Have you ever sat in your office and wondered what your pets get up to while you’re not home?
Do you imagine it’s something more like “The Secret Life of Pets” movies? Do they raid your beer fridge or pantry? or are they boring and just sleep?
Well, I certainly always wondered, and now I know for sure thanks to a nifty little device called a pet camera.
Now I can keep watch of my pesky pets from the comfort and quietness of my office, and annoy them with a little red dot zooming around the floor.
Let’s take a closer look at my review of the Petcube Play 2 Wifi Pet Camera.
Table of Contents
Petcube Play 2 Smart Pet Camera Specs
- Tap controlled laser pointer!
- Day time quality is decent
- Infrared night mode
- Quick to boot up and connect
- Easy to set up
- Sturdy device and a strong build
- Two way communication
- Laser control can be a bit finicky if your connection is slow
- Evening or low light quality is a bit soft
- Paid subscription for the more advanced features
Camera: 1080p HD, 160° ultra wide-angle view, 4x digital zoom, automatic night vision
Laser: 3R class laser (class 2 in EU)
Same that is used in laser pointers and computer mice. Therefore it is safe for human and animal eyes.
Setup and connectivity: iOS 11.1 and higher or Android 7.1.2 and higher (supporting 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi)
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
– 2M USB cable
– Petcube power adapter
– Quick start guide
Build & Appearance
The Petcube Play 2 set is simple – it’s a single mono-block device with a power cable. No fuss, no flimsy bits, and nothing that can be snapped off.
It won’t tip, it won’t tumble, and it should definitely withstand the impact of a fast paced cat running face first into it.
I found that it was actually a larger device than I was expecting, but a benefit of the shape and size is that you can place it on any flat (or even slightly angled) surface without worrying it’ll get knocked over.
It’s neither top nor bottom heavy, unlike some typical in-home security and spy cameras.
Tucked away amongst the rubberised non-slip base are two sizes of tripod mounts in case you need a little more lift or you wish to mount it somewhere.
I got a little Joby Gorillapod which allows me to angle the camera how I wish, or keep it down low for those fun moments with a curious cat or dog.
It’s quite a stylish device that feels quite purposeful in its design, and it is sleek and modern enough to sit by your TV or stereo without looking out of place.
Software and App
To set up the device, you first need to download the free app from your app store. It is available on devices with Apple iOS 11.1 and higher or Android 7.1.2, which I assume would be most devices these days.
Set up is fairly quick and you do need to go through a short registration process. They do ask for your pet details to create a profile on them, which would be utilised if you use their Online Vet service or premium subscription features (more on that later).
The app is fairly straightforward and is free to use for anyone who downloads it and has a camera to connect to.
You can access multiple Petcube cameras through the app within the one account, and you can also share access to individual cameras with friends and family if you so choose (at no additional cost to either party).
This might go without saying, but you will need to be connected to the internet on both your device and the Petcube in order to access it.
Within the live view mode, it’s an unobtrusive interface and the tools available are easily located on the screen. You can control the laser by tapping and sliding your finger along the screen.
- Speaker Button:
- This activates the microphone on the Petcube so you can listen to your pets gossiping about your hygiene habits.
- Microphone Button:
- This activates the speaker within the Petcube allowing you to command your dog (or teenager) to get up off the couch.
- Laser Button:
- This is the purpose you chose the Play 2 over the normal camera!
- Instant manual snapshot of your screen.
- Manually record evidence to show your partner later so you don’t get blamed for the mess.
I’ll dive into more details about the actual features and modes of the Petcube Play 2 in another section below.
Image Quality and Low Light Performance
Depending on how bright the indoors of your home is, the camera is pretty clear and sharp! My home, however, can feel a little dull in the evening, and therefore I’ve noticed the image quality can be a little soft at times.
The camera does feature autofocus capabilities, so should readjust based on subjects’ movements, but it isn’t always purrfect.
It is also a static device as well, so be sure to place it well before venturing out and connecting to it! Unlike other in-home surveillance cameras, there’s no rotating or turning it if something is out of view.
Night mode performance seems quite decent for an indoor camera, it definitely comes in handy when you hear some kind of bang during the night.
You can see if you have a stray horse trotting through your living room, or if it’s just the cats having the night-zoomies chasing cockroaches.
I also forgot to disable the laser Autoplay one night, and yeah, it’s not great having the cat go wild around the living room at 3 in the morning… but at least she was happy and entertained.
Included and Useful Features
The Petcube Play 2 comes with a camera (duh), live-view through the app, two-way talk, and a laser pointer for play.
The built-in laser pointer is a safe 5mW 3R laser that is certified to be safe for humans and pets. It has both a manual mode and an Autoplay mode.
Using the manual mode is as simple as slowly sliding your finger across your screen, however, I found it to be a little difficult to use at first due to the half-second latency between my device and the Petcube camera. Once you figure it out it can be quite fun!
The Autoplay feature (which is enabled in the camera settings) activates when the camera detects significant movements and will dart the laser around at random to entertain the small fuzzy gods within your home.
Depending on the interest and temperament of your individual animal or child, manual mode may be awesome or a little too slow for them.
As an example in my home, one cat doesn’t care for lasers, but the other does, and the dog just chases the cat chasing the laser.
If you’re at home, you can always just pick up the camera itself and play with the laser that way. Our grey cat loves a good laser pointer – she climbs walls chasing it!
The Petcube Play 2 also features two-way talk – you can either listen in to your pets having a good old chin wag without them hearing you, or you can talk to them without listening to their back-talking – or have a proper two-way conversation with them!
Petcube offers an additional premium subscription which provides you with new and advanced features on top of the already free inclusions.
It’s a great device to use with just the free features, but if you’re one who likes a bit more, read below to see what you can get with a small additional monthly or annual cost (the list is taken directly from their site):
- Smart Alerts:
- Only get alerts that matter. Know when your dog barks, cat meows, or when a pet or human is in the room.
- Smart Video Filters:
- View the most important clips first. Select what videos to show in the timeline and hide the rest.
- Automatic Video Recording:
- Triggered by sound and motion, action is recorded as 30-second clips to the interactive timeline.
- Video History:
- Always know what happened with 24/7 video history. Replay up to 90 days of activity stored securely in the cloud.
- Web interface for convenience:
- Browse video history, set smart filters, and download video clips directly from a browser on a desktop or laptop.
- Video Downloads:
- Save the recorded HD videos to your smartphone to share with friends and family.
- Get discounts from other companies and providers of pet-related items.
Petcube currently has 4 different camera products on offer (including the Play 2 in this article), and fortunately, they’re all quite different so it’s not particularly difficult to choose between them.
All have the same software features, just there are differences in hardware features.
If you’re after something just for home surveillance of your hairy little terrors, you can pick the Petcube Cam which is very budget-friendly and has all the same software features of the Play 2.
The difference comes from only having a single microphone instead of the 4 microphone array of the Play 2, the camera has a tighter viewing angle, and it is also missing the laser pointer. But it has a clever magnetic mounting system allowing you to place the camera almost anywhere, including upside down (ie: roof or under a bench)!
Petcube Bites 2 Lite:
Do you have a pet that is more food-orientated? Well, the Petcube Bites 2 Lite is next up the range. It has the same wide-angle lens as the Play 2 (and Bites 2) and a small food dispenser built into it instead of a laser.
So you can tap a button to release a little nibble for your pets if you think they’re feeling peckish. Tap it rapidly if you forgot to feed them when you left for the office. Poor things, you cruel human.
Petcube Bites 2:
Next up is a fancier model of the new best buddy for your food-orientated furry friends. Just like the Play 2, this model features 5GHz Wi-Fi compatibility, built-in Amazon Alexa, a tougher and more stylish aluminium combination build, and the fancy 4 microphone array.
But you’ll find that it’s the chunkier sibling because it shoots food instead of a laser. More fun? Less fun? I don’t know. I might get one as well. Get the cat to burn up energy chasing a laser, then feed them to recover.
Value for Money
The Petcube Play 2 is definitely a fun little device to have, and at least one of our 3 pets seems to really enjoy chasing the laser around. Jasper, the Aussie Shepherd has now also discovered the laser which is fun as well.
(However with his larger size, he does tend to run into things which is less ideal, but at least he’s having fun!)
It’s built well, solid, and with a nice grippy base so it doesn’t slide around. It connects quick, and again, the laser is fun to use while bored at the office!
But if you’re feeling a little more money-conscious, and you just want something to check on your creatures while you’re away, then perhaps look into the Petcube Cam or Bites 2 Lite for a starting point.
Petcube Play 2 Smart Pet Camera Review | Conclusion
I thought about getting a Petcube over a year ago when we adopted our dog, and now I feel like I should have got myself one way back then.
But today is never too late, and it is definitely quite fun using the Petcube. Maybe I’ll give my parents access so they can check on their hairy grandson every now and then, or have a play with the cats with the laser pointer.
If you have any further questions, or you’d like to see some more example footage, be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can sort out for you!