Convenience of use
The Smart Pet Feeder is impressive. It culminates in fact at nearly 40 cm high and exceeds 30 cm deep. A small extension of the dining area is therefore to be expected. The device is however sober and well finished and it is very easy to install and start.
The dispenser comes in two parts: the tank and the bowl. The first appears as a large box with a lid. A button on the back unlocks the latter to remove it. Turning it over, we notice a small seal on the lathe, but above all a large location in the center, which is provided for the addition of a cartridge responsible for absorbing the humidity inside the tank. Xiaomi provides one, but it will need to be replaced regularly. The croquettes should therefore be stored in good conditions.
At the bottom of the tank, small silicone “dispensing blades” reminiscent of the blades found in multifunction food processors push the kibble into a conduit emerging from the front. The bowl therefore comes below this outlet and a magnet keeps it in place, if the animal has a slightly too fierce appetite.
To operate, the system must be connected to power. The cable (supplied) measures 1.50 m and is inserted into the back of the tank. A button on the top of the lid takes care of distributing a portion of food manually, but the whole point obviously lies in the possibility of programming the Smart Pet Feeder to do it automatically. We will come back to the options available in the section devoted to the app, because it alone allows access to them. To avoid losing the programming following a power failure, Xiaomi has thought of equipping its distributor with a battery.
Throughout our test, we encountered no problems with our kibbles with a diameter of 7 mm. Xiaomi recommends round croquettes from 5 to 12 mm in diameter to prevent them from getting stuck in the distribution duct. In the event of a breakdown, a warning light also lights up at the front of the tank. Three indicators are provided in total to also indicate a connection problem or an insufficient level of kibble – the Smart Pet Feeder has sensors inside.
The application can also alert the user, but we would have liked to find a small window to check the level of kibble without having to open the tank and thus be able to anticipate more, like the Smart Pet Fountain. We could also have expected Xiaomi to have an on-board camera to verify that the animal is taking its ration, but the manufacturer did not go that far.
Like the Smart Pet Fountain, Xiaomi’s food dispenser can be associated with the Mi Home app using wifi. Pairing is done quickly by following the instructions given, even if the automatic detection did not work. We bet that an update will correct the problem fairly quickly.
Once the Smart Pet Feeder has been added to the application, various information is requested to establish the profile of the animal brought to feed there: cat or dog, breed, weight, date of birth, sterilized or not… It is in It is also possible to indicate the analytical constituents of the croquettes to be distributed. From this information, the app generates a suitable program. For our little 3.5 kg “all wet” Tartiflette, there will be two portions of 40 g each, at 6 a.m. and then 3 p.m. The program seems suitable and the bowl is not completely emptied each time, but almost.
Of course, these programs are only suggestions. The user can take control at any time to modify the number of servings to be distributed each day, but also the quantity of croquettes and the time for each meal. It is also possible to request immediate distribution, again with a quantity of your choice. The user receives a confirmation after each distribution and Mi Home keeps track of the portions distributed during the day. Let’s add that the Smart Pet Feeder was very precise in its distribution.
As mentioned earlier, Xiaomi’s application also allows you to receive notifications when the stock of kibble is almost exhausted and to deactivate the dispenser button to prevent it from becoming the new playground for the children of the house. It can also assist the user in maintenance tasks.
A counter indicates when the last desiccant cartridge was installed and, above all, when to replace it, while a small illustrated guide is offered for cleaning. A fairly complete application in short, but which still suffers from small localization problems, particularly in the choice of races. The translations are indeed often risky and we note the absence of the European cat.