Fi Series 3 GPS Dog Collar – An Honest Review

January 10, 2023
January 10, 2023

The Fi Series 3 is the newest player to the GPS dog collar market. Naturally, I wanted to get my paws on one to see how it works and if it’s worth your time.

I’ve long since been following Fi (you can see the series 2 review here), and using their products every day for the last two years on both of my coonhounds, and it passed the test for sure. So when the series 3 was released it was a quick decision that I needed to give this device a test.

So this post is all about my findings with the device, as well as a little bit of community feedback.

Whilst this product was supplied for free by fi, it has not coloured my review, or swayed my opinion in any way. It’s also good to note that the links in here are affiliate links so I will get a small percentage – but it doesn’t cost you anything.

What Is A GPS Collar & Why Would You Need One?

A GPS Collar is a “Global Positioning System” tracker on the collar of a dog. Why you might need one varies enormously. Some people use the fi collar for an activity tracker, a route tracker and to keep a general eye on your dog’s health (because changes in sleep and activity can indicate medical issues), but mostly, users like myself use it as a back up. Because they’ve got dogs who, if they get out, or break a leash will be gone.

For us, we use trackers because our coonhounds have a substantial prey drive and consequently the last time they got out properly, they were gone for six days and Mr Rebarkable was lucky to get them back (this was before I was ‘around’ properly). The trackers give both of us peace of mind that the hounds are where they’re meant to be, or decrease the time between out and found.

This Is In Progress!

Because of the newness of the Fi Series 3 collar this review is an “in progress” thing. Sadly, I can’t already have a year’s experience with the device before writing this one, because it’s not been out this long. Suffice to say, I got this in early December ’22 and I’ve been testing every day it since.
I also keep my ear to the ground with the other users in the community to see what difficulties they’re finding with the product in order to give you guys the fullest of info.

Introducing: Fi Series 3

Fi Series 3
Fi Series 3
Fi Series 3
Our Score
  • 400lbs load tested collar
  • Sleep Tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • Smallest device (28g)
  • Locates within 6ft
  • Geofencing (aka a digital alert when dog leaves safezone)
  • IP68 & IP66K 
  • Great community features

The fi series 3 is the new generation for the Fi GPS tracker, and overall, it's a much sleeker design that resolves the old issue of the weak attachment links. It's app and GPS functionality are fantastic, though I've yet to see any dramatic benefit from the extra satellites - but I'll keep this as updated as I can through my journey.

So What’s Changed In Buying The Fi Series 3 Vs the Fi Series 2?

If you’ve already got a series 2 collar then you might be looking at the series 3 and wondering if you should upgrade. So, I want to just go through the changes that exist between them so. you can make an informed decision. But if you’re not looking to upgrade…

Skip to the main review

Fi Series GPS collar comparison devices 2
See the difference in the device depth? It’s so much lighter!
Fi Series GPS collar comparison devices 1
Even here from above you can see the device is significantly different in size.

The device size

The Series 3 is a minuscule 28g vs the fi series 2’s 40g, so they’ve shaved off over 25% of the weight and not compromised a single feature, which means that this device is no longer just for big dogs, instead its for pretty much all dogs

The Way You Buy

This one is a significant change. They’ve changed the game on dog trackers and they’ve moved to a monthly fee as opposed to charging you for the device up front and then giving a lower monthly fee. Now… this sounds awesome and definitely decreases the barrier to entry. However, the parameters are not quite as clearly defined as they are with say a mobile phone contract, where you know who is liable for what, and when if you lose it or destroy it.

The problem here I see? Is those grey areas rarely work out well for everyone involved.

Fi series 3 collar as worn by shelby the redbone coonhound
Shelby’s fi series 3 is something I do trust to keep her safe. It has alerted when it needs to, and has yet to give me any false alarms, which I like.

The Collar links

Fi have changed the collar links between the devices. They work similarly, but the actual way they connect to the device is no longer up and around, it’s more in line. To me, I see that this is what gives the collar the added strength.

The problem with this is that if you bought a collar for your s2 device, because of the change in links it will not work with your s3 device. Yep. This is a huge disappointment.

Whilst I understand that this is absolutely done with purpose and it’s a great purpose, it’s still a kicker for anyone who invested in the makers collars that can cost as much as $120.

What’s In The Box

Set up is pretty easy with the s3; even transferring over my dog’s profiles from the series 2 to the series 3 was relatively simple.

What I Love About The Fi Series 3

It’s So Small

As the second smallest dog tracker on the market (the lightest being Jiobit), it’s a really nice that they’ve shrunk down the size. And it looks really nice on the collar.

Load tested collar

Previously, the fi series 2 came with a collar that was rather well known for it’s literal weak links. And, even though the collar was designed to give added security, the weak links connecting the collar to the device meant that the collar could snap if the dog it was on tended to pull on the leash or react.

Luckily this time around it’s been tested!

Note: It’s worth noting that only large and extra large sizings come with a metal buckle, smaller collars come with a plastic buckle.

Buckle variations fi series 3
I borrowed this image from a person on the fi owners group on facebook, which shows you here that the “medium” size comes with a plastic pinch clip, and the large size comes with a metal one. (Thanks Astro’s Mom!)

The App

The app is still fantastic. It’s the same app as the S2, so it still has some of the multi-dog clunkiness, but overall? It’s really nicely done. I still love the Sleep tracking (because overtiredness is real and it’s a problem!), the newer strain score is interesting but I’m not sure how truly valuable it is? And I still love the rankings and how it gives you the option to compare your dogs to other dogs, and even see how their activity changes month by month

the sleep tracker on the fi series 3 collar
the sleep tracker on the fi series 3 collar – I love this because it really gives you a great idea on how much sleep they’re getting? I find ours are happiest (behaviourally) at 16-18 hours a day.
the activity tracker month by month within the fi series 3
Can you tell that Shelby’s not the biggest fan of the cold? Sure, December is an incomplete month because it dropped 3 days of data, and this image was taken dec. 19th. But even so! Still low because Shelby doesn’t like the cold haha
Shelby's activity levels on december 19th 2022
Shelby’s activity levels on december 19th, you can see how she’s doing her morning runs and evening too.

What I Don’t Love About The Fi Series 3

Shelby's fi series 3 battery usage
Shelby’s fi series 3 battery usage on the first ‘battery life’ when shipped, but since then, it’s really doing much better than the series 2, and lasting approx twice as long

Transferring…

Oh my gosh, the transfer was way tougher than I thought. There was no “click here” or “scan this” or directions on what to do?

I did figure it out, and essentially you go into the app, deactivate the existing collar, and then it pops up if you want to activate the new collar.

Lack of testing

Whilst I have yet to experience it, there are reports that there is an abundance of glitches, whether it’s when your dog gets out and it not alerting, or tracking walks. It appears that the series 3 didn’t really undergo rigorous testing before it was launched and came out with a lot of errors.

But I will say, it’s been fine for us so far, we did lose a few days data when we transferred from one device to the other, but,

Lack of Support

There has been a severe lack of support for Fi collar users since the series 3 launched. Now, to me, this sniffs a lot like it did for the series 2, aka, they oversold, and are under prepared. Which is really disappointing. Now, I do realise and respect that they are a tech company, but when you move into the pet space and are selling security for a family member? Ehhh…. that’s a little rough.

It’s black stainless steel…

I mean – it looks wonderful – it’s a very attractive design. However, whether your dog is scratching, or they’re running around, rolling in things, or just being a dog, the black stainless steel scratches really quick. It’s a shame too, because it is a really attractive design, and it looks so slick, in against the old device and on the collar? Ugh, divine.

Do You Recommend the Fi Series 3

Yes! I really like the series 3, and my instinct is that fi will be introducing unique new features via this device. I’m quite keen on the series 3 even as is, it’s ‘cheaper’ and has less barrier to entry than the series 2, making this just another monthly expense (which is cool in some ways, and not in others). But what it does, it does well

Currently though? Maybe give it a couple of months and let the current users do the beta testing!

If you want a Fi Series 3 go head to tryfi.com to pick yours up today!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

 

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