O.K., so now we’re technically stepping out of the world of strictly ”pet cams” and into the world of baby monitors and security devices. Of course, these devices can also be used most of the time to check on and entertain your pets. The obvious positive that comes with reviewing and using these devices is that they have multiple uses. If you have a baby or even just a younger toddler that you want to check in on via video, this might be able to help you out. Then when out of town (hopefully you have your baby or toddler with you, or at least at a babysitter’s!) you can us the camera to check in on your pets.
The price of the iFamCare is very reasonable; on Amazon it only runs around $100. Speaking of the name, it seems to be called the ”helmet” because of the way the camera looks…the unt resembles something a Formula One or NASCAR driver would put on his head before a race. We say this only to discourage people from mounting this on their heads, or the heads of their pets. We assure you this is not the intended use of the device. It has 2-way sound, so you can hear your pets, and the design of the camera allows it to have a lot of free-range motion.
This iFamCare has one thing going for it in a major way; the camera is of very good quality. It claims 1080p, and depending on your wireless internet and the gear you’re using to route your signal, it seems as if their statement rings true. Another thing is that the night-vision feature, unlike those on other cameras, actually seems to work fairly well.
So this is the classic example of a machine that has a great hardware feature set, but as a networked device it leaves many more questions than answers. On paper the machine looks very good. The camera claims 1080p video, and with the examples posted online by users the footage and stills both look very clear. Unlike pretty much every other machine we’ve reviewed, this one has a night-vison feature that actually seems to work. The price of the iFamCare Helmet is a very reasonable $100. Who and what is iFamCare anyway?
Brand and Model History
iFamCare is part of a larger company called iBabyLabs, and they like many of these companies are headquartered in San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. They claim to be the first manufacturer of a cloud-based baby monitor in 2011.They also make a full range of products, and sell their products in brick-and-mortar stores like Nordstrom, Toys-R-Us, and Target. iFamCare products, of course, are also sold online.
Applications for both iPhone and Android are nowhere near seamless, and seem to have a lot of negative issues from testers online. Out of the 26 total ratings of the iFamCare app on the Google Play store…9 are one star ratings, and 8 are 2 star ratings. Not a good sign. A lot of people are reporting that the app crashes multiple times a day. Depending on your phone, it may not even load. Even if it does, users report that the app slows down your phone a lot and send a lot of error messages.
No pet treat or feeding feature. This can be forgiven; the price on this unit isn’t high, and it doesn’t even seem to be engineered for pets in mind. But it’s worth noting here for the sake of continuity.
Not as easy to connect to social media as other cameras. Again, many online reviews really tear into this unit for its inability to connect and work with mobile devices. This also extends to connections with social media platforms.
Can’t record video. Taking pictures doesn’t always work. Yes, the beat goes on. Video recording seems to not be an option with at least most users. This isn’t important for some, but those especially interested in security features should take note here.
High quality camera resolution. Honestly, the camera on this unit might be equal or better to any camera in our guide. As a company that makes a full line of baby monitoring and entertainment products, iFamCare focuses fairly on hardware. Here, they get the job done.
Night vision function actually works. Good to know if your room doesn’t have a lot of light, or if you tend to check in in the evenings. You may need to adjust the settings, but out of all the units we’ve researched and/or tested, this iFamCare seems to do the best with night vision.
Has ”laser tag” game for pets. This actually ties in with the night vision function. Because of the quality camera resolution and night vision functions, it’s possible to use the laser game with your pets in the dark. As one might imagine, the laser game works much better in the dark. A few online reviewers note that their pets ignored the laser points during the day, but loved the game at night. This is one of those times where all the features kind of come together in one package.
Quality hardware design with tilting/panning features. This is such a basic sentence, but it speaks about the intrinsic design about the object. The ”helmet” design allows for a full range of motion.
Fair price of $100. If you have no connectivity issues or problems with the app, this is a superb value price. As stated earlier in the guide, many of the top-ranked cameras hover around $170 or $200.
This is a well-spec’d camera with a great hardware design and a very competitive price. It looks good in a room and has wonderful resolution. People seem to rave about the night vision feature, which makes this unit sort of unique in that way. However, as noted above in the ‘Cons’ section, the connectivity and application seems to need a lot of work for a lot of people. If you want to take a chance on this iFamCare unit, make sure to purchase it from a retailer that has a liberal return policy. Basically, if you can get it to work on your phone, this camera could be pretty cool. One quick word about all the negative reviews; a lot of times, when things work perfectly, people don’t take the time to write in a review online about a product.
Since we don’t know the sales numbers for the iFamCare unit, we don’t know if the people who’ve complained about the product online are a majority of users. There’s a chance that they are just a small minority of people for whom the app didn’t work, so they complained and wrote bad reviews. A lot of this stuff comes down to how tech-savvy you are about Internet connectivity, router setup, and even what brand of phone you use. Don’t take our reporting of others’ grievances as a 100% assured fact that the camera won’t work for you. If you *do* get this machine to connect and work well, the high quality hardware specs would make this unit a bargain, and one of the best in our guide.Melissa