You asked, and I listened. I finally got my paws—and my neck—on the Fi Smart Collar Series 3.
In this review, we’ll tear into the packaging, go over all the features, I’ll dish out my initial thoughts, and we’ll sink our teeth into how this bad boy stacks up against SpotOn, Halo, and a 90-pound tug!
Don’t forget to paw through the link to any offers or deals on these products. Ready, set, fetch!
What’s inside the Fi box?
- The Fi device
- Charging cable
- A wireless and magnetic charging base
- Collar band
- A quick start guide
What are we digging for in this collar?
- Well, since it’s a smart collar, we’re hunting for the brains behind the bark, which means:
- The accuracy of live GPS tracking
- The activity tracker
- Sleep monitoring
- Some other clever features like adding your dog walker to the app.
- Battery life
- Collar strength
Can this collar handle your CHEWbacca’s teeth, tugs, dips in the pond, and all the other wild escapades? Let’s unleash the mystery and find out.
Setting Up the Fi
The app is your control center. Just scan the QR on the box, and you’re on your way.
Here’s a quick setup guide: Just log in, enter your pup’s name, breed, birthdate, sex, weight, and a photo. Next, grant Bluetooth access, connect the charging base—which is also the Fi base—to a power outlet, and place it where your dog spends a lot of time. Then, let the base access Wi-Fi so it can detect when your pupper is home. Simple enough.
Here’s where it gets interesting: the Fi base has to be on, and Wi-Fi connected all the time. It needs to communicate with the collar when it’s in range. So does the app on your phone. So does the wifi. Why so many connections?
According to Fi, this high-tech game allows the device to slyly optimize battery usage. It’s a hierarchy of connections, with the Fi base taking precedence, followed by the app, Wi-Fi, and finally, the GPS & LTE on the collar. So if your pup’s lounging at home, the battery’s taking it easy. If they’re out exploring, expect the power to drain faster.
Next, we create the safe zone—home sweet home. If your furball escapes without you, you’ll know about it. Just pick the zone on the map, name it, and voila!
The app will also want to access your Motion and fitness activity. According to Fi, it’s so they can join you on dog walks, digitally speaking. It helps the collar pinpoint your dog’s location better.
Finally, the notification permissions. Make sure you allow the notifications to be delivered immediately —you don’t want to learn about Max’s interstate adventure hours later.
Now on to the fun part. I tested the durability of Fi dog collar series 3. I hauled this collar to the gym to flex some muscles and then tied myself to a tree for a backyard tug-of-war. I have to hand it to Fi; this collar held its own with 90 pounds, and believe me, I gave that leash everything I had.
Other Features of Fi
The Fi App
The app is sleek and intuitive; the whole user experience really clicks. There’s one wrinkle, though: the social media integration. I feel like it sort of clutters the app’s landscape. I mean, not everything needs to be social media, does it? But hey, I can see why some of you might dig that feature. Maybe I’m just old.
Design and Battery Life
Also, the collar comes in a range of 5 sizes and 4 colors to suit your pup’s style and fit. It has an IP68 & IP66k waterproof rating, so it should be able to withstand some serious splash time. The company boasts a longer battery life of up to 3 months on a single charge, though I’ve come across a few reviews that mention it lasting only a couple of weeks for some users.
Fi vs. SpotOn and Halo
Let me start off by clarifying something. We’re comparing an apple to a couple of oranges. Fi’s a tracking device, whereas SpotOn and Halo are invisible dog fences. Different breeds, but some common traits. See my Fi vs Halo review.
They all let you mark a territory, alerting you if your pup wanders outside of it. Fi pings you so you can kick off ‘lost dog’ mode and start a search. SpotOn and Halo, playing the role of invisible barriers, not only alert you but guide your trained dog back inside through sounds, gentle vibrations, or even shocks. They have the tutorials and tools for this boundary training.
Can you use Fi dog collar for boundary training, though? Well, it lacks the bells and whistles (literally) for that task. But hey, if you’re up for a DIY boundary training project, Fi’s tracking can be helpful for sure.
Fi’s GPS isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed compared to the invisible fences, but it doesn’t really need to be. Because, unlike the fences, it’s not issuing warnings or corrections to the doggo, so lack of high precision isn’t that big of a deal. Also, it’s more of an activity tracker than anything else. An Apple watch for your pup, if you will. Without the heavy price tag.
Speaking of price tag, Fi smart dog collars are the economical choice overall. In fact, the pricing is pretty interesting. They don’t explicitly charge you for the collar. Instead, you pay a subscription fee that gives you a new collar, unlimited AT&T LTE-M connectivity, unlimited software updates, and unlimited warranty replacements. If there’s an upgrade, whether software or hardware, it’s yours at no extra cost—provided you have an active subscription. Just keep in mind there’s a minimum of a 6-month commitment. Probably to cover the cost of the collar.
When billed monthly, it’s $24 per month as I’m writing. But if you make a longer commitment of up to 2 years, you get up to 39% off in subscription fee.
Just to compare, the SpotOn collar is $1,295 as of now, but it works without a subscription. However, for features such as live tracking, you have to subscribe, which will be $9.95 when billed monthly.
The Halo collar is $699 as of writing, and a subscription is mandatory, which starts at $5.99 per month.
Yes, SpotOn does come with a heavy price tag, but it’s a really well-engineered product, and in my opinion, the price tag is justified. I’ve explained that in detail in my SpotOn reviews and comparisons. I’ll put the links below.
Here’s my snapshot judgment: Fi’s a city slicker, perfect for apartment living. Halo fits snugly in a suburban home with a cozy yard. SpotOn is a country lover’s dream, fit for vast yards and open lands. For a more thorough side by side comparison, check out my Fi vs Halo as well as Fi vs SpotOn reviews.
Each plays in a different playground, but all of them give our puppers a leash-free life, which we love!
For some sweet deals for your four-legged fluffball, click the link below—I’ve stashed some special offers there. Until our next romp, keep those tails wagging!