Home monitoring video cameras have been out for some time now and while these do a fairly good job at surveillance, that’s usually all they do. They help you keep tabs on your home while you’re away but what if you have pets? While many of these cams can also help you keep a watchful eye on your pets as well, they’re limited in what they can do and that’s why companies like Petcube exist. Petcube makes the highly innovative Petcube Play 2 camera that let’s you stay connected to your pet and allows you to see, talk to, and even exercise your pet remotely to ease separation anxiety.
For starters, the Petcube Play 2 at first doesn’t really look too different from other video cameras you might have seen. It’s shaped like a cube with a healthy mix of aluminum and plastic. The cube also seems a bit large too when compared to other cameras, but there’s a reason for this. You see, what makes the Petcube Play 2 different is the inclusion of an interactive laser toy built into the cube, as well as built-in two-way audio consisting of 4-microphones and a speaker bar. Finishing off the spec list is a wide-angle, 1080p HD camera with a 160-degree view, night vision, and 4x digital zoom.
The bottom of the Petcube Play 2 has a tripod mount on it so you can either lay it flat on a table or mount it to a tripod for more mounting options. On the back you’ll find a USB-C port that is needed to power the Petcube Play 2.
Overall, it’s a very handsome design that would look great on a table or on a book shelf without looking out of place.
Setup is very simple with the Petcube Play 2. You’ll need to download the Petcube app for iOS or Android and create a user login. Next, you’ll need to add the Petcube Play 2 to your account and once that’s set up, you’re pretty much good to go. Just find a spot for the Playcube Play 2, preferably at a level 3ft or higher and in an area that is fairly open.
You will need to plug the Petcube Play 2 into an outlet as this is not a camera with a rechargeable battery. Most likely this is due to the fact that it has a laser and a speaker bar which would probably consume too much power. Because the camera is tethered to an outlet however does limit where you can place it. It has to be close to an outlet unless you use a really long USB-C cable. I also suggest using a small tripod, this way you can adjust the angle of the Petcube Play 2 a bit more instead of just having it sit flat on a table.
Once you go that settled, do back into the Petcube app and just enable or disable a few options. I have it currently set where it will automatically turn on the mic on the Petcube Play 2 and it plays a chime when I log into it. This way it grabs the attention of my pet or I know if someone else is logging into the camera when I’m not. You can also automatically turn on audio from your phone and the laser, but I have both off unless I manually turn them on.
In the app, you can also choose to subscribe to Petcube Care which adds several premium features. You get automatic video recording when a sound or motion is detected and up to 3 months worth of video history stored in the cloud. You also get smart alerts, activity tracking, and smart filters. You can subscribe, starting at $41.99 for the year, or about $5.99/month. There’s also a super premium service for $14.99/month or $119.88/year. Regardless, the Petcube Play 2 is fully functional without the premium account and will still allow for recording video and photos, you just have to do it manually.
The Petcube Play 2 is a really interesting interactive camera. While there have been other cameras I’ve looked at before that had a 2-way talk feature, this is the first time I’ve ever experienced one that had a laser you could control. Basically on your screen, you can tap or drag where you want the laser to be and that’s where it goes. It couldn’t be any simpler than that. This allows you to interact in real-time with your pet when you’re not around.
You can also set a schedule for the laser to come on, on its own so that your pet will have some interaction with it even when you can’t. In this case, you can set the laser to move on its own.
While the Petcube Play 2 is really unique and innovative, the video quality is just so-so. The video is in 1080p, but the colors are a bit muddy on it and washed out. You’re still able to see everything pretty clearly though so it’s not that big a deal. There’s also night vision on the Petcube Play 2 which works surprisingly well.
Also, as I stated earlier, you can manually capture video if you don’t subscribe to Petcube Care. Just hit the button while you’re viewing the camera and it’ll start recording. Photos can be taken the same way. Both get saved to your gallery on your phone.
I should mention that the Petcube Play 2 has Alexa built-in. Not only can you control it via Alexa, but the Petcube Play 2 can also double as an Alexa smart speaker. You of course can choose to enable this or not.
Despite some minor shortcomings, the Petcube Play 2 is very good and one that I think pet owners should really take a serious look at.
The Petcube Play 2 is something I never thought I actually needed until I heard about it and had a chance to actually mess around with it. I mean we have cameras already that help keep your home safe, but not really anything that keeps your pet safe or under surveillance. Petcube Play 2 is not only way to keep tabs on your pets, but also an interactive tool to keep them entertained while you’re not around. It’s almost like a high-tech baby sitter, one that you’re in control of and one that won’t go eat all your food in your fridge.
So is the Petcube Play 2 worth it? I certainly think so. It’s well made, the video and photo quality is decent, and the laser control is very precise, making for a very fun toy to keep your pets occupied. Should you shell out money for the subscription? If you want extra security, I think so. The added automated features and notifications make it invaluable and having it record video on its own when something occurs is a great feature.
Having Alexa built-in is also a convenient feature, especially for those who are on the Alexa ecosystem. If you’re not, the Petcube Play 2 is totally worth it to keep tabs on your pets.
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