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Lifewire / Emily Isaacs
Easy-to-use, sleek design
Built-in games with automatic and manual controls
Delivers treats remotely
Game controls can be a little clunky
Camera can be a letdown, particularly in low-light conditions
No night vision
Fixed camera angle
The Pawbo Life Pet Camera is a splurge, but with a stylish design, built-in games, remote treat delivery, and automatic and manual controls, it’s a great way to keep track of your family pet.
Pet lovers looking for a camera that’s balanced between price and features should look no further. The Pawbo Life Pet Camera is an easy, fun way to stay in touch with furry friends while on the go. The camera has a small, attractive design, along with a range of features that do more than just watch your pet. There are various games like a built-in laser pointer, a treat delivery system, and two-way talk. It’s a great way for the whole family to stay engaged with your pet while away from home.
Clocking in at 4.4 inches in diameter and 7.9 inches tall, the Pawbo is small, about the size of a water bottle—and not much heavier, weighing in at 1.2 pounds. You can put it on the floor, on an end table, or even mount it to the wall which makes it a great device for renters and homeowners alike. With its glossy, white chassis, it has the added benefit of fitting neatly into any home decor without looking out of place.
The camera angle is fixed, so we were unable to adjust it and needed to take that into consideration when determining where to place it. To its credit, the 130-degree wide-angle lens provides a large viewing range, so it’s perfectly at home anywhere, from up on a countertop to down on the floor. Be careful if your pet is rambunctious, as the Pawbo is well-balanced, but lightweight, which makes it easy for excitable pets to knock over.
One perk or drawback, depending on what you’re looking for, is that the Pawbo Life app doesn’t constantly record when it’s not in use nor does it send motion-based notifications to a user’s connected devices.
Another consideration when setting up our Pawbo was gravity. Unlike competitor devices such as the Furbo Dog Camera, which physically throws the treats, Pawbo relies on gravity to drop treats from its rotating tray to hungry pets. You want to set it up close to the edge of wherever it's placed so as not to disappoint furry friends who may find treats out of reach otherwise.
Setting up our Pawbo pet camera was a breeze. It arrived with two components—the Pawbo itself and a power cord. The instructions were simple; connect the Pawbo to an outlet using the provided power cord and wait for the device to confirm that it’s ready to set up by blinking. Then, we followed the instructions in the manual by downloading the Pawbo Life app through the Google Play Store (iOS devices are also supported) and paired our Samsung Galaxy S8 with the pet camera over the Wi-Fi. Once the connection was made we created our account and finalized our login process in minutes.
Another nice feature is the WPS setup, which is a fast, alternative connection option if the Pawbo encounters difficulty when connecting to Wi-Fi. To establish this connection, we followed the instructions in the Pawbo Life app, which directed us to press the WPS button on the back of our Pawbo, followed by pressing the WPS button on the back of our router.
For this setup option, it’s very handy to have the Pawbo close to the router as the connection window is short. We then followed the remaining instructions within the app. Should this setup option fail, the Pawbo can also emit its own signal for a mobile device to connect to as if it were a Wi-Fi connection, which allows the Pawbo to view and select local Wi-Fi networks it may otherwise have difficulty locating.
Pet cameras and treats—they don’t all have the option, which is one way that the Pawbo pet camera stands apart from the pack. Pull out the treat tray, remove the packing materials, and add your pet’s favorite goodies. Large treats have difficulty fitting into the rotating chamber which fits into the palm of your hand, so take a moment to break them up or choose smaller treats. Cleaning the treat tray is easy, too. Simply lift up the rotating wheel and wipe the chamber down.
Pawbo Life can be found in either the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store. It supports iOS devices which operate on 8.0 and later as well as Android 4.0 and later. Unlike other competitor apps which really generally support a user at a time, Pawbo Life can connect up to eight people at once. Another great feature is that when a user connects their app to the camera the Pawbo chimes, so users are never caught unaware when sharing the pet camera’s credentials with friends or family.
Games—pets love them, and the Pawbo Life app has them. A built-in laser pointer with both manual and automatic controls is a sure-fire winner in our books, although we noticed the manual controls could be a little clunky at times. Occasionally, the camera encountered a short delay, which made play a little challenging. Another caveat would be the placement of the device. If it’s placed on a surface that’s higher up, the automatic controls seem to wander a little too far for our dog and cat to keep up with, which kind of defeats the purpose of the game.
A built-in laser pointer with both manual and automatic controls is a sure-fire winner in our books, although we noticed the manual controls could be a little clunky at times
Two-way talk is another highlight of the Pawbo Life app. Users looking to interact with pets should consider this feature, as not all pet cameras offer the ability to communicate back-and-forth with a pet. Unfortunately, the sound quality itself isn’t that great, often coming across grainy or after a delay.
One perk or drawback, depending on what you’re looking for, is that the Pawbo Life app doesn’t constantly record when it’s not in use nor does it send motion-based notifications to a user’s connected devices. It can take pictures and record videos while a user is watching the video stream, however, which are then saved to your mobile device. Just like a typical photo or video, these can be shared out with family, friends, or even to social media.
With a camera quality of 720p and a 130-degree wide-angle lens, the Pawbo has a wide viewing range and can generally capture a decent picture of whatever space in which it’s setup. Unfortunately, however, the image quality can sometimes get a little grainy or blurry after quick movements, and particularly in low-light conditions, it seems to struggle. Pet owners looking to use this to check in on pets overnight will find this device lacking as it doesn’t feature a night vision mode.
With an MSRP of $199, the Pawbo is a great device since pet cameras range from $100-$400 depending on the features involved. It’s not a basic model, but a mid-tier product considering it includes two-way talk, a treat dispenser, and the manual and automatic laser games. While these features may not be perfect, they still set it apart from the pack.
There are many excellent pet cameras choices out there, with varying options based on every pet owner’s needs. Pawbo’s main competitors include, but aren’t limited to, the Petcube Play (MSRP $179) and the Furbo Dog Camera (MSRP $249).
Both the Petcube Play and the Pawbo feature built-in laser games. The Petcube Play, in contrast to the Pawbo, has a much nicer camera capable of streaming in 1080p HD video. Also, unlike the Pawbo, Petcube Play includes night vision for low-light conditions and no-light conditions. It can trigger messages to mobile devices based on sound and motion which makes it a great pick for cat or dog owners. One drawback of the Petcube Play, however, is that it doesn’t include a treat dispenser. If rewarding pets with treats is a must, then the Pawbo is the clear winner between the two.
The Furbo Dog Camera provides many of the same features as the Pawbo. Like the Petcube Play, Furbo also has a high-resolution camera capable of streaming 1080p HD video. It is more expensive and geared towards dogs, whereas the Pawbo is a great choice for cats and dogs. While you could use Furbo for both, the notifications for barking alerts would be wasted, as cats aren’t going to trigger them. One fun aspect of the Furbo is that it physically throws the treats to the pet, so users are less limited in placement options.
A solid mid-tier option.
If you’re just looking for a fun way to spend time with a pet while away from home, the Pawbo Life Pet Camera is a great mid-tier product with fun features. However, if you’re looking to monitor your pet’s activity in real time, it may not be the best fit and you may want to consider pricier options.