Pros / You don’t have to pay a monthly subscription.
Cons / It’s not very accurate.
Verdict / The Marco Polo isn’t a very exact way to find your missing pet.
The Marco Polo is a very basic pet tracking device that uses radio signals, which have a much smaller range than GPS tracking devices. It comes with two tracking tags and a handheld receiver you use to view the location of your pet. You can purchase an extra tag separately and track up to three pets with one receiver. Compared to the smartphone apps other trackers like the Tractive and Pod 3 sync with, the large receiver was a little awkward to hold and the screen wasn’t backlit, so it was hard to read in the dark. However, the receiver is much more rugged than a smartphone, so outdoorsmen and women might prefer it.
Two charging cords are conveniently included so you can charge both the tag and the receiver at the same time. When fully charged, each 0.8-ounce tag should give users 15 days of battery life in idle mode, three in tracking mode and a whopping 45 days in monitor mode with the alarm turned off. The receiver’s battery life is eight hours in searching mode, three days in tracking mode and three days in monitor mode. You can also set up safe zones and the receiver will notify you if your pet moves outside of them.
The tracker beeps and gives you a percentage of how close you are to Fido, with 99 or 100 percent being right on top of them. It also displays an arrow showing you which direction to head in search of your pet.
Our labs are in a downtown area with several multi-story buildings made of concrete, brick and metal. We left the tag there, drove about half a mile away and then very slowly headed back toward the tag down a residential street. The receiver registered 39 readings, though the direction arrow only appeared 15 times and pointed the wrong way twice. The numbers it displayed were also all over the map, being as high as 52 while still blocks away from the tag, going down to 13 as we got closer and then finally bouncing back up to the 80s when we were about 80 feet away. We also left the tracker near our downtown labs and simply drove around the surrounding block very slowly. Those readouts were also pretty inaccurate. The instruction manual says the Marco Polo has a line-of-sight range of two miles, but in town we found the range to be only about half a mile.
We also strapped the tag to a dog and let her run around on a mountainous hiking trail. In that environment, the receiver’s readings were more accurate. When the tag was mere feet away we got readings between 80 and 99, and as the dog ran away to investigate an interesting smell, the numbers progressively got smaller.
This tracker is extremely durable. The receiver does fine in the rain, and we dunked the tag several times and discovered that it is indeed waterproof. The manual says it’s rated in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The Velcro strap that comes with the tag holds it snugly in place.