Note: This review is part of a larger review series on GPS pet trackers. We recently put together a buying guide for GPS dog collars that compares this one to many others on the market. Thanks for reading!
Here to see how to attach the Whistle 3 to a collar? Click here to find out.
The Whistle 3 GPS pet collar is one of the newest smart devices that helps you find your lost pet. We spent a lot of time checking out this tracker and testing its features. The Whistle 3 is primarily a GPS dog collar but also works as an activity tracker. Think of it in some ways like a FitBit for your dog. In our review, we tested both of these capabilities and had some interesting results.
Unboxing the Whistle 3
The Whistle 3 comes in a small box packed with its essentials: a charger, the collar attachment, and its charger dock. In our experience, many smart pet devices feel cheaply made and packed compared to how they look online. With the Whistle 3, this is not the case. It has really nice packaging and its accessories are packed in nicely.
How does the Whistle 3 GPS Dog Collar work?
The Whistle 3’s GPS capability works with the collar’s enabled WiFi and an app on your phone (free on iOS or Android). You set it up by pairing it with the app and entering your WiFi password. You then designate this WiFi connection as a “safe spot.” This makes the entire perimeter of your WiFi connection a virtual fence. Travel a lot and bring your pet with you? You can create multiple safe spots! If your pet leaves the WiFi safe spot range, you get a notification on your phone. WiFi signals can be quite powerful, though, and your WiFi signal might go way further than you want your dog to travel. If you do not have phone service and your pet travels outside of the WiFi range, you will not receive an alert.
The Whistle 3’s capability doesn’t stop there. What makes it one of the best GPS dog collar trackers on the market is its use of an optional cellular connection. The Whistle 3 uses AT&T’s cellular data to ping a GPS signal to your paired phone. You do not need to have AT&T to track your pet or even a cell phone. All the data tracking is done right through the app! There is a monthly subscription cost for the cellular feature, which currently ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 per month.
Whistle 3 Specs and Durability
The device works on collars up to 1″ wide and is made of a durable soft plastic. Dogs are notoriously dirty and can get into just about anything outside. Luckily the Whistle 3’s waterproof rating is IP67, which means it can withstand water immersion from 6 inches to 3 feet for 30 minutes (that’s 15 centimeters to 1 meter for our international readers). The company recommends your pet weigh at least 8 pounds to wear the device. We found that the collar is probably not well suited for our cats. It was a little too bulky.
The battery lasts about 7 days and charges by USB. We found that a full charge took just under 2 hours. The collar sends a notification to your phone when the battery dips below 20% – a handy feature!
A FitBit for Your Pet?
While the primary purpose of the Whistle 3 is tracking, it also functions as a pet activity tracker. It uses an accelerometer and to calculate your pets exercise intensity and minutes of activity. The Whistle 3 also offers activity goals based on your pet’s breed and age. This is useful for keeping up with an older pet’s activity level and could reveal potential health problems that need to get checked out. We view this tracker as primarily a GPS dog collar but activity monitoring is a great bonus feature of this device!
Downsides to the Whistle 3
Without the cellular subscription, you are only relying on the strength of your WiFi signal alert you if your pet has left your safe spot. However, WiFi signals are not all the same and not a good predictor of your home’s perimeter. Just think of all the random WiFi signals from neighbors you might get at home! A strong WiFi signal with a large range could mean that you won’t get an alert until your pet is long gone. If you are 30 minutes away from home and get an alert that your pet has escaped, what use is the collar without the cellular feature? Your pet can get quite far in that time frame and only using the built-in WiFi option offers no tracking capability. Not having the cellular subscription makes the Whistle 3 only a little better than a microchip.
Is the Whistle 3 Worth It?
We think this GPS dog collar is only worth it if you are willing to pay the subscription cost. Sure, it stinks to continue to pay for something that you already purchased. This is the case with just about every decent tracker on the market now so this still makes for a fair comparison to others. Requiring cellular data plans for GPS-enabled goods doesn’t look like it will change drastically any time soon.
To keep tabs on your pet, the Whistle 3 is our favorite GPS collar currently on the market because of its durability and robust app. Thanks for reading!
- New Whistle models available: Whistle go explore and Whistle go
- Nationwide location tracking: pinpoint your pet's location with this top-rated SMART GPS activity tracker for your pet anywhere AT&T 3g cellular service is available.
- Proactive alerts: get text, app or email notifications when your pet leaves home.
- Get health insights: monitor your pet's daily activities and know how your pet measures up for their age, weight and breed.
- Long battery life: lasts up to 7 days! Battery life may vary depending on your pet's activity, Wi-Fi signal strength and pet's time spent out of Wi-Fi.