Fi Smart Dog Collar Review

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Fi Smart Dog Collar Review

 

As our overview of the Whistle Go Discover and Fitbark GPS exercise/monitoring collars (“Serving to You Preserve Observe,” WDJ December 2020) went to press, we noticed a web based advert for the Fi Sensible Canine Collar (pronounced “Fie” as in “WiFi”) and determined to overview it, too.

We purchased and commenced testing Fi’s Sequence 1 collar in November 2020 – simply earlier than Fi launched a Sequence 2 collar. Argh! Fi says the Sequence 2 gives an extended battery life, strengthened {hardware} (to handle experiences by Sequence 1 customers of D-ring failures), and an upgraded antenna for improved monitoring in distant places. 

Having bought the Sequence 1 collar, and with our overview of its main rivals already in print, we requested Fi in the event that they’d ship us a Sequence 2 for overview. They agreed, however reported that robust orders for the product led to a success delay. Thus, we weren’t capable of get our arms on a Sequence 2 in time for this overview. What follows is our overview of a Sequence 1 collar, together with experiences of Sequence 2 enhancements from customers in a Fi person’s group on Fb, in addition to from Fi.

THE FI SMART COLLAR GPS ACTIVITY TRACKER AT A GLANCE

Product Identify
Maker’s Web site
WDJ RatingPrice
Month-to-month Charge
GuaranteeChargingComments, Professionals, Cons

Fi good collar

tryfi.com

Score: 3 Paws (out of 4)

” product with one or two important flaws.” $149 from Fi
Not out there from Amazon

Subscription prices: $99/yr

30-day free trial for monitoring; afterward, a subscription is required.Prices by way of a small base unit.

Cost for “homebody canine” mentioned to final so long as 3 months. In our take a look at, it took 7 weeks of twice-daily canine walks plus occasional different adventures to attract simply 60% of the battery’s cost.Issues we like: The battery life is spectacular. The 30-day free trial and talent to make use of the collar to trace bodily exercise even and not using a GPS subscription are good options. We loved the power to see the precise route traveled throughout a stroll (just like human health apps). The social media neighborhood and rating options of the app are a pleasant contact.

Issues we dislike: Reporting occasional automotive rides as walks is a irritating concern we hope Fi finds a solution to repair. The dimensions of the system means it’s possible too massive for a lot of toy breeds. The system can solely be used with Fi-compatible collars.

HOW FI WORKS

More often than not, the Fi gathers location info by way of Bluetooth from the included base unit or from a linked cell system, quite than continually looking for GPS factors, which quickly consumes the battery cost. When the “lost-dog” mode is engaged, Fi makes use of three constellations of satellites mixed with AT&T’s LTE-M community protection to triangulate place and ship knowledge to the person by way of a mobile-device app.The Fi app experiences the gap traveled, steps taken by your canine, and time take to stroll your canine.

DESIGN AND PRICING

Whereas the beforehand reviewed Whistle Go Discover and FitBark GPS trackers are designed to connect to a canine’s present collar, the Fi Sensible Collar is constructed right into a customized collar. The monitoring system itself could be faraway from this collar, however it may be used solely on Fi-compatible collars. Total, the Fi is sleeker than the boxy Whistle and FitBark trackers.

The monitoring system is in regards to the dimension of a Matchbox toy automotive and is made from brushed metal and black plastic. A skinny stripe within the center features as a lightweight bar that’s managed by the app. The Fi Sensible Collar is available in 4 sizes (S, M, L, and XL); the smallest Fi matches a neck circumference as small as 111/2 inches (and isn’t really useful for tiny breeds). 

The Fi Sensible Collar sells for $149. GPS monitoring is free for the primary 30 days; after that, GPS service plans begin at $99 for one yr with minor reductions on multi-year plans. Not like the opposite gadgets we examined, Fi will file and report the canine’s bodily exercise (not location) and not using a paid service plan. 

SET UP

To make use of the collar, obtain the Fi app, create a profile on your canine, and designate his or her “secure zones.” Distinctive to Fi is the usage of a small base unit that doubles as a charger and connects to the tracker utilizing Bluetooth Low Power (BLE) expertise. The benefit, says a Fi consultant, is that when the tracker is linked to a base unit or related cell system, it doesn’t have to entry GPS location knowledge by way of the tracker, which improves total battery efficiency. A reported enchancment to the Sequence 2 collar is WiFi integration, mentioned to supply longer battery life when away from the bottom or cell system, higher sign protection, and quicker, extra dependable escape detection. 

We like how the monitoring unit magnetically attaches to the bottom/charger, and the tracker expenses shortly. Make sure you have a back-up collar with ID tags readily available when charging the Fi Sensible Collar because the all-in-one system should be eliminated, leaving the canine and not using a collar. 

BATTERY LIFE

Fi estimates a totally charged battery will last as long as three months for canine who’re at all times dwelling, as much as two months on canine who depart the home for every day neighborhood walks, and as much as three weeks on particularly lively canine who spend numerous time away from dwelling in conditions the place the collar may not preserve a dependable Bluetooth connection to the bottom unit or proprietor’s cell system. 

Our checks affirm that these estimates should not overstated. When test-dog Saber stayed dwelling in the course of the workweek however joined me on twice-daily walks and occasional weekend climbing excursions, the Fi nonetheless had greater than 40 p.c of its battery cost after seven weeks. Spectacular! And the WiFi integration on the Sequence 2 collar is claimed to provide even higher total battery life.

Fi claims the battery will final for as much as two days in “misplaced canine mode,” the place it’s counting on GPS to refresh the canine’s location each minute. That is necessary, as any tracker is ineffective with a useless battery. Nevertheless, “as much as two days” means when beginning with a totally charged battery. When utilizing any monitoring system on a canine escape artist, intently monitor the battery to maintain it totally charged.

WATER RESISTANCE AND DURABILITY

The Fi Sensible Collar is waterproof and saltwater spray resistant. It’s additionally designed with an armored aluminum face plate and strengthened inside steel armor to assist defend towards gnashing tooth throughout bitey-face play.

APPLICATION REPORTING

The Fi app makes use of an algorithm to measure steps taken in addition to miles traveled. In our take a look at, Saber’s reported step depend was constantly near double that of my steps, as reported by my FitBit.

Exercise is reported in three classes: Time spent and steps taken in a delegated secure zone; time spent, steps taken, and distance traveled on a stroll; and time spent and steps taken throughout play. Actions are reported chronologically all through the day, with a map exhibiting the exercise’s location – together with the complete route taken on a stroll, just like train apps comparable to RunKeeper or MapMyRun. 

The Fi app additionally gives enjoyable neighborhood options comparable to picture sharing with different Fi customers, in addition to exercise rankings together with total, by breed, and inside your state and metropolis. I’ll admit that once I got down to stroll twice a day, it was enjoyable to observe Saber’s rank climb to the highest 15% of all Fi-wearing canine.

ACCURACY/RELIABILITY

We simulated a misplaced canine state of affairs by asking a neighbor to take Saber on a stroll. I watched Saber depart and waited for notification that he’d left the secure zone – which took a full three minutes. Fi claims on its web site that it gives “the quickest, most correct solution to be notified when your canine escapes.” We discovered it to be quicker than the FitBark, however not practically as quick because the Whistle Go Discover, which prompted an alert on the telephone app inside one minute of Saber’s “escape.”

Escape detection is claimed to be one other space of enchancment with the Sequence 2 Fi Sensible Collar. Word that location monitoring could also be slower in landscapes which might be densely constructed up, in addition to distant areas with restricted mobile protection. 

As soon as I obtained an alert that Saber had left a “secure zone” I activated the Fi’s “misplaced canine” mode, triggering GPS-based location updates each 60 seconds. Its location info was extraordinarily correct. I simply discovered Saber strolling with my neighbor about two blocks away from dwelling. 

One irritating concern is the frequency with which Fi registers automotive rides as walks. Saber is perhaps quick, however he undoubtedly by no means walks at 65 miles per hour! Fi’s tech help suggested conserving the app open within the background all through the day to cut back these inaccurate experiences. It undoubtedly helped, but it surely additionally appeared to attract a major quantity of my telephone’s battery. Fi is conscious of this concern and says it’s working to resolve this with future app updates.

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