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Lifewire / Emily Isaacs
Stylish and durable design
1080p video quality
Delivers treats remotely
Behavior-based mobile notifications
Subscription model limits functionality
Fixed camera angle
The Furbo is an expensive high-end pet camera, but users will find that it’s an excellent device for the price. It provides fantastic video quality, a unique and fun treat tossing feature, and peace of mind thanks to its handy activity-based mobile notifications.
The Furbo Dog Camera is designed specifically with the needs of dogs and dog owners in mind. From the treat tosser, to the behavior-based mobile notifications, to the two-way audio and 1080p HD camera with infrared LED night vision, everything helps give pet owners peace of mind. If you want to check in with pups while away at work, the Furbo is a great pet camera to add to your home.
As the name indicates, the Furbo is designed for dogs. This comes across with many of its features, from the blue light that turns on when the camera is in use (blue being one of the few colors dogs can see) to the spill-resistant bamboo lid which prevents excited pups from knocking it over.
That said, there are few limitations when considering where to place it. The recommendation is to put the Furbo Dog Camera 12-20 inches above the floor, depending on the height of your dog. If your pup is a chewer, higher may be better, although the case does seem durable in its own right. This height is ideal for monitoring your pup during the day—or taking dog selfies when they look at it, which is pretty goofy and fun.
Another consideration we ran into was with our flooring. Since we have a long carpet in our living room where we placed it, the treats sometimes got a little hidden in the fibers after the Furbo tossed them out. For us, that just meant our dog got to practice our sniff command and make a game of seeking them out, but it’s still something to keep in mind if you have a carpet.
If your dog is one who may be more rambunctious, one added perk of the Furbo is that the bottom is lined with three double-sided tape strips so you can securely fasten it to whichever surface in your home best suits your needs. For pet owners looking for more placement options, it also includes a tripod mounting socket between the double-sided strips
The Furbo boasts of an easy 3-minute setup, and it does not disappoint. We first plugged our new Furbo in using the provided power cord and it quickly turned on, with its front-facing light turning green to show it was ready to proceed to the next step of the setup process. From here, we downloaded the Furbo app from the Google Play Store on our Samsung Galaxy S8 (iOS devices are also supported) and logged into the app. Once signed in, the app searched for the Furbo by using our phone’s Bluetooth and then it paired with the pet camera. Setup was indeed fast and simple.
One way Furbo truly stands apart from its competitors is the treat tossing feature which comes with the app. Not all pet cameras feature the ability to remotely distribute treats to pets. The ones that do don’t usually give users the ability to physically throw the treats to eager pups. Rivals such as Furbo’s competitor, the Pawbo Pet Camera, rely on gravity to disperse treats to hungry dogs.
To dispense a treat, Furbo plays a sound clip, or users can record their own personal greeting, alerting the dog that the Furbo is on. Then, within the app you can drag and drop the treat icon toward a location in the camera’s field of view and voila—the treat is flung from the Furbo to the location indicated.
One way the Furbo truly stands apart from its competitors is the treat tossing feature which comes with the app.
This does take some getting used to for your pet. Thankfully, Furbo provides a handy training video within the app so that dogs can be taught to come to the sound of the chime and wait for goodies. We found this training video to be fun and informative, helping us quickly get our dog up to speed on what to expect from the Furbo. The toss itself was impressive, too, generally landing at least several feet out.
AI-powered smart notifications are a strong feature of the device. The Furbo is able to send real-time notifications based on barking and movement (including people). Future updates to the app will also include home emergency and dog emergency alerts as well. These mobile notifications are paired with 10-second video clips which are saved for a 24-hour window. Our dog is a bit of a barker, and we found that turning down the sensitivity for barking notifications was useful so we weren’t constantly spammed with repeated notifications. That said, these notifications were very helpful for checking in on our dog and seeing what was causing her to become stressed or act up.
The Furbo is able to send real-time notifications based on barking and movement (including people).
One drawback of the smart mobile notifications is that they’re only available to users for a 90-day trial window. Also tied to this trial window is the Dog Nanny feature that provides a diary with highlights from the dog’s day and snaps selfies when the dog looks at the camera. This means that only the live view, treat tossing feature, and barking alerts are available without a subscription. Users eager to retain these more robust notifications and stay connected with their pet after this trial period is up will need to consider if $6.99 a month, or $69 a year, is a worthwhile investment. For the casual user just looking to check in periodically, this may be functionality one can do without.
The two-way talk feature is another highlight of the device. After all, while it’s fun to see what one’s pet is up to, it’s much more fun to talk with and interact with them while away from home. The two-way talk feature does just that. The audio is clear and, while it’s advertised as high quality, it feels a bit weak compared to competitor devices such as the Petcube Play, which features a much more crisp, clear audio connection.
The video quality itself is great, letting you livestream and record video clips in 360p, 720p, and 1080p, so users are able to customize it based on internet connection. In low-light or no-light conditions, you are treated with a sharp, clear view of the room and their pet, which not all pet cameras can support. Regarding the video itself, there’s very little blur or noise, so it’s easy to see what your pet is up to at any given moment. Another perk is that the Furbo is capable of supporting two people logged in and viewing the livestream at the same time—something that not all pet cameras can do. Pet owners looking to stream live video to friends or family will find this to be another leg up on the competition.
With an MSRP of $249, the Furbo is a high-end pet camera, especially when one considers that pet cameras usually range from $100-$400 based on the features involved. With its durable chassis, bamboo spill-resistant lid, and attractive, hourglass design, the Furbo Dog Camera is a nice product. It looks at home anywhere, bringing with it a touch of class. Its highlighted features are also impressive, from the 1080p camera, infrared night vision, and its unique treat tossing mechanism. You won’t be disappointed with its functionality.
The Furbo Dog Camera’s main sources of competition come from the Petcube Play and the Pawbo Life Pet Camera. Each of these devices offers separate, unique features that require additional considerations.
The Petcube Play (MSRP $179), unlike the Furbo, is small—fitting into the palm of your hand. With its metal chassis and compact design, it blends into your home, whereas the Furbo is much larger and stands out. Petcube also features a laser pointer game with automatic and manual controls, which is notably missing in the Furbo.
In contrast, it doesn’t feature a remote treat delivery option, although the Petcube Play 2 (MSRP $199) does. Not all dogs will be interested in laser pointers, however, so consider your pet’s unique needs and interests. Would it be more fun to play with your dog or to toss it treats and watch it go wild? Both devices feature real-time notifications.
Furbo’s other main competitor is the Pawbo Life Pet Camera (MSRP $199). The Pawbo, unlike Furbo, is a bit of an everyman. It can remotely deliver treats, but instead of a firm toss, it relies on gravity to do its work for it. Pawbo Life also includes a laser pointer game with automatic and manual controls and it features two-way talk.
Because it includes these additional features at a comparable price point, these features are also weaker. For instance, the video quality is limited to 720p and the two-way talk is somewhat grainy or comes across after a short delay. It’s also missing the real-time notifications, night vision modes, and cloud-based recording. For users who just want a fun way to remotely deliver treats to pets and check in occasionally, it may be a better option.
Expensive, but fun and packed with features.
The Furbo Dog Camera is a fun, unique way to remotely deliver treats to dogs. It’s also a great option for keeping up with the secret life of pets while away from home. It’s slightly more expensive than its competitors, but it has well-developed features that let it stand apart from the pack.