The Wickedbone interactive smart pet toy will enthrall both you and your dog and take interactivity to the next level.
Brilliant for gadget lovers
An expensive toy
Not good for tough chewers
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The Wickedbone Smartbone dogs toy appears to have arrived from the future. Looking rather splendid thanks to its sleek, clean design resembling a hi-tech bone, it'll not only going down a treat with your dog once it's up and running, it'll also keep any gadget lover curious too: maybe, just maybe, we humans could have some fun with this as well!
It certainly attracted our attention when we were putting the best dogs toys to the test. Download the accompanying app and you can control how it moves, even getting the athletic toy to jump and flip. You can also make use of the interactive mode and allow the toy to figure what your dog is doing before responding automatically.
As such, it's a great toy for anyone who has a dog that becomes easily bored because there's no real way for your furpal to work out what the toy is likely to do next. Made from safe and durable materials, it also operates outdoors as well as indoors and it'll withstand a reasonable level of chewing. There's also a one-year warranty for added peace of mind.
Wickedbone Smartbone: Features
This smart dog toy isn't the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination but the manufacturer can justify the cost. Intelligently-designed and billed as the world's first interactive dog bone, it works with both iOS and Android smartphones, providing an app that its split across two modes – drive and interactive – to give you all the control you need.
Connecting the app to the device is as simple as tapping the smartphone. In Drive mode, you can then select one of nine motion icons, performing actions such as roll forward, turn around, shake, quick spin and front flip, as well as using the virtual joystick to manoeuvre. The Interactive mode, meanwhile, lets you sit back and allow the toy to do its own thing. You can, however, determine the length of a play session: anything from five to 20 minutes.
In both cases, you can keep an eye on the battery life. You get about 40 minutes in Drive mode and four hours in Interactive, with full USB charging of the built-in battery taking around an hour. The bone itself moves at a maximum speed of 11.5 feet per second or 3.5 metres per second so it's rather speedy. You can also control it from as far as 65.6 feet or 20 meters away: an impressive enough range.
Even so, it's not 100 percent perfect. Although the FDA food-grade polycarbonate coating the device protects a dog's claws and teeth, the device isn't ideal for heavy chewers. The tires on either end of the bone can be rinsed under the tap and cleaned but the actual body is not waterproof. This also means that, while it can be used outdoors, you should be wary around puddles, rivers and in the rain. Those, however, are relatively small niggles.
Wickedbone Smartbone: User reviews
Having a toy that you can control using a smartphone is a head-turner. It has also won over some users. One reviewer wrote: “I was really skeptical from the description because there is a lot of design and technology that needs to come together to make something ambitious like this. But it is all here.” Another was surprised that their dog took to it well. “I'd recommend this for anyone that wants to stay engaged with their dog as its loads of fun for both of us,” the user commented.
Yet one said you need to be careful when using it because the device can move fast. To help, there are three app settings that let you adjust the speed, swerve and acceleration but the reviewer was still worried that spins and jumps could accidentally hit your dog: “I tried reducing the speed and settings but its still hard movements,” the user wrote.
Thankfully, few people had problems getting to grips with the app. “It is definitely beginner level,” a user said, although some expressed concern about the required permissions. Looking at the App Store for iOS, it would appear the company has yet to provide details about its privacy practices and handling of information.
The main problem, however, seems to be the material. Some don't like the hard plastic, one yearned for a furry cover and another said “the display glass is cracked from him biting down on it.” Most people suggest that dogs do enjoy the Wickedbone though. “My dog is absolutely in love with the toy,” said one. “I really love this thing,” said another. The key decision is whether you want to stump up so much money.
Should you buy the Wickedbone Smartbone?
If your dog is generally happy with any toy and appears to play happily for hours, then you may not find a need for a smart toy. But if your dog is easily bored and you're finding the toy box is overflowing with discarded purchases, then the Wickedbone is more likely to pique their interest.
The ability to interact can help with bonding and the number of moves on offer gives you a decent amount of control. Again, however, it all comes down to cost. But get dogs used to the Wishbone Smartbone and it's likely they will get a lot of use out of it, potentially making it great value for money.
David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.