Something a little different today for a Sunday post, but one that marries two great loves of mine; pets and technology! Meet the latest gadget that I've been having some fun with - the Petcube Play.
When I gave my blog a makeover after the New Year, I decided to write up a list of potential categories that I'd be interested in reviewing to give a bit more variation to We Were Raised By Wolves. Beauty will always be its main content, but I wanted to include some more lifestyle bits every now and again to mix it up a bit.
One of these new categories was 'Pets' and I've had a bunch of emails from a range of pet related companies during the last two months. Sadly, none of them really appealed to me as I'm not into dressing up dogs in costumes or using expensive shampoos on them, but one email did get my attention when Petcube got in touch.
I'd heard about Petcube from some US bloggers that I follow, but I didn't realise it was available for sale in the UK until they contacted me. A week or so later, a Petcube Play arrived on my doorstep and I was so excited to try it out!What is Petcube Play?
Petcube Play is basically a remote Wi-Fi pet camera that has a built-in laser, speaker and a microphone. It's shaped like a compact cube as you can see above and it comes in three different colours; Matte Silver, Carbon Black and Rose Gold. The main idea behind it is that it allows you to check up on your pets when you're not at home via an app on your mobile phone. The camera streams 1080p HD video with a 138-degree wide angle and you can use the 3x digital zoom for a closer look. It has night vision too, and you can receive noise and motion alerts/notifications if your pets make a significant amount of noise etc. The Petcube Play can also record video, up to 30 days (uploading to cloud storage) if you upgrade to the Petcube Care package, but all of the other features are free to use.
Petcube Play gives you the option to interact with your pets as well through the two-way speaker audio, or you can play with them with the human and pet-safe laser. The latter is really more for cat owners as cats seem to go crazy for lasers, whilst dogs don't seem to be that fussed!
Nevertheless, I think it's a really cool concept overall and it gives you that piece of mind that your pets are OK when you're not around. I've also heard of people using cameras like this as a general in-house security camera too, and I can certainly see myself switching it on to do this when I'm on holiday or having a weekend away, and the dogs are in kennels.
Setup & Installation
The Petcube Play was incredibly quick and easy to set up, and I had it ready to go in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is find a stable location where you want to put the Petcube Play (ideally on a flat surface and pointing in the direction where your pets tend to hang out when you're not in the house), and plug it in using the power adapter provided. Make sure that your home Wi-Fi is on, and then download the Petcube app to your mobile phone (compatible with iOS 8 and Android 4.0 & newer).
The app has an easy to follow guide to help you connect it to your home Wi-Fi and there are corresponding coloured lights on the Petcube Play to show you what's happening at every stage. You can fill in a profile for your pet on the app, and there are different settings for things like privacy as you have the option to make your camera public. If choose to set it to public, Petcube owners from around the world can see what your pets are up to (and you can of course see their furry friends if they've set their Petcubes to public too which is fun!).
Once set up through the app is complete, you're good to go!Overall thoughts?
As the Petcube Play uses your home's Wi-Fi, the quality of the video streaming will depend on how good your internet connection is. Mine's pretty good most of the time since switching from Sky to Virgin Media last year, and I was really impressed by the HD quality. The night vision was also great, though a little spooky as it looks like something from Paranormal Activity when you're viewing it! There was some slight buffering when the dogs were moving about, but that's something that I expected, and you could still get a clear image anyway. If you use the speaker function to talk to your dogs, there are a few seconds of delay, however, when the sound does come through, it's relatively clear and audible.
What I liked the most about the Petcube Play was the wide angle as it covers a lot of ground, especially if you place the Petcube in the corner of your room. It's a fun way to keep an eye on your pets, and I'm sure cat owners will also love the in-built laser which you can play with through the app!
Would you use a Petcube Play in your home?