Petcube Bites 2 Review
A fun way to interact with your pets when you're out and about, the Petcube Bites 2 lets you see what they're up to, talk to them and ping them a treat or two. It works well, although be careful how far you ping a treat and watch out for pets in front of the dispenser. You only get quite basic features out of the box, though, and cloud storage options are expensive to add. With the relatively high purchase price, too, the Petcube Bites 2 isn't going to be for everyone.
- Works for cats and dogs
- Nice way to interact with a pet remotely
- Fast connection to camera
- Kept defaulting to 720p
- Quite expensive
- Cloud plans are very expensive
- Review Price: £N/A
- Indoor pet camera
- 269 x 144 x 76mm
- 1080p resolution
- 160-degrees field of view
- Cloud recording
- Night vision
- Mains powered
- Amazon Alexa support
Any security camera can let you keep tabs on your pets when you’re away, but the Petcube Bites 2 lets you reward your cat or dog with a tasty treat, fired from the built-in dispenser. It’s a fun way to keep your pets fed while you monitor them, but you need to pay for the cloud service to unlock all of the features and the high price may put off others.
Petcube Bites 2 – What you need to know
- Installation – Simple to get connected to Wi-Fi and your home network using the Petcub app.
- Detection performance – Very basic motion detection with no activity zones, although paying for a subscription ups detection to include bark and meow audio detection, and animal video detection.
- Image quality – Quite basic and a little soft around the edges, my camera kept defaulting to 720p resolution rather than the full 1080p.
Related: Best indoor security camera
Design and installation – Tall and boxy but the wall mounting option is neat
Tall and boxy (269 x 144 x 76mm) , the Petcube Bites 2 looks more like an external hard drive or security hub than a camera. There’s a good reason for this, as the top of the unit is a pet treat dispenser, designed to be filled with your cat or dog’s favourite snacks (up to 680g). You get three different adaptors in the box – designed for different treat sizes – to control how many treats are flung each time. Just make sure what you buy will pass through these adaptors.
Once filled with treats you can put the camera on the floor or use the keyhole brackets on the wall to permanently mount it. Given that this will have food in it, wall mounting makes a certain amount of sense, as it will prevent an eager pet from knocking it over and emptying it of food.
The camera is powered by USB-C and there’s a 2m cable in the box, which gives you a fair amount of flexibility in positioning.
Petcube Bites 2 Features
Out of the box, the Petcube Bites 2 gives you basic pet watching via the app. As soon as you tap your camera, it joins the video feed and plays a warning sound on the camera. From here, you can choose to record video provided that you leave your phone open, but that’s the limit of the camera’s recording options.
If you want to have more options, then you need to upgrade to the Optimal subscription, which gives you three-days of video history, 10 video downloads per month, smart alerts (the camera can reliably tell the difference between people and pets in videos, and distinguish barks and meows in audio) and some pet care perks that mostly apply to the US. This costs $5.99 a month or $47.88 if you pay yearly.
Upgrade to the Premium subscription ($14.99 a month or $99 a year) and you get all the same things but covers all of your Petcube cameras and extends video history to 90 days with unlimited downloads. That’s a fairly hefty amount to spend, and if you’re after security then you’re better off going with a different security camera provider. Besides, if you go with a traditional security camera provider you get additional features, such as activity zones to focus on where you want the camera to watch.
Security isn’t what this camera is about, though, as it’s about monitoring your pets and giving them treats. From the app, you can choose to manually fling a treat. You touch and slide the treat icon to the point on the screen where you want the treat to go: the further away, the harder the treats are flung: think of this as a kind of pet version of throwing a Poké Ball in Pokemon Go. You can also schedule automatic treat dispensing if you want your cats or dogs to have a regular feed.
There’s built-in chat available with a veterinarian, with the first chat free. However, as the service is based in the US, you can only access this later in the afternoon, so once you’ve had your first free consultation, you’re better off with a local service.
Treats come out at quite some pace, particularly if you go for the furthest throw distance, so just be careful not to fling anything too hard if you have a pet in front of your dispenser. It’s quite variable how many treats are dispensed: using larger dog treats, one or two would come out; switching to smaller cat treats and it was usually four or five.
What’s important is that my cats loved treats being flung out of nowhere, with the sound of Bites 2 motor getting one, in particular, to come running when he heard it.
Of course, you can talk to your pets using two-way communication. The speaker on the Bites 2 is loud and clear enough for your pet to hear you; whether they respond really depends on the animal in question.
New to the Bites 2 is built-in Amazon Alexa support, turning the camera into a smart speaker. The microphones are very sensitive and worked well, but sound quality back is rather basic and good enough for voice replies (weather reports and the like). As a third-party device, you don’t get all of the features as with a proper Echo speaker: there’s no voice calling and you can’t group the Bites 2 into a room for easier smart home control.
Petcube Bites 2 Video quality
There’s a 1080p sensor in the camera, with a 160-degree lens on the front to give you full capture of practically any room. However, the camera will choose which resolution to send video at and mine kept defaulting to 720p despite having a fast internet connection available.
Video quality is alright, but a bit soft around the edges during the day and even more basic at night. In other words, you can see what your pet is up to but don’t expect this to replace a dedicated security camera if you want to protect your home.
Should you buy the Petcube Bites 2?
There’s something quite fun and comforting about being able to dish out treats to your pets when you’re not around, and the Petcube Bites 2 makes this easy and simple to do. It’s also a handy way to keep an eye on your pets when you’re away, although you only get the most out of the camera if you upgrade to one of the expensive subscriptions.
The biggest issue for this system is that you can currently only buy the camera in the US, and the additional features, such as vet support, are all US-based, too. Given that, the Furbo Dog Camera is a better choice for UK residents, while anyone looking for a camera for security will be better off with a dedicated model for this.