Tried and Tested – Petcams

It was simply a matter of time before the technology used to provide low-cost security cameras for your home was adapted to use with your pets. Want to know what your cat or dog gets up to when you’re not there? Then just set up the camera, link it to the app and take a peek at them from wherever you happen to be. The range isn’t huge and the prices vary greatly so we see whether they’re worth the investment.

Best Interactive Product 

Petzi Treat Cam, £149 (Amazon)

They say

A fun and easy way to connect with your pet anywhere, at any time.

What’s in the box?

A large plastic box that houses the camera plus set-up instructions, a mains plug, instructions, stickers and wall-mounting kit. 3/5

Is it easy to set up?

There seemed to be a quirk with this box in that it was initially very difficult to link it to Wi-Fi, but once it did, the set-up was quick and easy, using the instructions provided. The app is colourful and very easy to use. 3/5

What can you see?

The Petzi has a nice wide angle. It can play a noise to announce to your pet that you’re being connected, and you can talk to them via the app. The unit can house a trough that can be filled with treats; it can fire them out when you instruct it to. It was quite noisy and initially scared the tester’s dogs, but they soon got used to it and looked forward to getting treats. 4/5

Conclusion

Our tester felt that there were some good options on this but she doesn’t feel the need to keep a constant eye on her dogs. The app lets you share pics and there is a busy social network via the app, with owners ‘awwwwing’ each other’s pets. If you hate being apart from your pets, it’s probably well worth investing. 5/5

Candis rating = 15/20

Best App 

Cam2Pet app, free or around £3.75 for three months for the extra functions (Google Play or the App Store)

They say

The first real dog monitor and pet camera app.

What’s in the box?

This isn’t a physical product, it’s simply an app that connects on two devices via Wi-Fi. It’s basic-looking but works well and a few days on the Gold subscription is offered when you sign up. 4/5

Is it easy to set up?

You have to install the app on a laptop or desktop and a tablet or smartphone. It was very easy to activate. If you download the app on to a desktop there is a $4.99 charge (around £3.75). 5/5

What can you see?

The connection went in and out a few times, with some buffering, but you could see what was going on. There are some paid-for subscription options that offer more features – the free version is a 20-second-at-a-time stream, while the paid-for ones let you talk to your pet, zoom in and take photos and videos and have night vision. 3/5

 

Conclusion

The most basic option is free and this is a good starting point, before you think about buying anything more expensive. Capabilities of the basic option are limited but were all our tester required. The device shows just one room or area so if your pets leave the room you won’t be able to see them. 5/5

Candis rating = 17/20

Best for social media fans 


Pawbo Interactive Pet Camera, £149 (pawbo.com)

They say

A pet camera for fun. Enjoy the perks of being a pet owner, any time, anywhere.

What’s in the box?

The camera, plug and instructions. The camera felt sturdy and looked modern; it was quite large and awkward to unpack, but not unsightly. 3.5/5

Is it easy to set up?

It’s very easy to set up and link to an app on your phone. The app was easy to find and download; it looked good and allowed up to eight users to access the camera. Instructions on using the app were basic but it wasn’t too difficult to work out. 4/5

What can you see?

Our tester accessed the camera remotely, though had issues when she tried to connect via Wi-Fi so had to switch to data. She could see what her kittens were up to, talk to them, dispense treats, take photos and videos of them, play bird noises and play a laser game with them. The image was clear, though it didn’t pan, so the view was restricted. Photos and video footage could be saved to your phone, shared directly to social media or uploaded to share with other pet owners on the app. 4/5

Conclusion

Our tester loved the product and found it did exactly what it promised. Panning and zoom features would be good as the camera had to be positioned on the floor and did get knocked over a couple of times by the kittens. Also on dark evenings it’s less easy to see – unless you can remotely turn on your lights too! 4/5

Total = 15.5/20

 

Best for technophobes 


Petcube Play Interactive, £149 (Amazon)

They say

Petcube makes interactive HD pet camera products that enable pet parents to see, talk to and interact with their pets through their smartphones.

 

What’s in the box?

Instructions, camera cube, USB lead and plug. The packaging and overall appearance was of a good, well-designed product and the actual camera cube is small and compact, and looks very sleek. 5/5

Is it easy to set up?

Foolproof! You simply plug in the camera cube, download the app to your smartphone and then follow the on-screen instructions to connect it to your smartphone. Roughly seven minutes from start to finish. The app looks good and is easy to use. 5/5

What can you see?

The camera is very sharp and the sound a little echoey but it was put in a large kitchen. Our tester set the app to start recording whenever there was a noise or a movement in view of the camera. You can talk to your pet, and the camera is easy to access whenever you want a live update. There is a laser too, so you can play remotely with your pet. 5/5

Conclusion

Our tester loved the simplicity of this camera; he found it sleek, yet robust, with very high-quality images and features, and considered it a good investment. Our tester felt it would be a great gadget for anyone worried about leaving their pets or who just want to know what they get up to on their own. 5/5

Candis rating = 20/20

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