terribly amused by it however cats and children love it.
These three things are housed within the black and silver housing. The silver aluminium around the outside is strong and elegantly designed. The black glass on the front proves fingerprinty, however it looks well and with the three small divisions for the camera laser and Petcube logo/notification light this device wouldn’t be distracting sitting on a shelf.
Around the back of the device there is a rubberised exterior that houses the power button the micro USB charger and the speaker. On the bottom is a rubberised surface with the tripod hole added for convenience.
Using the device is very simple, everything runs through an app that is compatible with both Android and iOS, sadly no reference to Windows just now. Once set-up the application is easy to navigate and proves to be a fun distraction even if not being used for it’s main purpose. Petcube have taken the opportunity to make the app a more Social experience, allowing the user to view other shared cameras and you can even interact with the animals belonging to the shared profiles if the user has opted to give access.
The image quality can be a little uneven. Whilst you can connect to the device whilst out of the house the stream picture quality can really become degraded depending on the quality of the network you are connected to. Even inside the house on the 5 Ghz wifi the picture quality was less than stellar. Camera support is 720p and I rarely saw anything close to that.
Initially I thought the asking price of £170 was quite steep, having spoken to a number of interested parties I realise that people are happy to pay this amount for such a device. Cheaper options certainly are not as elegant, perhaps omit the laser or the two way audio function, or might be more problematic to setup.
One thing that could be added to the Petcube help function a little better would be a battery inside it. If the power goes down this goes down. Also you are limited to putting this close to a power outlet, even temporarily.
Petcube Camera is a fun and interesting device. Those dedicated to their animals and not wanting to install a lesser, uglier product I can fully recommend the Petcube as a good looking and feature filled device.