VAVA Mobile Pet Cam REVIEW
I’ve always grown up with a dog around. I remember when I was five years old and my parents brought home our first family dog, Wicket. He was an awesome dog and he never needed amusement. A few later, Terri came along. She was a rambunctious little Westhighland Terrier and she loved to play. We used to play this game with here where we would sit on the floor and have her chase a toy around us as we moved it around our bodies. She would follow it blindly and she loved it. Even though dogs sometimes have a way of entertaining themselves, others have severe separation anxiety thinking their owners will never return once they leave your site. When I was younger, we didn’t have a good solution for this problem because home cameras were not even dreamt of yet. While I’ve had my fair share of internet-based security camera and I’ve even tried out cameras that were made for pet monitoring, I’ve never seen a mobile camera like the VAVA Mobile Pet Cam.
The VAVA Mobile Pet Cam was designed to help alleviate separation anxiety and pet boredom when you’re away. The pet cam is made with industrial grade materials for toughness. It’s considered ‘paw proof’ and features 360º mobility with wheels on treads for all surfaces. Users will receive real-time smart bark alerts and can communicate directly with their pets using the built-in 2-way audio. The pet cam has a long battery life (7 days on standby) and can be recharged using the included power adapter. The camera has a 120º wide-angle lens with a 1080P camera with infrared night vision. The VAVA Pet Cam can act as a treat distributor and even has treat jam prevention. The pet cam has a companion app and with it, you can capture snapshots and videos (up to 1GB of free Cloud storage).
I really love the idea of this little robotic camera. A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to test out the Furbo Dog Camera, which has a similar purpose but is a stationary camera. So when I learned about the VAVA Mobile Pet Cam, I thought, “What an interesting idea for keeping up with the pets while I am away.” Of course, my first thought was about chasing pets with the camera, but the truth is it would be sort of a low-speed chase. Getting connected to the VAVA ended up being a bit of challenge. I discovered that it will only connect through 2.4 GHz WiFi signals. If you have a mesh wireless set-up from a system like Orbi, then it shouldn’t be a problem. At the time I was trying to set-up the VAVA cam, I was running a 5 GHz network exclusively and I ran into a lot of connection issues. As soon as I turned on the 2.4 GHz network, it connected quite easily.
I received a prototype version of VAVA (a unit from its pilot production phase) as it’s currently in the middle of an Indiegogo campaign. I did find there were a few design bobbles around the outside of the case of the robot. I would suspect that the final production phase will be a bit more polished. I also cannot really comment on the packaging of the device because my unit did not include anything with it other than the power adapter and the pet teaser attachments. No instruction booklet was included at all. Even though this is a prototype model of the device, I would still expect that some instructions would be included.
Set-up of the VAVA camera is pretty simple. Once you download the free app (iOS or Android) and connect to the camera, you have the option to control the robot functionality through the main menu. There is a small on-screen d-pad control that allows you to drive the device around your home. Once I got connected to the robot, I didn’t have any problems with it at all. My phone and the VAVA cam stay connected and it actually had a pretty good range. It’s not a speed demon by any means, but it didn’t have any problem traveling across thick carpet. I love that the product designers included an LED laser light to tease your pets with and a treat launcher. I did have a small problem with the treat launcher function. The VAVA wasn’t 100% accurate when it came to releasing the treats. On more than one occasion, a treat would get stuck and would not launch as it should. I believe if you were using small, rounded treats, the VAVA wouldn’t have a problem with releasing the treats. I do think that should be included in some sort of instruction booklet.
I’m a big fan of home security. I have invested a lot of time and money into smart cameras to make sure that our home is covered in the event that we are not home. Even though the focus of this particular smart camera is on keeping an eye on your beloved pets, I also see this as a creative way to keep an eye on your home. Let’s say that you hear a noise late at night. From your bed, you could connect to the VAVA and use it to investigate an area of your home that may not already be covered by video security. I do love the functionality of this mobile device and how it can really enhance your pet’s life and make it easier for them when you are away.
Originally published at macsources.com on December 3, 2018.