As much as we wish we could keep our dogs with us 24/7, everyday life has a habit of getting in the way. Most dog owners are forced to leave their best friend behind for many hours each day while they’re at work, school, or out running errands. It’s easy for both dog and owner to feel some major separation anxiety.
While you might not be able to explain to your pup why you need to leave every day, there is an easy way for you to keep tabs on things while you’re gone.
The Fi collar is a smart dog collar that tracks your dog’s location and activity 24 hours a day, with technology that allows you to get live updates right from your smartphone. You’ll never miss a moment in your dog’s life, no matter how far away you are.
In this Fi collar review we will discover how the Fi smart collar works, how the Fi app works and if it is any better than other pet trackers on the market. Enjoy!
Why do I need a GPS dog collar?
GPS dog collars help you track your dog’s whereabouts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 10 million pets are lost each year in the United States, and only 15 percent of those without ID tags or microchips ever make it home.
While microchips and ID tags give you a better chance of finding your pup again, they still rely on the goodwill of others to take action and contact you. These stats probably make you even more eager to put a tracking device on your dog, and understandably so.
With a GPS dog collar, you can take your dog’s location into your own hands. If your dog escapes the backyard or makes it off the leash, you can track exactly where he is in real time through the GPS locator. Your pup can be home in a matter of minutes, instead of days or even weeks of phone calls, flyers, and constant worrying.
GPS dog collars have been around for a few years now and are great when used as a location tracking tool, but they will only work if you charge them. The Fi collar has phenomenal battery life, so before you dread having to remember to charge it every night we thought we would mention it. More on battery life later on.
Fi Smart Collar Design
The Fi collar’s design includes several features that help monitor your dog’s location and well-being. Let’s take a look at what exactly you can expect from your Fi smart collar.
At first glance, the Fi collar looks just like any other dog collar. It features a buckle, size adjuster, and D-ring for attaching tags and a leash. The only standout feature is the GPS device.
One nice feature about the Fi Smart Collar is it has very sturdy hardware. The buckles are a serious alloy metal that will be sure to withstand years of wear. The nylon collar itself is also significantly strong.
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If you frequently let your dog out at night, the built-in LED light will help you keep him in sight. The light can be turned on and off via the smartphone app with the simple click of a button. You can even choose between seven different light colors.
In my testing, the light isn’t terribly bright and can be partially blocked by your dog’s fur. While it’s helpful at night, I wouldn’t say it’s a foolproof way to spot your dog at all times.
Built-in GPS tracking module
The Fi collar’s built-in GPS module is a small, black-and-silver box that lays flat against your dog’s neck. It’s barely noticeable and certainly won’t irritate your pup. The GPS device needs to be charged approximately every three months, and is done by simply plugging this part of the collar into the wall using the included charger.
This automatically tracks your dog and sends you their real-time GPS location for as long as it is charged and on your pup. If you are wondering how to view your dogs GPS location, the Fi smart dog collar sends all of the information to your Fi app that is available for download on smartphones.
To fit dogs of all shapes, the Fi collar comes in four different sizes. To determine which you’re your pup needs, all you need to do is measure the circumference of his neck. The size options and measurements are as follows:
- Small: 11.5” – 13.5”
- Medium: 13” – 16.5”
- Large: 16” – 22.5”
- X-Large: 22” – 34.5”
Fi makes its collar available in four different colors: gray, yellow, blue, and pink. While your pup might not notice the difference, we appreciate the opportunity to add our own sense of style.
Does your dog love swimming? Not a problem. The Fi collar is designed for pups with all types of activity levels. The collar holds an IP68 waterproof rating, the highest possible rating. It means the GPS module can be submerged in both fresh and salt water for long periods of time without being compromised.
Fi smartphone app
In order to track your dog using the Fi collar, you’ll need to download the Fi smartphone app. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play and has a long list of great features you’ll love.
Using the Fi App
According to the Fi official website, there are 34 steps to perform before your Fi app and collar are ready to use. Sounds complicated right? We have simplified these steps for you below:
- Enter your phone number.
- Create your dog’s profile (information such as their weight, age, gender and so on is required here, oh and of course, a gorgeous picture of your furry friend!)
- Next, you can invite other owners (this can be your partner, mom, dad,sister or anyone really that is just as eager as you to know where your pooch is at any given time.)
- Enter the details of your fur baby’s home base. This is going to be wherever your dog is the majority of the time, whether it is with your dog walker, friend or at home. Please note that the base has to have Wi-Fi.
- Connect to Wi-Fi.
- Enter your ‘safe-zone’ location. This is an area outside of your base location that your dog can roam freely without sending off an alert on your app.
- Set up a GPS/LTE-M account if you wish.
- Put the collar on your dog.
You see, it isn’t all that complicated after all!
How to Track Using the Fi App
You can track more than your dog’s location through the Fi app. General activity tracking performed through the app monitors their daily step count and assesses if they have met their daily goal or not.
The collar tracks walk routes, it does this by using the GPS feature on your dog’s collar along with your phone’s location at the time of the walk. It is important that you allow the Fi app to access your location in order to get an accurate walk route.
To view your dog’s activity, simply click on ‘feed’ on the Fi app. All of your furry friend’s information will be available there for you.
LTE-M network coverage
The Fi collar connects to the LTE-M network, which has 20-30% more coverage than regular 3G/LTE cell networks. However, the collar also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.
Create safe zones
For everyday use, you can create safe zones in areas such as your backyard. If your pup escapes the safe zone, the Fi app will automatically send you a notification.
This is one of the most useful features of the Fi collar in my opinion. The only downside is when you’re setting it up, you have to use a circle-shape to set the safe-zone. If you have a rectangular shaped property, this means you’ll have to overshoot your boundaries to cover all the safe area.
Lost dog mode
If your dog does escape while wearing the Fi collar, what happens? All you need to do is activate Lost Dog mode in the Fi app. This automatically turns the collar’s bright red LED light on and begins sending live GPS updates to your phone to help you track down your pup more quickly. Lost dog mode is easy to activate and turn off on the app and can be accessed as-and-when you need it.
If you use an activity monitor to track your own fitness level, you’ll love the Fi collar activity tracking feature. The app keeps track of your dog’s daily, weekly, and monthly steps, even allowing you to set step goals and compete against other pups in the area.
From family members to pet sitters, you can invite anyone you choose to access your dog’s Fi collar by downloading the Fi app to their own phone. Change permission levels between “owner” and “walker” and remove access at any time.
Fi Collar Battery Life and Charging
The Fi collar lasts an average of three months on a single charge when in everyday use mode. However, highly active dogs who go on frequent walks or trips outside the home may need their collar charged every three weeks to two months. When in Lost Dog Mode, the collar’s battery life is limited to just two days as it’s pinging updates frequently.
The Fi app will let you know when your pup’s collar is low on battery and needs to be charged. All you need to do is use the included charger to plug the collar into any wall outlet until it’s fully charged again.
Charging is very simple, you just pop the collar off and place it on the dock. The status light on the collar will let you know when charging is complete. The dock is the only way to change the collar, there are no other USB inputs on the device that you could use if you don’t have the dock with you.
Fi Collar Cost and Subscription
The Fi collar can be purchased from the Fi website for $149. You’ll also have to pay for a GPS plan if you wish to use the LTE-M network tracking feature.
The collar comes with a free 30-day trial of the GPS service. After this, you can choose to pay $99 for one year, $186 for two years, or $248 for three years.
Pros of Using the Fi Dog Collar:
- Gives you the ability to track your dog 24/7
- Monitors how active your dog is
- Long battery life
Cons of Using the Fi Dog Collar
- GPS requires an annual subscription
- App feels dated
Buying Guide: What to Consider
Whenever you look to purchase a new item it is important to know what features to look for, especially when it comes to something as important as your dog’s safety. We have put together an easy to follow buyer’s guide for you to use below:
Subscription and Contracts
Most dog collars require a monthly or annual subscription in order to access the most important features. The subscription costs per year should never be higher than the price of the collar.
Dog collars should have a long battery life. Look for collars that offer at least one month worth of battery. Anything less is far too little and you will most likely forget to charge it in time.
Going for a discrete styled collar is important for both you and your pup. You don’t want your dog to look as if they are on house arrest, and your pup doesn’t want the collar digging into them.
The app should be easy to navigate and allow you to access the desired feature in just a few clicks. Ideally, you want the app to count your dogs steps as well as calculate their step coal for the day.
As you can imagine, your dog isn’t going to be considerate of the amount of cash you splashed out on keeping them safe and secure, so getting a durable collar is vital. A good quality collar will be waterproof, knock proof and the strap should be replaceable.
Fi Dog Collar FAQ’s
Q: Does Fi collar have a monthly fee?
A: Fi has an annual subscription cost of $99. This works out to just $8.25 per month.
Q: How does the Fi collar work?
A: Fi collar tracks your dog’s location in case they are lost It also has a built in activity tracker that keeps your pup on track to their furry fitness goals.
Q: How much does Fi dog collar cost?
A: The Fi dog collar costs about $150 for the collar. This does not include the annual subscription cost.
Q: Is Fi collar waterproof?
A: Yes, it is even salt water proof!
Q: What is the best GPS collar?
A: The best collars on the market are made by Fi, Whistle and Black+Becker.
While a bit pricey, the Fi Smart Collar is probably the most complete collar on the market. The app is very well done and useful, not something hacked together as an afterthought as seen with some pet smart devices. Overall the quality is both the hardware and software is superb, so we recommend the Fi Smart Dog Collar if you’re buying anything in this category.