Instachew 2 Smart Pet Feeder; Great Feeder with a flawed app
"Automatic feedings so that your pet is fed according to the schedules set. The Instant Feed function allows you to feed your pet immediately from anywhere in the world."
-- Manufacturer's Description --
Let me start by saying that the Instachew 2 Smart Pet Feeder is a brilliant device for automated feedings, but it has some shortcomings that you need to take into account to decide if it’s right for you. Firstly, the app needs massive improvement and secondly, there could be a lot more guidance. Even though I’ve used it A LOT I have a ton of questions that weren’t answered by the manual, website or literally anywhere. I’ve done my best to find those answers and I’m relatively tech-savvy and a very experienced tester/reviewer. If Instachew could fix those issues this would be the best automatic feeder I’ve ever seen, but for now it’s simply ‘good’.
The best thing the Instachew 2 Automatic Feeder does is...well, automatically feed. You can set it up portions of 10 grams up to 100 grams. Now here’s the kicker, while I did like the feeder, I’ll have to speak about those limitations now. Ten gram adjustments sounded great to me, until I calculated my three cats food exactly and it wasn’t a ten gram ratio. So my option was to round it down by 8 grams or up by 2 grams, essentially choosing between over or underfeeding them their ideal. I think it’s worth it for the ease of feeding, but it did annoy me a little.
Of far more concern is the fact that it can only be set for 4 feed times per day. Given the price point of the Instachew 2, I don’t see any reason not to allow 6 feedings minimum. This is especially a concern for cats as vets often recommend small feeds of 4-6 meals per day. I have an Obese (Yes, he chonky) cat who is currently on a diet and he forces himself to throw up if he doesn’t get food. When feeding six times a day this is reduced and more comfortable for him. So I was really annoyed to find you can only feed up to four times a day.
It’s an incredibly effective feeder because once it’s setup, it does it’s thing. It also holds a really good amount of food (for cats) and dispenses it easily and without issues.
However, a lot of the features aren’t explained. Like the SD card addition. If I put an SD Card in, what does that do? Does it mean that it will take videos and pics everytime a cat eats. With the app you get a photo at each feeding time, but no videos. What does the SD card change? It’s frustrating that there’s little to no guidance for that.
I also believe you can’t set it up without using an app/smartphone, which makes me concerned about support over time.
Since I’m no longer the ‘feeder’ they don’t annoy me for food and because of the camera, I can make sure each cat is eating. It’s also important not to downplay how useful the smart features would be for someone who is away a lot. You can communicate, view and check in on your pets. Of course, I have no idea how secure this is or if someone else could view through the device, which is always a concern in this day and age.
The quality of the packaging and device is very high. Right out of the box, everything looks professional and well-packaged. The Instachew 2 itself is a simple yet effective pet feeder that has great quality. There’s nothing shoddy or cheap looking. I love how the bowl attaches via a simple ‘press and push’ mechanism. It doesn’t click in or become impossible to remove. It’s easy to attach and detach for cleaning.
The body of the Instachew 2 Smart Pet Feeder is simple, clean and well-made. A really well-thought out part is the lid for the food section. You have to press a relatively small button to open that top section, so clever cats won’t be able to knock it over or open to get at the food inside. It’s a smarter design than I’ve seen on other pet feeders.
Unfortunately the app and manual quality are so far below the quality of the rest of the feeder, it’s almost tragic. The manual is clearly explained, but lacking in a lot of detail, it only really explains how to connect the feeder to the app (something that’s relatively self-explanatory if you follow the app directions). If they could be brought up to the level of the device, quality would be top-notch. Keep reading to hear about the issues with the app itself.
Note: I use the Android app.
Considering how helpful the Instachew 2 is and how professional the device and packaging looks, the shoddiness of the app is upsetting. The QR codes in the manual lead to an older app which doesn’t exist and by searching I was able to find the updated app. It’s...pretty bad. One of the biggest issues is explanation, as detailed above. There’s a motion sensitivity setting that is never explained. Can you set it to feed when it detects motion, not as far as I can tell. What does the motion sensitivity do? I have no idea. I was left with so many questions.
The app is not super user friendly either. A lot of controls require holding down with your finger, but since there’s no help of explanation on the app, you’re on your own. The basics are relatively easy to do, but the app is also a little buggy. For no reason I can find, it stopped using my audio sample when feeding. I had it set to call Dinnertime twice a day (at reasonable hours) and it did it once and never again. Rechoosing it didn’t seem to work and I was forced to record a new audio sample.
I also had no idea it was saving pics of the feeding times until I found the randomly named ‘Event Management’. I still don’t know what prompts the snapshots found inside that section (I think feeding though). You can’t multi-delete, but must do it individually and when I tried to delete individually it didn’t work.
It also only allows programming for one pet in the profile section, but many households are multi-pet.
The app needs a ton of finessing and fixing and it makes me want to shake the Instachew makers and ask WHAT ARE YOU DOING. The Instachew is awesome and it deserves an awesome app, please pay some app developers.
At $199.99 (at time of review) the Instachew 2 Smart Automatic Pet Feeder is at the upper end for a pet feeder. Considering the sleek design and how it will make feeding so much easier, there’s a lot of value there.
However, it must be said that the restrictions and pitiful app reduce the value a ton. I’d recommend it, but not if you’re on a tight budget. If they fix the issues detailed above, it would easily be worth the cost.
The Instachew 2 Smart Pet Feeder is a brilliant high-end automatic feeder, but due to a poorly designed app and lack of communication about features it doesn’t take the title of Ultimate Pet Feeder. There’s more room for improvement than I’d like to see, especially considering it’s the second iteration of the Instachew.
+ Works well.
+ Makes Feeding super easy and fully automated while still maintaining the ability to manually feed.
+ Quality design and parts.
+ Professional looking packaging and product.
+ Ability to add audio cue to each feeding.
+ Ability to take snapshots and videos, as well as listen and talk to your pet.
+ Instachew takes snapshots at feeding time (I think).
+ Holds a good amount of food (for cats).
+ Bowl is easy to remove and clean.
+ Secure, difficult for pets to break into.
+ Measures food from 10G - 100G.
- App is not user friendly.
- Many features not explained (motion sensitivity, snapshots).
- Audio Cue and other app features are buggy.
- Feels unfinished in terms of app and manual.
- Limited to four feed times per day.
Recommended: Yes, unless you are on a tight budget. It’s good, but not perfect.
You can buy Instachew 2 Smart Pet Feeder at Amazon.ca for CDN$199.99 (at time of review)
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I received this for free through the Amazon Vine program, which I will always be upfront about. I'm allowed to review it however I want and won't shy away from negative reviews.