When Apple Airtags came out, I bet a lot of you were thinking, “this will be a great way to track my pet if it gets lost.” While adding a $29 AirTag is better than nothing, and collars already exist, they only work if an Apple device is nearby. That’s why Apple doesn’t recommend using AirTags for pets (or kids!) The same goes for Tile trackers, which rely on the app on people’s phones nearby.
I’ve had a Fi on our escape artist Husky for a year now, and it’s already found her twice in the woods where AirTags won’t work.
9to5Mac‘s Zac Hall reviewed the Fi collar last year, and for the safety of our pup, it seemed like a no-brainer. They’ve really thought of everything here. I recently picked up the second generation of the Fi tracker.
From a hardware perspective, Fi uses GPS Tracking and LTE data and sends location data to your iPhone or Android app. There’s a small unit built into the collar, which also has a light for night searching and can even be activated for seeing the dog at night in a bunch of RGB colors. The collar comes in four sizes, and there are a ton of collar/material/size options available in the Fi accessory store.
The setup is very straightforward. Start by downloading the app (which also works for Android). The collar comes with enough charge to get going. You set up your location and set a radius for how far the dog can go from the USB-powered Wi-Fi hub that also serves as a Fi charger. If you unplug the Wi-Fi hub the Fi charger uses cell data and the accuracy starts to suffer.
In the app, you can also connect to your dog’s Instagram and upload some pictures, if that’s your sort of thing.
Maybe the most interesting piece of this puzzle is the Fi app’s extras.
The app is great for tracking location, but it also does some extra things like track your dog’s steps, making sure it is getting the exercise it needs. Fi will also track sleeping patterns, and you can compare the activity of your dog vs. similar dogs that use the Fi app in a sort of anonymized pet social network.
When your dog is in your yard, the Fi collar will connect to your Wi-Fi network and it uses extremely low power. Like this, it can stay charged for up to three months. Since the original Fi collar was released and we reviewed it, the company has released a Series 2.
The Fi Series 2 includes:
- Longer battery life, better signal coverage, and faster, more reliable escape detection Icon representing a chart of progress.
- REINFORCED HARDWARE: Withstanding over 300lbs of pull force with end-to-end metal framing. Icon representing a chart of progress.
- UPGRADED ANTENNA: 4x increase in antenna sensitivity for better location tracking in remote areas.
Our dog is a strong puller and has an invisible fence module, so we went with a beautiful Blue Beau and Nora collar that you can find in the accessory store. There are a ton of different collar options, but this particular one keeps the collar from pulling apart the Fi module.
A few months ago, she tracked an animal through her invisible fence and into the forest next to our yard. My wife and I both got a text message that she had left the yard.
From there, you enable “Lost Mode,” which tracks the dog more accurately and also activates the light (which helps track at night). We were able to track her to the other side of the forest a few miles away, where we met her with the car and some treats.
A similar event happened a few months later when the invisible fence lost power and she decided to go on a walkabout.
Both times we were able to track her to within visible ~100 yards location. Both times, we weren’t sure if we would have found her otherwise. So we’re pretty thankful for the Fi Collar.
Grab it today for $100 off. Note that you want cellular plans, they start at a reasonable $99/year.
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