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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Automatic night vision mode
Wide-angle lens covers entire room
Magnetic mounting option
No pet-specific interactivity
Buffering during video stream
Subscription required for video storage
Virtual vet service requires additional subscription
The Petcube Cam is a good supplementary camera for other Petcube products. It doesn’t have any pet-specific interactivity that sets it apart from budget home security cameras, though.
Petcube provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for the full review.
Petcube has developed some fun products just for pets, but the Petcube Cam was designed for people—or for their wallets, anyway. The Cam is affordable and discreet enough to be a home security camera. It may lack the interactive features that people associate with pet cams, but there are some perks to being part of the Petcube ecosystem. I tested it for a few weeks with the help of two fluffy companions.
The Petcube Cam is quite small at 2.4 x 2.1 x 3.2 inches, about the size of an apple. It can sit on a flat surface, but its light weight makes dog tails a real hazard. The other option is to mount it with the use of a small metallic plate. The camera can flip within its plastic housing, so it can be mounted in any orientation, even upside down.
Mounting the Cam is the best option if its purpose is for security.
The USB cable is 2 meters long, which does limit the placement of the Cam somewhat. Mounting the Cam is the best option if its purpose is for security, even the security of being able to look in on pet sitters, but I opted to test it on a table so I could enjoy some close-ups of my pets’ noses.
To use the Cam, I first needed to download the Petcube app. Previous Petcube products didn’t take long to set up, but the Petcube Cam was even faster. My phone detected the Cam immediately, and pairing the two was as simple as showing the Cam the QR code generated by the app.
Once I input my Wi-Fi password, the setup was done. The process took under a minute. The firmware update that followed took a few minutes, but not enough time for me to miss my pets.
The Petcube Cam records in 1080p and has a 110-degree field of vision that covers an entire room. In low light, an infrared sensor will start the automatic night vision mode. The Cam supports only 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, so the recording quality suffered from some buffering and choppiness at times.
The Petcube Cam records in 1080p and has a 110-degree field of vision that covers an entire room.
The picture quality was clear and detailed when my pets were just lying around. Since the Cam doesn't have the interactive features other Petcube products have, my pets were rarely doing anything in front of the camera that I would want to share anyway.
The Cam has two-way audio, which can be set to push-to-talk within the app. The speaker is a little underpowered, so my voice was tinny and lacked depth. The volume is adequate to cover an entire house.
Regardless of which room my dog was in, he came running every time I called him to the camera.
Regardless of which room my dog was in, he came running every time I called him to the camera. As an occasional pet sitter myself, I get some peace of mind knowing that pet parents can check in periodically, and I can answer any questions that aren't worth a phone call.
Petcube partnered with Fuzzy Pet Health to include live vet chat through the Petcube app. Using Fuzzy Pet Health costs $5 per month. Some people whose pets have frequent health problems that require monitoring might get some use out of this. That said, I don't personally recommend this for people with relatively young, healthy pets. Spending $60 per year is a lot for the option of chatting with a vet every time my cat eats something she finds on the floor, in my opinion.
However, chatting with a vet could be useful for checking symptoms, finding out if something is an emergency, or being guided through first aid. My vet can do all of those things, and they answer the phone for free.
Petcube Care membership is a different matter. Starting at $4 per month, this subscription is required for saving video history in Petcube's cloud storage. Subscribers can get alerts when the Cam detects people instead of pets, too.
Since the Cam doesn't fling treats or tease pets with a laser, it's unlikely to catch a video of my pets doing anything cute or funny enough to share. That’s why I would skip the subscription if the Cam were my only Petcube product. Otherwise, the clips and video history would be nice to have.
The Cam is a pared-down version of Petcube’s other products, which are usually at the higher end of the market. However, at $40 it is more expensive than other pet cams with comparable specs. That price makes the Cam a good addition to homes with other Petcube products. For shoppers who just want the security of being able to look in on their pets, cheaper options make more sense.
Between its small size and the option to mount it magnetically, the Petcube Cam fits just about anywhere and draws no more attention than a home security camera. Its performance is on par with other budget security cameras, too. People who already own other Petcube products and subscribe to Petcube Care will find the Cam to be a good supplement, but nothing about it screams “pet cam.” It was clearly designed to bridge the gap between affordable security and their pricey pet-focused devices.
As a dedicated pet cam, the Petcube Bites 2 is a lot more fun. Unlike the Play 2, which has a built-in laser to entice cats to play, the Bites 2 is well-suited to both cat and dog owners. The Bites 2 dispenses—or rather, flings—treats across the room to great effect: once pets learn that the chime means they’re likely to get a snack, they will never need to be called to the camera. The Bites 2 was designed with pets in mind.
The Petcube Cam bridges the gap between home security cameras and fun splurges for the pet-obsessed. It’s an affordable pet cam, though it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of higher-end models.
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