Invoxia promises that with its special Pet Tracker you "always know where your animal is". We tested the pet tracker and came to a rather sober conclusion, not to say completely different result than we were expecting.
For several months I have been testing the £119 Pet Tracker from Invoxia with two dogs. The device hung around the neck of the city dog, Hercules, for some time, but most of the time the collar was worn by little Lutzi. The latter we monitored mainly on the fields of the beautiful Gärtnerinnenhof Blumberg near Berlin.
The tracker should above all help to see when the dog leaves your yard to explore the neighborhood. Because here you can follow it (or any other wild animal) visit the neighboring school for a bit of petting.
Setup is quick and easy
Setting up the Invoxia Pet Tracker is simple. First, the tracker is supplied with power via Micro-USB. Then you use the app available from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to set it up. Once it has been recognized correctly, it is connected to the dog's collar with the help of a rubber tab. Personally, I recommend setting up the tracker completely before you go anywhere near your dog, because the connection to the tracker was harder to establish when it hung around the neck of our animal testers.
Inxovia offers a variety of options for setting up the system. The most important in our case was the zone alarm. You get a notification when the animal leaves a pre-defined area, enters one, or both. The radius for this can be set between 100 and 1,000 meters. Then there's the walk alarm. Here the user is informed as soon as the animal walks or runs for longer than 2 minutes.
The tracker sends its position about every 10 minutes as soon as it moves. If you need more data, you can reduce the frequency to five minutes, but this will be at the expense of battery life. There is also the possibility to locate the tracker every few meters. But this seems to be more useful if you have moved the direction finder than to locate the pet.
The tracker hangs on well
The Pet Tracker itself is, as already mentioned, attached to a dog collar with a rubber strap. Thanks to two different sizes, the tracker can be used for both thin and thick straps and the non-slip material also ensures a secure hold. There was never been any concern that Lutzi's tracker would be torn off or come off on its own during my review process.
GPS tracking leaves much to be desired
As simple as the installation was, the result was anything but satisfactory. The GPS tracker from Invoxia uses the Low Power Wide Area Network to send the determined position to your smartphone. The problem is that the gardener's farm I was using it in is situated in the countryside. There, the reception is rather sparse and so is the data arriving at your smartphone, although according to Sigfox the coverage there should actually be good.
For example, the GPS tracker had trouble detecting that Lutzi had moved into the pre-defined security zone. The notification arrived hours later. The same applied when leaving the security zone. You don't really ever have the certainty that you will be alerted in time when your dog is on an exploratory tour.
The situation was better in downtown Berlin. I got a warning on my smartphone within a few minutes. However, this only seems useful if you are afraid that the dog will leave the dog playground or your own cat is free and you want to stay informed about where it is roaming.
A smartphone app in need of improvement
Improvement is also on the menu for the smartphone app. If you take a look at the map view, it always jumps to your own position at first. What is incomprehensible here is that there is a button to jump to your own position, but not that of the animal you are tracking.
Also, the overview of the map is rather confusing and gave, in my case, little information about where and when the dog walked around, especially if it only covered small distances. Here I often looked at a wild zigzag pattern without getting any real added value. But this might look different with cats that, for example, roam the whole neighborhood at night.
The so-called Sleep Index does not work at all. Because besides the activity and the distance covered by the animal, you should get information here about its sleeping patterns. However, even after several weeks, the tracker did not provide any data on this.
One month of battery life? Far from it!
Another disappointment was the battery life. According to the manufacturer, you should get about one month with normal operation. But with me and my dog, the tracker didn't last even two weeks, which is probably due to the bad reception. On the plus side, the Pet Tracker is quickly recharged within minutes via the waterproof USB port.
Conclusion: Limited benefit
All in all, I found the benefits of the Invoxia Pet Tracker more than limited. Anyone who wants to monitor their dog or their free-running cat in rural regions or during a walk in the woods, might quickly become unsatisfied due to the poor reception. Unfortunately, this is probably also the deployment scenario for which such a GPS tracker is most likely to be used. I wouldn't reach for the tracking device any time soon.
So I can only recommend the Pet Tracker in the city, because here you get a reasonably precise tracking. This can help if the animal gets lost or leaves your home. However, here too I see the deployment scenarios very limited - perhaps for a free-roaming city cat? And if the animal is stolen, the tracker is probably the first thing a thief quickly gets rid of. Whether one is willing to spend £119 for it, however, one must decide for themselves. I certainly wouldn't.
The Invoxia Pet tracker is not currently available in the United States.