Rocki only works when you control it through the app (available at ios and Android). There is no standalone mode, so if you stop directing it, it stops moving. Sometimes it’s okay, like when I want to play with my cats without getting up from the sofa. But one of the main selling points of these types of robotic toys is that you can watch your pets when you are at work. If you’re working, you can’t be glued to an app (or I can’t be, at least). For $ 250, I’d like to see an auto-tuning available. (The Ebo can work automatically.)
Most cats are probably more interested in the sprawling laser on Rocki’s head than the device itself, but dogs may like to chase him, especially if he is handing out treats. You can bend the tentacle to face the front, back, either side, or even up. You can also move it left to right by sliding your finger across the app screen, although the actual movement is a bit choppy.
The company says the laser can eventually be replaced with other toys, but at the time of publication none are available. It would be nice to let your cats play with feathers or bells every now and then, as lasers should be limited – your cat might love to chase that little red dot, but it can increase the risk of accidental eye damage, and never catching it can be frustrating. Just be sure to play with them for real, with a toy they can sink their claws into.
The Rocki app might take a bit of work. It’s slow and buggy. While my ISP takes some of the blame, it is not entirely Optimum’s fault.
First of all, you need to connect it to the internet every time you open the app. It’s annoying even when you have a great internet connection, but my service provider also I’m having trouble logging out and restarting. Can’t say I’m surprised this started to affect app-controlled products, but it was still frustrating and left Huxley hopefully staring at the Rocki, waiting for his friend to boot.
After trying different networks, the connection process was easier. But even then, the app may be slow to load, it disconnects frequently, and has trouble connecting to the bot. I found myself quitting and reopening the app, or deleting and re-downloading it a few times. Rocki Robot is new and the company’s only product, but the price is just too high to justify this type of customer experience, especially when you to have to control it through the app. I expect updates will eventually roll out.
And inviting Wi-Fi enabled cameras into your home is a big concern. As many of us find security cameras useful, even the most reputable companies having been hacked or have security flaws. Unlike the Ebo, you can at least turn off the Rocki, but if you’re still worried you can either keep it out of the bedroom or throw a blanket over the camera when you’re not using it.
As an anxious pet parent, a mobile robot like this comes in handy. I can lead him around the sofa or under the bed to find a cat who is usually sleeping peacefully just out of sight. But do animals really need something that costs that much?
As I mentioned in our Ebo review, cats need more play time and affection than you might think. Yes, you can go away for a weekend, and they’ll probably be okay if they have food and water, but they miss us when we’re gone, and they’re bored. Bored cats could destroy your home, overeat, fight with other pets, or groom in a bald area. If you can afford a $ 250 toy, your pet could really benefit from a robot like this. Huxley loves it and often waits for it to move even if I start the Ebo, so it’s clear he has a preference.
But it still takes a lot of work. And given that it’s so new, there’s not a ton of stock just yet – at the time of this writing, it’s only available for pre-order (although it’s reduced to $ 199). . I can’t recommend it quite yet. If you are also an anxious pet parent, I still recommend getting a pet camera. For now, at least.