Pet Cameras (2016)

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We all wonder how our pets pass the time when we’re not around. Whether you just took the plunge and got a new pet, want to interact with your beloved cat or dog while you are at work, or simply curious as to what your pet does when left alone, a pet camera could be a viable purchase for you.

There are so many options out there, making it hard to choose just one. But fear not, pet owners: to save you time and to make your choice easier, I’ve reviewed five different pet cameras, each one with its own price listing, rating, and description. For each rating, I’ve broken it down into five criteria: Bang For Your Buck, Video Quality, Sound Quality, Ease of Use, and Features — all of the elements that make a great camera!

Best Pet Cameras of 2016

Petcube Interactive Wi-Fi Pet Camera (BEST EASE OF USE)

Petcube-Interactive-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera

Average Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.2

Bang For Your Buck: 4

Video Quality: 4

Sound Quality: 4

Ease of Use: 5

Features: 4

Description & Design

The Petcube is an interactive Wi-Fi pet camera with a wide angle lens, allowing users to view live video in HD. This product boasts a sleek design. There is a front-facing black screen equipped with a wide angle camera lens on the top and a LED status indicator on the bottom. On the back of the camera, the start button, microphone, and micro USB port can be found.

Highlights/Features

Petcube-Interactive-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera2True to its name, the Petcube is about as interactive as it gets. With a quick download of the Petcube Mobile App, you can link your iPhone or Android up to the camera. There is a built-in laser toy, which allows you to play with your pet from afar. This is undoubtedly a pretty useful feature if you’re at work for most of the day. If your pet is craving some playtime or doesn’t get to spend a lot of time outside while you’re gone, he or she might really enjoy this feature (and you probably will, too).

While on the topic of interaction, the Petcube’s two-way audio allows you to speak to your pet. It goes both ways, so you can hear your pet bark or meow in response. The Petcube also doubles as a social networking tool, allowing you to capture photos and videos to share with friends and followers via social media.

Some of these features, particularly the built-in laser toy, sets this product apart from other pet cameras on the market. If you’re looking for a product that makes it possible for you to do more than just watch your pet, this could be a good option for you. If you’re looking for a simpler product with fewer extra features, I suggest you take a look at the remaining four reviews.

  • App — First Impressions: The app is available for both iOS and Android, and it is free of charge! After downloading and launching the app, I was greeted with live footage of a cat playing with a laser toy. The app gives you two options: you can link the app to your Facebook account, or you can create an email account (for the purpose of this review, I linked it to my Facebook account, which was quick and painless).

Once I created my account, there were five icons at the bottom of my screen: the Home button, which allows you to see your Recently Played videos and Favorites, a Play button, which allows you to view others’ public Petcube footage, a Feed button, which allows you to post photos and find friends to follow, an Explore button, which allows you to view others’ pet photos, and a Profile button, which allows you to connect your camera to the app and check out your followers.

We were definitely impressed with the app’s user interface. It is aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. When coupled with the fact that it is free of charge, it is well worth the download.

I’ve compiled a list of the Petcube’s top pros and cons. Check it out:

PROS

  • HD video quality
  • Owners can participate in their pet’s play and exercise with the built-in laser toy (a cat in particular would most likely enjoy this feature)
  • Ease of accessibility (links up to your smartphone)
  • Sharing modes allow various members of the family to access it, which adds to the       convenience of the product
  • Sleek design

CONS

  • The product does not allow you to take videos while playing or interacting with your pet — only photos
  • Unlike some other products, this product does not dispense treats
  • There is no night vision, so you can only play with your pet(s) during the day
  • Some customers have experienced issues with Internet connection

 

Petzi Treat Cam: Wi-Fi Pet Camera & Treat Dispenser

Petzi-Treat-Cam-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera-Treat-Dispenser

Average Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.1

Bang For Your Buck: 4

Video Quality: 4

Sound Quality: 4

Ease of Use: 4

Features: 4.5

Description & Design

Co-founders David Clark & Simon Milner refer to the Petzi Treat Cam as “a ray of sunshine in your pocket.” An interactive pet camera that boasts a 720p HD wide angle lens and high quality audio, this product has a lot to offer. With a glossy white finish, front-facing black camera, and colorful logo, its design is at once simple and bold. The product also comes with a six-foot AC power adapter and universal mounting kit. Petzi goes the extra mile and even includes some sample dog treats!

Highlights/Features

Petzi-Treat-Cam-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera-Treat-Dispenser2With a quick download of the Petzi app, users can link the camera to their smartphone or tablet. The product has four main functions: See, Speak, Snap, and Treat. The “See” option allows you to view your pet via live video, while the “Speak” function allows you to speak to your pet via microphone. With the “Snap” function, you can take adorable photos of your pet playing or sleeping, and like the Petcube, you can share them via social media.

The “Treat,” of course, refers to Petzi’s ability to supply your pet with treats with just the push of a button. By far, this product’s most unique feature is its treat dispenser. Not only will your pet enjoy the camera’s presence, but as an owner, you will enjoy the ability to feed your pet from afar.

  • App — First Impressions: The Petzi app, much like the Petzi logo, is colorful, fun, and eye-catching. Immediately after downloading the app (which is free of charge and available on iOS and Android), I was instructed to create an account. Unlike the Petcube, the Petzi app does not give you the quick, convenient option of linking your Facebook account to the app. Instead, it asks you to create a username and password and then promptly asks you to create a pet profile in order to document your pet’s name, size, and species.

After I provided my (completely fake) pet’s information, I was brought to the Home page, which you can see in the picture to the right.

Though you can’t see it in the screenshot I provided, there is an “Others” category for exotic pets such as guinea pigs and actual pigs. This product, unlike the other ones I’ve seen, is not just for dog and cat owners!

As you can see in the second screenshot, the sidebar menu contains a number of options, including one that allows you to shop for treats — which is super convenient. It truly is a one stop shop.

The app is relatively easy to navigate. Unlike the Petcube app, it feels a bit cluttered at times — especially when going from the Home page to the sidebar — but overall, it is well-designed.

I’ve compiled a list of Petzi’s top pros and cons. Check it out:

PROS

  • Night vision allows you to get more use out of the product
  • Treat dispenser allows you to feed/reward your pet while you’re away
  • Product is simple and user-friendly
  • Easy to mount/attach to various places in your home
  • Many Amazon reviewers praise Petzi’s support team, which they say is extremely helpful and caring

CONS

  • Other than the treat dispenser, there is not much that sets it apart from other, less expensive pet cameras
  • Seems somewhat dog-oriented — may not be ideal for cat owners
  • Audio is only one-way — no two-way audio like some other pet cameras
  • Some Amazon reviewers mention delays in video
  • Certain types of treats can jam the treat dispenser

 

Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Security Camera (BEST VIDEO QUALITY)

Dropcam-Pro-Wi-Fi-Wireless-Video-Monitoring-Security-Camera

Average Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.2

Bang For Your Buck: 4

Video Quality: 5

Sound Quality: 4

Ease of Use: 4

Features: 4

Description & Design

The Dropcam is a wireless video monitoring security camera, and judging by the nearly 2,500 reviews on Amazon, it is extremely popular. With its sleek, black, rounded off design and 60-second setup, this camera has been given a solid 4 stars by customers (and a 5-star rating from me for its superior video quality, impressive audio quality, and abundance of desirable features!)

Highlights/Features

Dropcam-Pro-Wi-Fi-Wireless-Video-Monitoring-Security-Camera2If you are willing to spend a bit more on a camera, the Dropcam will give you a bang for your buck. With an 8x zoom, 130-degree field of view, and excellent night vision, this product doubles as a pet camera and a security camera. Not only can you monitor your pet with the Dropcam, but with the night vision feature, you will be able to monitor your home at all hours of the day and night. Since some of the other pet cameras lack the night vision feature, you may want to take this into consideration if you want to get as much out of your camera as possible. The aforementioned 130-degree field of view also sets it apart, which is a feature that few other pet cameras have.

  • With motion detection abilities and two-way talk, this camera seems to pick up the slack where other pet cameras lack. If you decided against the previous two cameras based on your desire to have those features, the Dropcam may be a viable option for you — as long as you are willing to spend a bit more to get exactly what you are looking for.
  • You can connect your computer, mobile, or iOS device to the Dropcam, and the Amazon page mentions a 60-second setup. By connecting the camera to your device (which connects via Bluetooth Low Energy), you can reduce your power consumption.
  • One of this camera’s most notable features is its Cloud Video Recording (CVR). According to the Dropcam’s Amazon page, this feature records up to 30 days of footage for you to review after it’s already happened. You can also save and share clips from the footage, among other features. Pretty cool, if you ask me!
  • App — First Impressions: With a quick download from the App Store, I was able to download the Dropcam app — and, like all of the other pet camera apps so far, it was completely free of charge. As soon as you open the app, it asks you to either log in or link a Dropcam device to the app, so unfortunately, I was unable to go any further. Feel free to download it and take a look!

I’ve compiled a list of Dropcam’s top pros and cons. Check it out:

PROS

  • Cloud Video Recording allows you to review 30 days of previous footage
  • 130-degree field of view will allow you to see more of the room
  • Links to your mobile devices and your computer — most of the other cameras are just mobile
  • New optics have made the video quality 2x sharper
  • Night vision is a huge plus if you were looking to use your camera during the day and at night

CONS

  • This product is on the pricier side, so if you’re on a budget, it may not be the right pet camera for you
  • Not the latest model — you may want to consider The Nest Cam if you are looking for the most updated version (complete with upgrades!)
  • According to some Amazon reviewers, there can be streaming delays
  • In terms of storage, the footage can only be saved on the cloud — not on your device
  • The monthly recording service cost ranges from $100-$300/year, which may be a dealbreaker for some

 

Pawbo Wi-Fi Pet Camera

Pawbo-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera

Average Rating (out of 5 stars): 4

Bang For Your Buck: 4

Video Quality: 4

Sound Quality: 4

Ease of Use: 4

Features: 4

Description & Design

Pawbo is an interactive, wireless pet camera and treat dispenser. Don’t be deceived by the pictures — while it may look a little on the larger side, in person, it is actually quite small. The body of the camera has a glossy white finish and is made of plastic, while the front-facing camera and surrounding area is black. There are two LED lights located near the camera that light up red when the product is in use. On the back of the camera, there is a power cord, a reset button, and a WPS button, which just about sums up the controls on the camera itself. Everything else can be found in the Pawbo app.

Highlights/Features

Pawbo-Wi-Fi-Pet-Camera2Just like the Petzi Treat Cam, this product has a treat dispenser. With just the touch of a button, you can dispense treats to your dog or cat. The Pawbo also has a built-in laser toy, which allows you to play with your pet from afar. For those who work five days a week, this is a great way to ensure your pet is getting play time and exercise while you’re out of the house. What sets this camera apart from Petzi is that there are multiple sound effects, which adds to the fun.

  • In terms of video quality, Pawbo has 720p live streaming. It also has video recording capability, which downloads footage directly into dropbox cloud storage. If you’re looking for a camera that goes the extra mile and actually records instead of just streams, this may be a good option for you.
  • If you are looking to share your pet’s cuteness with the world, you can instantly share videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via the Pawbo app (which is available on iOS 6 and above and Android 4 and above).
  • Unlike some of the other cameras, this one has two-way communication! This means you can speak to your pet and hear a bark/meow/purr in response.
  • App — First Impressions: I downloaded the Pawbo app in the App Store (completely free of charge!) Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera on hand, so I couldn’t complete the installation. When I first opened the app, it asked me: “Is this a new Pawbo installation or reset? Tap ‘No’ to connect to an existing Pawbo!” I clicked ‘Yes’ and was instructed to plug in my Pawbo. Once I clicked ‘Next,’ I was asked to input my WiFi password (and the network name was on display in order to ensure it was correct). Though I wasn’t able to go any further, all in all, the installation process seems pretty simple.

I’ve compiled a list of Pawbo’s top pros and cons. Check it out:

PROS

  • Set-up seems fast, convenient, and simple
  • Treat dispenser and laser toy allow you to care for and play with your pet from afar
  • Social sharing directly from app saves you a few steps
  • Two-way streaming allows you to connect with your family members as well as your pet
  • The sound effects set it apart from the other cameras

CONS

  • There is no night vision, so it may not be the camera for you if you’re looking to use it at night
  • The treat tray is small, so you can’t dispense very many treats to your pet at a time
  • Though the video quality is 720HD, some Amazon reviewers complain about its quality
  • There aren’t many sound effect options to choose from
  • Some Amazon reviewers mention that the sound is a bit echo-y

 

PetChatz HD Greet & Treat (BEST OVERALL PRODUCT)

PetChatz-HD-Greet-Treat-Videophone

Average Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.9

Bang For Your Buck: 5

Video Quality: 5

Sound Quality: 5

Ease of Use: 4.5

Features: 5

Description & Design

The PetChatz HD Greet & Treat is a videophone that is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. com describes its product as “more than a treat cam. More than a treat dispenser. PetChatz is the only patented system that gives full multi-sensory interaction with your pet while away.” The face of the camera looks a bit like a mini tablet, while the rest of the camera has a nice, smooth finish. Just from looks alone, this product does not disappoint!

Highlights/Features

PetChatz-HD-Greet-Treat-Videophone2PetChatz has two-way HD video, which is something that other pet cameras are lacking. While some may boast HD live streaming or superior two-way sound quality, you can’t beat video chatting with your furry friend. This has the best of both worlds: two-way HD video and

  • PetChatz also has… drumroll… a treat dispenser! The product is built to hold a cartridge of PetChatz treats. Not only can you video chat with your pet, but you can dispense treats to him or her with the touch of a button.
  • Interestingly enough, this product comes with calming scents to soothe your pet. In addition to 10 scent pads, PetChatz includes a bottle of Calming Essential Oils. The idea of using aromatherapy on pets is not something I’ve ever heard of before. While your pet may not respond to it, it’s a pretty cool feature nonetheless!
  • PetChatz does have a web and mobile app, but unfortunately, the mobile app is only available for iOS — sorry, Android users. That being said, you can still access the web app from your laptop or desktop.
  • This product has sound and motion detection, which some of the other pet cameras are lacking. If those are two features you value in a pet camera, the PetChatz may be a good choice for you.
  • App — First Impressions: Since I have an iPhone, I was able to download the PetChatz app through the App Store without any trouble at all — and, like all four of the previous apps, it was free of charge. Immediately, the app asks for the name of your device and a 4-digit sync code:

If you press “Skip,” the app instructs you to enter in an access code. While I was unable to get past that step, I liked the app’s color scheme and user interface. If you decide to take the plunge and order the PetChatz, go ahead and check it out for yourself!

I’ve compiled a list of Pawbo’s top pros and cons. Check it out:

PROS

  • Two-way HD video and audio allows you to see and hear your pet
  • The device is compatible with PetChatz Paw Call, so your pet can call you
  • This product has both sound and motion detection
  • The product does not come with any visible cords and mounts on the wall, so it cannot be damaged by pets

CONS

  • No mention of social sharing directly from the app
  • The mobile app is only available on iOS
  • Some Amazon reviewers complain about the length of the camera’s power cord, which is 8 inches