In 2014, Whistle announced that they would be integrating their activity tracker with a GPS function. The Whistle GPS would not be much bigger than the
base model Whistle and would not require a monthly charge. To the disappointment of many pre orderers, including myself, this product never came into fruition. Instead Whistle acquired Tagg, which already had a GPS tracking product. They worked to combine the two, and few months ago, Whistle released their new product. Still branded “Whistle GPS”, it is not what the company had originally advertised.
I have the original Whistle activity tracker and love it, but I wasn’t quick to buy the new Whistle GPS. A quick browse through their Facebook comments shows many unhappy customers. I had purchased a Tagg before and returned it because I could never get the thing to activate. I worried about the Whistle GPS being too big for my dogs. And then there was the $9.99 monthly fee.. per dog.
But then a few weeks ago, I received an e-mail offering a great promotional rate on the Whistle GPS. They had also announced that they would waive the monthly fee (for a year) for everyone who had pre-ordered the original product. Faced with an upcoming vacation and the horrifying thought of my dogs going missing, I bit the bullet and ordered not one, but three Whistle GPS models.
And I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had my Whistle GPS(es) for more than a week now. The initial set-up was straight forward, and I got them activated with little trouble. The collar attachments are secure. (I will say that they are very difficult to remove. If you like to change out collars a lot, this might be a problem for you. I had to use a flat head screwdriver to get the rubber attachment off the collar.) Whistle sends you a notification when it is attached or removed from the collar, which I thought was a neat feature. You would know immediately if it somehow fell off the attachment. My dogs are in the mid-20 pound range, and honestly, I think it looks fine on their collars once you get used to it.
I emailed the Whistle customer service team to receive a refund on the monthly fees, and they responded within hours and got everything set up correctly.
The activity tracking works like the base model Whistle, although I think it may be a little more sensitive to movement. The downside to the activity tracking on the Whistle GPS is that it only updates once or twice a day, unless you prompt it to sync by pressing the button on the base charger. The basic Whistle model updated to the app every hour. I liked this because my puppy is having a bit of a rough time crate training, and I could check the activity log at work and see if he was settled in and calm. I could also see if my husband had been home to let him outside. Not so with the Whistle GPS. I know they do this to save battery life, but it is one feature I’m not so happy with.
What everyone really cares about though is the GPS feature, right? It has worked without fail for me. Every time my dog has left his designated zone (whether on a walk or a car ride), I’ve been notified within 5-10 minutes that he is out-of-bounds. Through the app, I can then hit “locate” and within seconds I’m shown a map of his location. It has been accurate every time. I will say I have not tried it in a rural area, only in the city. Because it works off a cellular network, I image you might have some trouble if you’re out in the boonies.
I’ve had the trackers for a little more than a week, and I would say the battery life is about 2 weeks. This varies depending on how often your dog is away from home (if they never leave, the battery will last longer).
Overall, I am happy with my purchase. If the Whistle GPS is something you’re on the fence about, I say give it a try! You can always return it within 30 days if you’re unhappy. It’s normally $79, but they’re offering $20 off with code SHIPPING20 thru 12/27/15. Click here to check it out!
Have any questions for me about my WhistleGPS? Let me know!
(I purchased my own Whistle GPS and have not been compensated in any way for this review.)