What Is the Fi Smart Dog Collar? How Does It Work?
As more and more dog trackers enter the market, some are starting to show themselves to be the most durable and accurate. The Fi smart dog collar is one of the top products in this market, thanks to its durability, functionality, and user-friendly app. Fi is working to make it easier to keep track of your dog, no matter where you are. This tracker is a valuable product for a variety of dog owners, including those who spend a lot of time hiking or hunting with their dog off leash and people with escape artist dogs.
Even if your dog is never off leash and doesn’t have the slightest idea of how to escape your yard, the Fi collar may still be a functional item for you. The free Fi app is user-friendly and built to maximize your activity with your dog and engagement in app usage. Whether you want to track your dog’s walks down to each step or be able to find your dog if they escape the backyard, the Fi app and collar will work for you.
Keep in mind that no GPS monitor is 100% accurate, and the Fi tracker is no exception. There is both a free and a paid subscription associated with the Fi collar, and the paid subscription provides you with higher accuracy and more up-to-date information on your dog’s location and movements. There are some limitations on GPS technology, though, which can cause lags and some inaccuracies in tracking via the Fi collar.
If you’ve been looking into a GPS tracking collar for your dog, here’s everything you need to know about the Fi smart dog collar from someone who has first-hand experience with the product.
Fi Smart Dog Collar – A Quick Look
Fi Smart Dog Collar Pricing
The Fi collar is a pricey investment for a dog collar due to its smart capabilities. The collar itself will cost you around $149, but Fi often offers coupons and discounts to help you save. The tracker comes with a collar that’s available in four colors, but you can purchase Fi-compatible collars if you’d like something more customizable. These collars usually cost between $30 and $100, not including the price of the tracker.
For the best functionality, you’ll want to invest in the Fi subscription plan. This plan runs for $99 per year, but the first 30 days is a free trial period.
What to Expect from the Fi Smart Dog Collar
The Fi dog collar includes the Fi tracker and a nylon collar with metal hardware. The collar itself is high quality and feels quite durable. The tracker will need to be charged on the included charging base once you receive it. As it charges, you’ll be able to follow the simple instructions to link the tracker to your Fi account. Currently, there is an issue linking the Fi smart collar to Pixel phones and customer service is required to fix it.
As soon as the collar is on your dog and the account is linked, you’re ready to go. The tracker will track not only your dog’s location but also their step count per day and their sleep habits. You can customize a “safe zone” that the tracker recognizes as a place your dog is allowed to be unattended, like your home and your yard.
Once your dog leaves the safe zone, you’ll receive a notification. The tracker is able to determine if your dog is on foot or in a car based on their speed, and it will notify you of this. It will also use your phone to determine if the dog is with you or not. The tracker provides real-time updates about your dog’s location. If you don’t have the GPS subscription, the tracker uses Wi-Fi networks to show you your dog’s location. This makes it unsuitable for rural areas or areas with minimal Wi-Fi access. For the most accurate tracking, the GPS subscription is best.
One of the most fun aspects of the app is that it will update your dog’s ranking every day to let you know how their step counts compare to other dogs. Your dog will receive a daily ranking against all dogs with Fi trackers, all dogs of their breed, and all dogs in your state. You can also follow other accounts on Fi, allowing you to see limited information and pictures of other dogs, almost like an Instagram account for dogs.
A top benefit of the Fi tracker is its high level of water resistance. If your dog goes swimming or simply likes to splash around, you can rest assured that the tracker will continue to function properly. There is also an LED light built into the tracker that you have full control over, including choosing the color. This can be used to keep your dog safe during low-light walks.
Fi Smart Dog Collar App Contents
The overall functionality of the Fi smart collar is really cool. This device is a good option for people who often take their dogs places without a leash, like hunters and hikers. It’s also a good option for dogs that tend to be escape artists since you’ll receive a notification when your dog leaves the safe zone. You’ll also know if they’re on foot or in a car, as well as if the other people listed on the account are with the dog. For example, if your dog goes for a walk with another registered owner, you’ll receive a notification that says something like, “Eva left home with Alex” or “Eva is on a walk with Alex.” If your dog gets out of the backyard, you’ll receive a notification that says something like, “Eva left home.”
The accuracy of the Fi tracker is something that can be hit or miss. Without the GPS subscription, you can expect the tracker’s signal to jump from place to place, only giving you a general idea of where your dog might be. It also may not accurately track distance on your walks since it skips between Wi-Fi networks. With the GPS subscription, you’ll get real-time updates on your dog’s location. It does seem to take the tracker a few minutes to disconnect from a home Wi-Fi connection and recognize that the dog has left the safe zone. If your dog is moving quickly, the tracker will likely lag by at least 50–100 yards. However, if your dog stops for a sniff or to visit with someone, then it will likely give you an accurate representation of where your dog is.
The Fi app makes having a tracking collar a lot of fun. You’ll receive daily updates of how your dog stacks up against the “competition” of all dogs, all of their breed, and all of your state. You’ll also be able to track your dog’s steps per day with an hourly breakdown, so you’ll be able to see when your dog is the most and least active. There is also a sleep tracker that shows you how many times your dog woke during the night and how much time they spend sleeping and napping per day. The Fi app allows you to meet new friends and follow them to see their daily ranking updates and pictures.
The optional Fi subscription is almost a necessity if you’re looking for good accuracy of tracking. When using the tracker on the Wi-Fi only plan, the tracker bounces off of Wi-Fi network signals. Even within a neighborhood where there are multiple Wi-Fi signals, it seems to have some difficulty bouncing from network to network, causing the tracking accuracy to lag and often miss large chunks of area.
Is Fi Smart Dog Collar a Good Value?
The Fi collar can be a good value, depending on your intended usage of this product. If you are often in situations where your dog is off-leash, you live in an area with frequent dog thefts, your dog is an escape artist, or you’re interested in seeing updates on your dog’s daily activity, then the Fi tracker is a good product. If you subscribe to the GPS subscription, then this collar can be a great investment.
However, if your dog rarely leaves your side or is at low risk of running away or being stolen, then the Fi smart collar is an expensive investment that won’t provide much benefit to you. The app extras are a lot of fun regardless of your tracker usage, but they are not a necessity when it comes to keeping your dog safe or keeping them active every day.
FAQ: Fi Smart Dog Collar
What kind of warranty does Fi offer?
Fi smart collars come with a 1-year warranty after purchase. This warranty covers the tracker and charger for technical or hardware problems. It doesn’t cover damage related to normal wear and tear, acts of God, and mishandling of the product, nor does it cover cosmetic damage.
How durable is the Fi smart dog collar?
The collar and tracker are both built to be durable. The collar and tracker are chew-proof and waterproof. They can withstand up to 300 pounds of pull resistance, making them ideal for average dogs. For large dogs that tend to run full speed and hit the end of their leash, like squirrel chasers, it’s recommended to use an alternative collar or harness to connect the leash.
How is the battery life on the Fi collar?
The battery life on the Fi collar is excellent. It can last up to 3 months from a full charge. It’s important to check the battery life every few days, just to ensure you’re not getting too low. How frequently you use GPS can impact the battery life, but you can, at minimum, expect to get multiple weeks of use per charge. The tracker charges within a couple of hours.
Can I customize my Fi collar?
Yes. The collar that comes with the tracker is available in yellow, gray, blue, and pink. You can also purchase other collars from private vendors that work with Fi to make compatible collars in tons of colors, patterns, and materials.
Our Experience With the Fi Smart Dog Collar
Our dog Eva is a 55-pound American Bully mix who is a big sweetie with people but tends to be on the reactive side when it comes to animals she doesn’t know. Although she’s an indoor dog, we have a large backyard she’s allowed to play in, and one of our biggest fears is her getting out and getting lost or taken or getting into it with another dog. The Fi collar has helped relieve some of our anxiety.
The initial setup process seemed extremely simple, but I was trying to set it up on my Pixel 6 phone and having no success. I reached out to customer service, who responded in under 24 hours. They notified me that there is a glitch that is specific to Pixel phones and that setup with a Pixel is possible, but difficult and requires assistance from customer service. To simplify, I used an old Galaxy phone on our home Wi-Fi connection and had the collar linked and set up within minutes. We set the account up for myself and my fiancé as owners. There is also an option to add anyone who may take your dog out, like a dog walker, to the account permanently or temporarily.
We did find the functionality and accuracy of the collar to be poor without the GPS subscription, even in our subdivision. It would detect walks, but it would often skip large stretches of roads, giving an inaccurate map of the walk, which also impacted the distance of the walk and, more importantly, Eva’s location. Once we upgraded to the GPS subscription, we found it to be far more accurate.
There is definitely a lag between when Eva leaves our set safe zone and when we receive a notification. This lag has been anywhere between 2–12 minutes, but averages less than 10 minutes. As long as whoever is walking her has their phone with them, the tracker picks up that Eva is with an approved person and notifies both of us that she is on a walk with whoever is with her. If both of us are with her, it seems to default to me as the person who set up the account.
The tracker consistently tracked Eva’s location pretty accurately and within less than 50 yards, often doing a better job tracking walk distance and route than a smart watch. After a few weeks of use, though, the tracking suddenly got wonky and was jumping from street to street and . There was no clear cause for this. Her collar was down to around 40% battery life, so we charged it and that seemed to fix the GPS issue. Since the charge, the walk routes are back to accurate.
The collar has withstood everyday wear and tear, including swimming at least a dozen times. We would like to see faster and more accurate GPS tracking, especially since the GPS subscription is an additional fee, but this may be more of a current technology issue than a specific product issue.
The Fi smart dog collar is a great option for giving you peace of mind and keeping an eye on your off-leash dog. It is a pricey investment, though, and works best with the additional GPS subscription. The tracker updates the app in real time, but there may be a slight lag in your dog’s actual location or notifying you when your dog has left your customizable safe area. This tracker and collar combo are built tough, proving to be waterproof and chew-proof, as well as able to withstand up to 300 pounds of pulling pressure.
The Fi collar may not be a perfect solution, and limitations on current GPS technology play a large part in the accuracy issues sometimes associated with it. However, the app is a lot of fun and creates a sense of community, as well as a little bit of competition via the daily rankings. It’s nice to be able to track your dog’s activity and sleep habits as well, especially since trends in these things may help you better understand your dog’s health and energy levels.