Smart Pet Feeder Product Description:
Design and Features
The Feed and Go feeder%displayPrice% at %seller% is big. It measures 4.0 by 15.7 by 19.6 inches (HWD) and has a glossy white finish with rounded corners and a curved lid. The 15.0-by-14.5-inch lid covers a round food tray containing six separate triangular compartments that can hold around 1 cup of dry dog or cat food (you can also use wet food). This is fine for most cats and for smaller dogs, but if you have a bigger breed or multiple pets, the feeder may not be a good fit unless you buy more than one.
The lid has a triangular cutout that exposes a single food compartment and can be popped open by pressing the two release buttons on either side. The food tray sits on a sprocket that is powered by an electric motor. There are three buttons on the lid; one advances the tray one compartment at a time, one can be used to manually turn scheduling on and off, and one is an audio button that is used to record a message for your pet; this button is also used to play back your recorded message. The idea is to use a familiar voice to summon your pet to the feeder. Each button has an LED status light for motor activity, audio recording, and scheduling (a light will glow when a schedule is loaded and enabled).
At the rear of the feeder, behind a fold up panel, is the power jack, an Ethernet port, a volume control for the embedded speakers, a Reset button, a Wireless Protected Setup (WPS) button, and LED indicators for Cloud and Network connectivity. The feeder’s 56-inch power cord provides decent reach, but it could be longer to avoid using an extension cord. Speaking of which, if you lose power the feeder will not work though it will resume its schedule when power is restored, even without network connectivity. The addition of a small battery backup would ensure that your pet won’t go hungry if the power goes out.
The built-in camera has a relatively low 320-by-240-pixel resolution, but considering you’re just using it to watch an animal eat, it’ll do. You can use the aforementioned Ethernet port to connect the feeder to your home network, or use the embedded 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter.
There are no mobile apps for the feeder; instead it uses a scalable Web portal that looked as good on my iPhone as it did on my PC monitor. The Dashboard view tells you if the device is online or offline and contains a blank monitor. Tapping the arrow tab on the bottom of the monitor opens a live video stream, or you can use the Turn On Webcam icon to do the same thing. The Schedule icon opens a page where you can set up to six one-time feeding schedules, or you can create up to 16 recurring schedules. At the bottom of this page is a panel that displays all of your current schedules with a Delete button for each one.
Next to the Schedule icon is a Feed Now icon that you can use to advance the tray for off-schedule feedings. When pressed, it opens a dialog box that asks if you would like to feed your pet now and gives you an option to choose yes or no. If you choose yes, another box opens to inform you that your pet has been fed and asks if you want to watch it on the webcam. Pressing yes again opens a live video stream. There’s also a Call My Pet Over icon that plays your recorded message when pressed.
At the top of the Dashboard page are tabs for Notifications, Account, and Sign Out. The Notifications tab gives you options to be notified by text message and/or email five minutes before your pet is scheduled to be fed. You can also choose to be notified after your pet has been fed. The Account tab opens a page where you can edit your email address and password, change your phone number, and adjust your time zone. Sign Out logs you out of the portal.
Installation and Performance
If you have a WPS-enabled router, installing the Feed and Go takes around two minutes. Just press and hold the WPS button on your router for a few seconds, then press the WPS button on the feeder and hold it down until the Network LED begins flashing quickly. After a minute, the Cloud and Network LEDs will glow a solid blue, which means you are good to go. Connecting the feeder to your network without using WPS is also easy. Start by pressing the Reset button until the Network LED begins flashing, and use your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to connect to the feeder’s SSID. Type http://192.168.4.1 in your browser’s address bar, select your home Wi-Fi, and enter your router password. The feeder will take a minute to connect to the router and reboot itself. When the Network and Cloud LEDs are solid blue, the feeder is ready to go.
Once you’re connected, you need to go to the Feed and Go site to create an account using the device serial number, your name, email address, phone number, and a password. You’ll be asked to fill in some pet information including your pet’s name, type (cat or dog), breed, and date of birth.
Other than a slightly noisy motor, the feeder performed flawlessly. It followed my cat’s twice daily feeding schedule without missing a beat, and reacted instantly whenever I used the Feed Now option. Video quality was more than adequate under normal lighting conditions, but it didn’t do well in low light. Email and text notifications were prompt, and contained a link to the portal so I could view a live video stream of my cats munching away.
It took my cats a day or two to get used to eating out of this feeder. At first they ran for cover whenever the motor was activated, but after a while they realized that the sound meant it was time to eat and they calmed down a bit (although they still kept their distance until the food was exposed). The recorded audio message is a cute idea, but had zero impact on my cats. I’ve never met a cat that will come when you call its name, so this didn’t surprise me. My dog, on the other hand, ran to the feeder every time I used the Call My Pet Over feature, hoping for some chow.
To clean the feeder, simply remove the tray and toss it in the dishwasher, or you can clean it out in the sink. The lid can be wiped down with a damp rag or paper towel.
With the Feed and Go Automatic Pet Feeder, you can take off for a couple of days and not have to worry if your cat or dog will have enough food while you’re gone. It offers scheduled and one-time feedings, and its webcam lets you check in on your pet during feeding time. The feeding tray is easy to remove and clean, and it holds enough food for around six days, depending on the size and type of your pet. It doesn’t require a tablet like the iCPooch, though a battery backup and a quieter motor would be welcome improvements, and its $299 price is steep. But if you travel often or work long hours, it’s certainly cheaper than boarding your pet, and easier than having to rely on friends and family to come over and put food down once or twice a day.
Keep your pooch happy and fed while you’re away by using the smart pet feeder. It easily connects to your home’s network and comes with a built-in webcam that allows you to effortlessly check up on your pup at anytime. source: pcmag
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