- Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 3.6 x 1.5 cm ; 27.2 g
- Boxed-product Weight: 204 g
- Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Item Model Number: 100-30502-01
- ASIN: B01N7MWKWY
- Date first available at Amazon.com.au: 21 September 2018
- Customer Reviews: 3,274 customer ratings
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor
- Meet Whistle 3—the best all-in-one GPS location and activity tracker for dogs and cats—Smarter pet care is here.
- NATIONWIDE LOCATION TRACKING: Whistle uses advanced GPS and cellular technology to pinpoint your pet's location depends on the Wireless coverage. on AT&T, America's largest network.
- SUBSCRIPTION PLAN: Whistle 3 is like a cell phone for your dog, so it requires a subscription plan for cellular connectivity. Plans start as low as $6.95/mo and are selected at activation in the Whistle app (no separate cellular contract required). Works with iOS 10 or later and Android 5.0 or later.
- PROACTIVE ALERTS: Get text, app or email notifications when your pet leaves their safe place, before they get too far away. Wi-Fi network required to set up safe places.
- TRIPS: Follow your pet’s location over the last 24 hours to see where they went and when.
- MONITOR ACTIVITY: Track your dog’s daily activity and rest to keep your companion in great shape for their age, weight and breed.
- BATTERY LIFE: Whistle 3 has the longest-lasting battery of its kind and can last up to 7 days. Battery life is impacted by the strength of your Wi-Fi and cellular coverage. Depends on usage and environment. Get notifications when your battery needs to be charged. Full recharge only takes 2 hours.
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Whistle 3 combines GPS, cellular and Wi-Fi technology to give you the most comprehensive and accurate tracking nationwide. Plug the USB charge cable into a computer or a wall power adaptor recommend 5 V Uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
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Top international reviews
Initially the Whistle worked fine, but the battery life seemed to be quite shorter than what they claim.We were only getting about 2 days between charges which was annoying (the 1 week is really only if our dog is at home on wifi). Location accuracy was just OK, if our home wifi went down we’d get an alert that the dog got out, so I’m assuming it just uses a wifi connection to see if the dog is really inside.
I saw a month or so ago on instagram a new smart collar called Fi and decided to check it out. After doing a bit of research about how they are the first LTE collar where all the rest are apparently only 3g, I decided to give it a try to test their claims of 3 month battery life.
Compared to the whistle, the Fi collar is slightly wider but much lower profile (it's a collar and a tracker in one, where the whistle you put on your own collar with a rubber band). Overall I prefer the shape of the Fi collar, it looks more designed and modern and less bulky. The Fi also has a light that you can turn on at night. I usually turn it on when we go to the dog park because it looks really cool and everyone asks about it haha.
Fi seems much smarter on escape detection, I had my wife take the collar with her to the grocery store to see if it detected an escape, but it properly marked the dog right away as with my wife on a walk! I could also see their actual path, which I could not with the Whistle. Our whistle would usually alert 5 minutes or so after the dog left the house which was less helpful and give us a new location every 3 minutes or so.
We’ve also seen pretty impressive battery life with Fi, we’ve only had it for about a month but the battery is still at 65% from the original charge, so I think we’ll hit 3 months battery which is crazy.
What caused us to give up the whistle for the Fi collar was when we went to Europe for vacation over Christmas our whistle died after 3 days and we couldn’t keep an eye on things at the boarding facility. We feel much safer leaving him home during our next trip this summer and a little less guilty.
The Fi collar is a bit more expensive but I used a coupon on their website and it dropped to basically be the same. For us, the battery life and more accurate escape detection were more than worth the price difference.
A lot of thought went into designing this product. First, there's the physical unit that is small (approximately 1.6"x1.3"x .6") and weighs less than an ounce. It attaches easily and securely to collars up to 1" wide. It uses GPS to determine location when your dog, cat or T-Rex is away from "home" and then sends the location to your smart phone via 3G cellular service (no SIM card purchase required). GPS and 3G is important. There are a lot of pet trackers that use Bluetooth, which has a very limited range (100 feet max), or if they use GPS, connect to the cellular network via 2G, which unlike 3G, doesn't have complete US coverage. On several occasions, I've tested Whistle’s location accuracy and in general it's within about 10 to 15 feet. The app shows a shaded circle around the pet’s estimated location that gives a sense of the accuracy of the estimate. Whistle requires that you have Wi-Fi at home or where you want to designate a “safe place,” of which you can have several. When your pet is within the range of designated Wi-Fi locations, Whistle switches from GPS to Wi-Fi to save power and battery time. And then when your pet goes (escapes) outside of Wi-Fi range, it automatically switches back to GPS. If your pet stays in home Wi-Fi range, you can assume about 5 or 6 days on a battery charge, but if continuously outside of its home Wi-Fi range assume 1 or 2 days on a charge. I try to keep my battery well charged just in case my escape-artist husky decides to go in an adventure. I don’t want it to run down while I’m in hot pursuit. Oh, and for those with hunting dogs, or other water loving creatures, the unit is waterproof.
All too often the electronics of gadgets like Whistle are designed by brilliant engineers, but the apps that drive them appear to have been developed by crazed aliens from planet Blx!#}. Not so with Whistle. The app is really quite good. Setting it up takes about 10 minutes and is pretty easy. While at home or other designated Wi-Fi location, the app’s screen shows your pet within a shaded circle indicating the approximate range of the Wi-Fi router. You can set up the app to send you an alert, test or email when your pet goes in or out of Wi-Fi range. If you open the app while your pet is beyond Wi-Fi range, the screen will show your pet’s most recent location on a map, satellite or terrain view. You can also look at the track of any trips he or she has taken during the latest 24 hours. Location in tracking mode updates about every minute. In addition to showing your pet’s location in either Location or Tracking mode, your location (cell phone location) is also shown on the screen, giving you an idea of how far away your pet is, and what direction to go to find him/her. There is also an Activity mode to give you a sense of how many minutes of exercise your pet is getting each day. Finally, the app shows you the percentage of battery charge remaining and sends an alert if the battery charge is low. If the unit is on the charger, the app will also send an alert when it’s fully charged.
Though I haven’t had a reason to call Whistle’s customer support, I did email them with a question that wasn’t answered in their website’s FAQ’s and received a very understandable response within a few hours and an offer to take care of the issue. When I didn’t respond over the weekend, I received a second email reminding me that they would fix things if I wanted them to. That’s pretty good customer service in my book. Though it’s difficult to tell from a couple of brief interactions, I have the sense that the folks at Whistle not only care about their customers, but their customers’ pets, too.
There is a subscription charge of about $8 a month, if purchased annually, to cover the cost of cellular service to communicate between the tracking unit and your cell phone. For me, $8 is a small price for peace of mind when my four-pawed friend goes wandering. Particularly, if I can catch him. Note, the cellular service Whistle uses has nothing to do with the cellular provider you use for your mobile phone, so it works regardless of which company supplies you with cell service. One $8 subscription allows multiple pets and multiple “owners”—other family members or friends.
All in all, this is one heck of a product. I heartily recommend it, and give it a 5-star rating.
This device contains (at least) a battery, a GPS receiver, a bluetooth antenna, a wifi antenna, and a 3G antenna.
When you open the box the are instructions that direct you to go to the app store to download the "Whistle 3" app. You cannot set up this device without a SMART PHONE (Android or iOS).
Once you download the app and create an account, it prompts you to connect via BLUETOOTH to the device. There is no getting around this part. I imagine you could theoretically set up the device with a friend's smartphone, add a phone number or email address for SMS/email notifications to a different device, and then delete the app.
Once connected via bluetooth, the app will prompt you to choose a WIFI network for the device to connect to and enter the password. At this point, it's important that your wifi router is actually connected to the INTERNET because the device will attempt a firmware update (This part is interesting, so I'll expand: You'll know the device wants to update firmware by way of a pop-up in the app. You can dismiss the pop-up, and the device will still work, but every time you open the app you'll be reminded that 'it's working on updating firmware'. I let it sit for several hours and it never updated, however, once I removed the device from wifi range and brought it back into range, the firmware updated within minutes... not sure why).
"Sleep zone" vs "Locations":
The "Sleep Zone" is defined purely by wifi range. As noted above, as long as the device is within range of its wifi network (not sure if there can be more than one - I haven't tested - comments welcome), the device stays in battery-saving "sleep mode". If the device leaves wifi range, it "wakes up" (uses more battery), but will not send alerts unless it leaves or enters a "Location" as described below.
Separately, in the app, you can define one or more *circular* areas on Google maps (right in the app) as "Locations". If the device leaves or enters one of these areas, you will receive a push notification. You can't 'draw' a polygonal Location, so no squares or other funny shapes. Just circles. These circles can be resized to quite a large area though, so I haven't found it to be problematic. This of course means you can make your Location significantly larger than the wifi range. Crucially, merely leaving the wifi range won't trigger an alert unless the device ALSO leaves the Location.
ASIDE: I've only lightly tested this, but it seems that if the wifi range is _not inside_ any defined Location(s), the device will still stay in sleep mode until it leaves wifi, so to be very precise, it seems you won't get notified unless the device is outside of wifi and AND outside a Location.
Requirements for sleep mode:
Awesomely, it turns out the only requirement for the device to stay in "sleep mode" is to be connected to a selected wifi network. So, contrary to what the 2 different support reps told me in spite of my repeated attempts to clarify, the wifi router does NOT need to be connected to the internet for "sleep mode" to work. Arguably, the device will need another firmware update in the future, at which time it would be helpful to connect to the internet - but I'll cross that bridge when it comes.
How it communicates:
So, amazingly, other than firmware updates, the device seems to do all of its communication via 3G cellular network. The implications of this are either really good or really bad, depending on your situation. For me, it's great, because I can set up a "dummy" wifi router in my mom's apartment that will keep the device in 'sleep mode' (saving battery), BUT, I can still communicate with it - which means I can see the location and, so, so amazingly, I can see the battery level too! This one aspect makes it worth every penny to me. On the flipside, if you live in an area with poor cellular coverage, expect to be frustrated. I would expect that even with strong wifi, you won't be able to "see" the device very well (I haven't tested, so comments appreciated here).
Obviously, the fact that the device uses 3G means that you MUST purchase a subscription from them. I signed up for the 1 year plan for $7.95 per month and paid with a credit card - painless. There is also a 2-year plan for $6.95 per month, or you can do "monthly payments" for $9.95. Keep in mind, though, that "monthly payments" is a bit of a bait-and-switch, because you're still committed for a year. In all cases, you can cancel with 90 days if you're not happy.
As noted above, another really cool feature is that you don't necessarily need the app installed on your phone to receive notifications. You can add a phone number for SMS messages (which needs to be verified with a code sent to a newly added phone), but that phone does not need to have the app installed. Email notifications are also available.
Also, the app can be installed on multiple smart phones (you do have to share email and password though, so consider that), so my sister who lives out of state can also keep tabs on mom. Sweet!
Overall, fantastic product. After 24 hours of testing, 5 solid stars because it's perfect for my specific application. Support, while perhaps ignorant of how the product actually works, is very responsive and friendly. I've set a calendar notification and will update this review in 6 months with battery performance and other learnings.
UPDATE (Jan 2019... 18 months later - oops!)
Welp, unfortunately this update isn't going to be based on a lot of experience because, it turns out, mom didn't like wearing the thing and would regularly take it off and hide it. I actually spent several weeks looking online, going to jewelers, and even machine shops trying to find way to 'lock' it on to her ankle without it being ugly or uncomfortable - but also easy for me to remove for charging. Legalities aside, this was the only way to keep her from removing it. Unfortunately, before I could come up with a permanent solution she was picked up several times by the police for wandering and trying to enter random homes. So, yeah, that brought her life in assisted living, and the need to track her, to an abrupt end. She's now in a locked memory unit.
That being said, we DID get to use it ("them" actually - I bought another so I could 'swap out' instead of sitting and waiting for it to charge) for a little while, and what I found is that even with wifi connected I could only get about 3 days out of each one. I was hoping for 6 or 7, but it was still the best thing going. Note: Keep in mind this was a year and a half ago, so I'm guessing/hoping the service has improved since then.
For the times she did keep it on, it seemed to work pretty well, although I did sometimes get false alarms. The first time I got an alert I panicked and called the facility, but I soon learned to wait for a second or even third 'fix' to confirm she was really out of the zone.
The one time it came in very handy was when the facility called ME to ask where she was, and I was able to tell them the general location. It turned out she had wandered into the neighboring wing - so she was still in her geofence, but outside of her living area.
We never got the chance to 'road test' it in that she never wandered off while wearing it. I'm sure it would have worked, though, as any time I was transporting the swapped out unit back home I'd get an alert.
Using a second device: I wish I had written this down while my memory was fresh, but as you can imagine, having a second device seems like a great idea for this type of application. Unfortunately it meant ANOTHER subscription plan to pay for, but it also came with some weird quirks/requirements. For example, you can't 'assign' both devices to the same 'pet' (mom was a pet in the app) and rotate devices like I wanted to do. Instead, I had to create a new 'pet' and assign the second device to it. Also, as I recall it wasn't trivial to disable alerts for the device I was taking home to charge. So, each time I'd leave the facility I'd have to send my sister a text to let her know I was leaving with it. None of these things were deal-breakers - just annoyances.
Overall, this is what I would love to see Whistle (or anyone) do:
1. Let us purchase a second device and put them both on the same subscription, and give us a 'toggle' in the app to change which device should be active. I can't be the only person who wants to be able to 'hot swap' devices.
2. Create a way for the device to be 'locked' to the wearer. A fashionable, comfortable chain with a small lock would be great. I understand this potentially creates legal issues, but as legal guardians that's our risk to take. Anyway, if it came to that I'd feel just fine explaining to a jury why I put it on her. After all if such a device had existed, I'm confident mom would have been able to stay a locked memory unit for at least another 6 months and save taxpayers thousands at the same time.
This morning I let Lewis out. He was on the patio sniffing around and the tracker screen showed he was very close to me. I closed the door and went inside.
I haven't seen him since. The Whistle app shows him at the same spot on the patio. Trust me, he's not there.
After several tries at the 'update' button, I got a nice text message from Whistle saying they could not establish contact with Lewis.
So this is what I get for trying to be a responsible pet owner. A product that has an ongoing monthly charge, but no cat. It worked in rehearsal, but not in practice. I"m returning the parts Lewis did not take with him for a refund.
Buy it, don't buy it, you decide. But my cat has been missing for six hours and the device that was supposed to track his movements did not work as advertised.
Aside from the new more compact design, everything I've experienced about this unit is worse than the original Tagg (or Whistle GPS). When it worked location was far from accurate (it was worse than the old units), it would be sitting on the charger in my house and give me a location of two houses down! It would take 3 minutes or longer to get a location when an update was forced, (the older units usually took 30 secs to a minute.) Then when I actually put it on my pet (an outside cat) 2 out of the 3 times the unit would just randomly stop responding after a few hours, just showing "Updating" for 20 minutes and then give me an error message that it was having issues locating my pet. One of the times he was sitting in the backyard, this most recent time he was off around the neighborhood (so I currently have no idea where he is.)
I also tested the unit for many days, taking it to work with me and could never duplicate this issue, so my only suspicion is the issue has something to do with the unit going in and out of power saving mode and just freezes. Customer service keeps saying possibly something is blocking the GPS signal, but considering I've never had this issue with the older units, and this unit is supposed to be better and more powerful that doesn't make sense. Perhaps I got a defective unit, but even the times it worked I can't say I was impressed or experienced any location speed or accuracy improvements whatsoever. I also don't like to have to rely on the app alone, the old units had online map access which sometimes works better than the app. I will go back to the Original Tagg, which was working good enough. Hopefully nothing happens to my cat while he's still got the "newer, better, more accurate" high tech paper weight one on. I definitely wouldn't use this or trust this on an animal like a dog who isn't likely to find their way home if they got loose, the response time it so bad your dog would be a half mile away before it told you where he had been five minutes before. As a user of these for over 5 years I can tell you they rarely work good when you actually need them to, but the older ones at least gave you some clue where to look. Two times now this new one just gives up.
So after the tracker stopped responding I contacted customer service again (I had contacted them before the first time this happened), they tried to locate the tracker and ping it to no avail. Said I'd have to have the tracker in hand to be able to help any further... well that won't help anyone if they actually lose their pet. After over 4 hours of not being able to get any response from the tracker it to my surprise started working again out of the blue when my cat returned home, sending me a notification he was back, and the battery life showing 55% (was 100% charged four hours prior). This actually makes me even more confused as to what is wrong with this thing, why did the battery drain so much when it appeared the servers weren't getting any response from it? Apparently it was but it wasn't sending it back I guess. I'd taken this to work before and had it out over 8 hrs and the battery would only go down to maybe 70%. If it is actually GPS signal issues that doesn't say much for this tracker when it's 7 year old 1st generation tracker does not perform this poorly. The first time I called customer service they told me Whistle 3 is on the AT&T network, while the older bay station trackers are on Verizon. While they told me cell service in my area seemed more than adequate I'm wondering if this isn't the problem. I don't use AT&T so I'm not sure how well the cell signal really is in my location, I use T-Mobile which uses Verizon's towers so I've never had a big issue with them. It's a possible excuse but still an unacceptable one for a product that claims to be better than the older models, it should at the very least be able to function in the same areas to the same degree as the older models.
So I'll be sending this back and returning to my basic no fluff Tagg Gen 1 tracker. Aside from design improvements in both the app and tracker itself, the functionality of Whistle 3 doesn't hold a candle to either of the old trackers. Again I've used these trackers for over 5 years, on a cat that leaves the home zone daily, so I'm more than acquainted with the quirks of these things and I've had more issues with this new one in two weeks than I've had with the others in 5 years. Sometimes newer simply isn't better. Best of luck to those having no issues with it. But I suggest extensively testing it out before placing your trust in it.
I'd like to add that when there are a lot of competing products one of the things that separates one from the others is the customer service. The customer support I received from Whistle was far and beyond what I'm used to.
We found out about the Whistle 3 and were very skeptical because of all the battery complaints we read about. We worried that if the battery only died after 8 or 12 hours then we wouldn't be able to accurately see where Peter was going and disappearing to for days at a time but we decided to give it a shot anyway.
After receiving the device we were able to charge it in about 20 minutes. Activation was easy through the app, and registering the credit card and $9.99 per month was straightforward. We thought the device would be much larger but as you can see from the photos of Peter, its not that big at all and it really doesn't bother him. Attaching to his collar took 2 minutes and they made it easy by including a removable rubber clasp that you remove to slip the collar through.
We connected the collar to the wireless router on our farm nearest to the building where Peter hangs out the most so that when he leaves it will trigger the GPS monitoring and we can track him. That evening his took off and we were able to watch him travel to a neighbors farm and stay for a few hours, and then he moved on to a junkyard about 1/4 mile from our farm. He spent the entire night near a condemned house at the junkyard, traveling up and down the rows of cars, and then staying at the house for a few hours. In the morning we walked to the edge of our property down by the river where we could see the condemned house and we started calling toward the direction of where the Whistle said he was and sure enough he came barreling toward us.
Peter jumped up to a downed tree and ran across to our side of the river and follows us home like he traveled this path 1000 times before. We have watched him every night for 5 nights since we installed the Whistle on him and he does the same thing every night. We are pretty confident that he was either stuck inside the condemned house or in a building somewhere but we are glad to have him home and to have the reliability of this amazing collar.
Regarding the battery life, we have not had it go below 85% charge during any of the periods we charge it. We throw it on the charger every morning for about 20 minutes before putting it back on him. I am confident that if Peter were gone for a day or two the battery would still be functional but we like that we have the option of adjusting the gps tracking time through the app. We have it set to track every 10 minutes right but can easily adjust that up and down to save on battery life.
This morning when we woke up we saw that no alert was received saying Peter had come home during the night and he had been out of range for 12 hours so we did a quick track and started walked toward where it said he was. We found him peacefully sleeping inside our strawberry beds, right where the collar said he would be. So very impressed with the Whistle 3 and worth every penny for peace of mind.
UPDATE 6/27/17: So, after 60 more days of using this, most of my original thoughts still stand. But, unfortunately, I'd have to downgrade this to 1 Star for me. Now that all the trees have fully leafed out, the % of time that the app sees his collar is probably 5% - basically useless for me at this location. Again, the totally aggravating thing is still that it tracks my cell phone (a third party piece of hardware) accurately, within seconds, EVERYWHERE I go, ALL the time. I'd gladly pay more for a model with a higher powered transmitter, even if it was larger.
The one star less is because in order to use this the 1. company tells me I need to purchase a new modem despite the one I have being currently sold by Verizon as perfectly workable. No suggestions from Whstle. Since this depends entirely on wifi to work I find it 1 star less worthy that there is not a huge ATTENTION before purchasing this as their last 3 models worked perfectly with my current wifi..2. Battery life: they've gotten a new charging station recently to improve the charger. The 5 day battery life is only if the device pretty much is sitting near the base station and your roamer is not out of it's zone. My experience is the battery life at best is 2.5 days, more like 24 hours. Let me explain. We live in a State Park. Houdini enjoys visiiting the feral cats at another house 1 mile away. I get a notice he's gone out of his zone. The map shows his exit usually on a trail leading to I can guess where. I take action and run off to the trail calling his name chasing a bag of treats wihich is likely to get his attention if he hasn't gone into feral mode which he does once he's a certain distance to the woods, meaning he's hypervigilant and acting like prey, not my pal. He won't let me too near. I just tell him to come home. 50% likelihood he will within an hour. So now he's off to his pals place. I have to decide if I'm going over to shake the treats to get him to come home on his own of course, he won't let me near him. So I push track and see he's there. I get there and push track again. ( 3 sightings now). I have to restrain myself from pushing track again because he doesn't let me catch him and I know he hears me. I go home and push it again and see he is in fact on his way home or I push it later and see he's going even further afield back to his old house territory. I wait until morning. At this point the tracker even with this limited use is at 57% capacity. I push track to see where he is, travel to get him and push it again. A third time is required to pinpoint him. I try to cajole him then leave. Later in the evening if he isn't home on his own I push to see where he is. At this point we're at 20% capacity. By the third morning there is maybe 4% battery left. This gives me peace of mind to know where he is and he'll probably be on his way home on his own. So usually I use it to just let him out and stay close to the phone so I can retriev him immediately the second he leaves his zone which usually works great. I give whistle triple A plus for this. Another fabulous side effect that others have mentioned also is I am 100% positive that when he is remote-- more than a mile away and I push locate at night that he totally knows the lighting up of the device is a sign I am looking for him. I am positive because he is conditioned to know that when it turns on in the dark there is a high likelihood wherever he is that shortly afterwards I will show up calling his name and looking for him. So the light going on is associated with me and our relationship. I got this device because 2.5 years ago my cat would go out at night and I tracked that he was out 60% more than in. He disappered for two weeks and had taken up residence at the local arboretum -- people were feeding him, planning on trapping him and taking him home-- he is microchipped but they may not have bothered to get him checked. The whistle was instrumental in my being able to train my cat to come home, to stop travelling to certain places and break the cycle of his going towards feral or being taken. He is a Norwegian Forest Cat and his nature is to be in the forest but he is also a loving family companion very very very happy at his home. He looks ratty and miserable when he's been out for longer than 2 nights ( this happens once every 4 months now) so I know the whistle helps keep him safe. Be patient and learn it's limitations and you and your cat may appreciate its brilliance as we do. My only real complaint now is that we are moving to New Zealand for a year and I dont' know what I'll do without whistle in New Zealand. The customer service, too, is truly awesome. Yes it has limitations, you know they can't find your pet for you but they sure genuinely express a willingness to do anything in their capacity to help and show genuine concern. Most reps have pets and know the product, too. Photo included of Eric the White with his whistle tracker.