Petcube (US$199.00) is a webcam with a difference. It is aimed at pet owners who want to keep track of their pets, communicate with them, and even play with them when you are away. Who doesn't wonder how their dog, cat or bird is doing when you are away? Petcube is designed to solve that problem.
Specifications: The camera is in a 4x4x4 aluminum housing. It has a 138 degree field of view and streams 720P video. The Petcube requires an iOS app which is free. Connection is through WiFi and Petcube plugs into AC with a 110/240 power adapter. The camera weights 1.3 pounds, and has a standard mounting bracket for attachment to a tripod. It has a built-in 5 mW 3R class laser w/certification -- more about that below.
Design: Aluminum case, smoked black front for camera and laser
Functionality: Setting up the Petcam is easier than most WiFi cameras I've dealt with. Download the free app and follow instructions, which involves pressing a button on the back of the camera, finding the camera by name on your WiFi network, and letting the camera pair with your home network. From then on, the camera is available to you, and anyone else you designate. If you want to make your camera public (not a good idea in my view) you can share it with the world. Happily, you can limit the time the camera is online for people. You can also create a list of family and friends who can check out the view. To share, they must be signed up (free account) and have the iOS or Android app.
One of the unique features of this camera is a two-way speaker/microphone. You can listen to your pet and chat back. The other feature is the camera features a built-in laser pointer, something that cats in particular seem to enjoy. By tapping your finger on the iPhone screen, you can move the laser beam anywhere in the camera field of view. While the laser is an interesting feature and certified as safe, avoid pointing it into the eyes of your pets.
I liked the Petcube. It was easy to set up, worked reliably, and offered some features pet owners will surely like. I used it to keep an eye on my parrot, but he was really aggravated with the laser. One thing to remember: the camera doesn't move or rotate, so your pet has to be where the camera is pointing. Given the features, and the very decor friendly design, I think the Petcube is worth serious consideration. It sold out of its first shipment, and more should be available direct or from online merchants like Amazon soon. One competitor is the Motorola PetScout66, for $99.99, but it requires a subscription setup. It has a two-way microphone/speaker, but no laser. It's also in short supply. Pet cams must be a hot item this holiday season.