LINK AKC is a smart collar with an unprecedented amount of hype behind it. I preordered mine back in December, and since then I have received AKC's smartcollar newsletter every other day. Yes, every two days I get an email packed with awesome stuff about how great this collar is. Over the last three months I have received 44 different promotional emails about the product I had already ordered and committed to buying. I didn't mind though, because I am a giant nerd and couldn't wait to get it.
The packaging for the collar was wonderful. Very easy to open, but secure with proper protection for the electronics. No horrible plastic to cut through, and the whole thing seems pretty eco-friendly as well.
The collar is a very nice stitched leather piece that is a bit stiff like all new leather. It feels a bit big on Godzilla, but looks great on Zip. The actual tracker and its holder also seem bulky on Godzilla's neck.
Putting the tracker onto the bracket and the bracket onto the collar was super easy and straightforward. I downloaded the Quick Start Guide to my phone, which instructed me to assemble the collar an then download the Link AKC app.
This is where things ground to a screeching halt. I should have been mere minutes away from creating an account, selecting and purchasing a service plan, and pairing the collar with my phone via Bluetooth. Upon opening, the app prompts the user to either sign in with Facebook, or create an account with an email address. I tried Facebook first, and after loading for a full five minutes, the app finally prompted me to choose a user picture.
After selecting a picture of me and my dogs, it was time to activate the collar. The next screen prompted me to activate a service plan, with three possible options. I chose one, and was taken to a blank screen. Nothing ever loaded. Went back and tried again, same thing. Went back and selected a different service plan, same blank screen.
Being fairly tech savvy, I first tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app. No luck. Rebooting my phone had no effect either. Next I tried creating an account with an email address. The app informed me that I already had an account with that address. Login with my password failed, so I tried to reset the password. The password reset also failed. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling again, just in case. At this point I had been trying to get the Link AKC app to work for well over an hour.
My LinkAKC collar is currently packed back into its lovely intuitive packaging awaiting its return to the company. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, and I have no way of knowing if it will become functional before that time is up. This smart collar is a huge disappointment. Companies need to be careful how much customer enthusiasm they drum up, as it easily changes to customer rage when the product fails to meet expectations. Link AKC has failed to meet my expectations in every possible way.