Garmin Astro 430/T5 Review

Sportdog Brand Yardtrainer 350
Garmin Astro 430T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle

If long hikes or hunting with your dog is your cup of tea then a wireless remote dog fence with GPS is something that will enhance your experience exponentially. After just trying out these devices once, you will be asking yourself how have you managed without them in the first place. GPS has been around for a while now, but it wasn't fully integrated into civilian use until a few years ago.

Today we are looking at a feature-packed device that comes from a well-reputed manufacturer that has been in the business for a while now. If you are interested in our list of top rated invisible dog fences with GPS, we got you covered in another article.

For now let's jump right into the review.

​Specifications

  • Can tracks up to 20 dogs simultaneously
  • One year free birdseye satellite imagery subscription
  • Can cover a range of up to 9 miles
  • Tracks dog performance, like distance traveled and timings.
  • Collar is powered by rechargeable Li-Ion batteries
  • Handheld device uses standard AA batteries or an optional rechargeable NiMH
Collar fits dogs that weigh 8 pounds or more
5 -22 inches neck size
Eight levels of static stimulation and tone-only mode
Waterproof and submersible
300 yards of range
Fits neck sizes 6-23 inch
Compatible with PetSafe PIF-300 wireless fence
Fits dogs weighing 5 pounds or more
Five levels of correction as well as a tone-only mode
Rechargeable batteries
In-ground system
Waterproof collar
Four levels of stimulation plus vibration
Utilizes a conventional 9V battery
Low battery indicator light
System supports multiple collars

Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle – The Basics

Sportdog Brand Yardtrainer 350 – The Basics
Petsafe Stay and Play Fence Receiver – The Basics

Garmin is a well-known company that specializes in GPS technology and covers a number of markets including outdoor recreation and dog tracking. The Astro 430 combined with a T5 dog collar is one of their newest additions and features a high-sensitivity GPS combined with GLONASS satellite reception. In other words, the position of your dogs can be fixed more accurately with lightning speed especially in high altitude terrain where standard GPS might fail on you.

The handheld device can track up to 20 dogs simultaneously giving you real-time insight into their movement with a 2,5 seconds refresh rate. It comes preloaded with 100K U.S. topographical maps and while it has a subscription model for the Birdseye satellite imagery feature, the first year is completely free. A great feature worth mentioning is that it allows you to create a custom boundary, like an invisible fence around a certain area, and if your dog leaves the set area the device will prompt you about it. Garmin is proud of its hunt metrics which provide you with a ton of information regarding your pet's movement.

The T5 collar comes in two sizes - regular and mini. It is splash-proof with a water rating of 1 ATM but it is not submersible. The receiver is a bit bulky and could pose a problem for smaller sized dog breeds. The strap is adjustable and has a 1inch width, also it is not the best on the market. The range on this unit is massive and can cover up to 9 miles without compromising signal strength.

This particular model is designed for owners with particularly stubborn and feisty pets. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it on dogs without behavioral issues, but the sole purpose of it is to deliver a somewhat uncomfortable static signal which is responsible for toning your pet’s behavior down.
As you can tell, it has eight levels of correction. Most other models on the market usually don’t have more than four or five. Those three more levels are what makes this collar so effective when restless pets are in question. The 300 yards of range gives you more than enough time to react properly if something goes wrong. In other words, you can rest assured that it won’t go out of signal range before you press any of the buttons on the controller.
The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t a fully functional system but a collar. That means it won’t work without a proper transmitter. In this case, if you have the PetSafe PIF-300 system already installed, this particular collar won’t have any issues when synchronization is in question.
This model offers five different levels of static correction and a tone-only mode for training. Five levels offer more than enough variety for you to fine-tune the unit and find the one that doesn’t over-stimulate your pet. It fits on any breed as long as they weigh more than five pounds. Therefore, if you own a particularly small breed, you might want to look for something with less correctional intensity.
The batteries are rechargeable, and the charger is included with the unit. You have the choice of buying the collar without the charger, but do that only if you already own one. In case this is your first PetSafe product, we recommend buying the whole set in order to avoid unpleasant surprises and additional costs.

​The ​Features

​The ​Design

The handheld device is well-built and has a bright orange design which makes it much more visible at night and harder to misplace. It comes with a large color LCD display and a pretty straightforward button layout. The menu is familiar and similar to other Garmin products, but if you're new to the brand it's pretty easy to get the hang of. The device allows you to track your dogs either by using the map or the tracking compass.

The collar has a sturdy-build but is cumbersome. It has a water resistance rating of 1 ATM which is suitable for small splashes and any kind of rough weather like rain or snow, but it is not completely submersible so make sure your dog doesn't go swimming with the collar around its neck.

The collar is pretty neatly designed. The biggest upside of it is the fact that it isn’t bulky or cumbersome. That being said, we did find the two contact points on the collar a bit peculiar and invasive, but it’s not a massive concern as it is more of a matter of your pet getting used to it. The on/off button might not seem like a big deal, but many other models simply don’t feature one. When you have a battery powered gadget, an on/off button is of utmost importance when it comes to efficiency and energy saving.
The transmitter works well and it’s quite easy to get the hang of it. It features two buttons of which one sends a short-timed signal whereas the other sends a continuous signal. On top of that, you can choose between eight different levels or even select the tone-only mode if you’re just getting started. Keep in mind that you need to find the optimal level of correction as soon as possible because not all dogs react the same to respective impulses.
Two dogs and hunter

The Battery

To the delight of many users, the handheld is powered by standard AA batteries that are cheap and you can find pretty much anywhere. Also, there is an optional rechargeable battery unit that can be used but bear in mind that it's a NiMH type which is far less superior to lithium polymer for instance.

The collar has an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery and comes with a charger. The battery life itself is pretty decent but there are a number of things you can do in order to extend it. If you are worried about your dog getting lost, there is a power saving mode that is activated from the handheld device which preserves battery life on the collar. Also, you can reduce screen brightness and the update rate in order to avoid running the battery down on the handheld device.

This model features rechargeable NiMH batteries that last about 40-60 hours per charge. The biggest complaint most people have is the fact that this model does not feature Li-Ion batteries which are more efficient and offer better performance.
Both the collar and receiver feature a low-battery indicator and can be charged at the same time thanks to the included split-end charger. Make sure to keep them charged at all times and you shouldn’t run into any major issues.
While many people consider this feature pretty irrelevant, the difference between rechargeable and switchable batteries does exist and it’s worth mentioning. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the fact that you don’t have to stack on batteries and plan ahead. Instead, all you have to do is plug it into the charger and let it recharge. The cycle lasts only about two or three hours, meaning there isn’t much downtime in the first place.
The drawback of this system is that the battery is built-in. In other words, if anything happens to the battery itself, the whole unit becomes more or less worthless. Luckily, these batteries aren’t prone to failing and breaking often.
The correction levels are excellent. The difference between levels isn’t massive which allows you to adjust the collar quite precisely. Furthermore, if you don’t want to use the correction system right away, there is a tone-only mode which is designed to help your pet get used to wearing and using its new accessory. The fact that everything is wireless makes this model perfect for parks, camping, RVs, and etcetera.
One of the great features is the vibration mode. It allows the owner to train their pet without having to use the electric stimulation. It helps you to gradually train your faithful companion instead of making you use progressive methods immediately.
Other features
While most pet collars look pretty similar to each other, some crucial differences need to be pointed out. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the build quality. One can easily tell that this unit is made to last, even in case you have a particularly feisty furry friend. The gadget isn’t too bulky or cumbersome, but it’s not the most comfortable thing on the market either. The collar features a plastic clip which does its job relatively well.
The system box is pretty straightforward, and there’s not much more to it. It comes with an adapter which can be a nuisance for some people due to its somewhat short wire. Therefore, make sure you plan the positioning thoroughly and install the box near an electric outlet to avoid issues with the length of the adapter wires.
While most pet collars look pretty similar to each other, some crucial differences need to be pointed out. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the build quality. One can easily tell that this unit is made to last, even in case you have a particularly feisty furry friend. The gadget isn’t too bulky or cumbersome, but it’s not the most comfortable thing on the market either. The collar features a plastic clip which does its job relatively well.
The system box is pretty straightforward, and there’s not much more to it. It comes with an adapter which can be a nuisance for some people due to its somewhat short wire. Therefore, make sure you plan the positioning thoroughly and install the box near an electric outlet to avoid issues with the length of the adapter wires.

PROS:

• Can establish a geofence
• Great range
• Very precise

• Lots of features

​​• Easy to use
​​• Affordable
​​• Good coverage
​• Easy to setup
​• Good build quality
​• Smooth correction levels
• Easy to use
• Affordable
• Good build quality

CONS:

• Price and subscription fees

• Collar is too bulky

​​• Underwhelming battery
​• Batteries are built-in
​• No on/off switch
• Batteries don’t last long
• No OFF button

What We Liked about It

There is a lot to like when it comes to the Garmin Astro 430/T5 Dog Tracking Bundle. The range it covers is amazing, it's very precise and won't let you down thanks to the combination of GPS and GLONASS (Russian space-based satellite navigation system), and it comes with a plethora of great features like birds eye and hunt-metrics. Also, Garmin increased the number of dogs the system can track simultaneously from 10 to 20. It's so easy to use that you will be asking yourself why didn't you purchase it earlier.

The best thing about this particular model is its portability. In other words, you don’t have to set up any invisible fences or hassle with miniature flags. All you have to do is put the collar on your pet and start the training. Also, the user manual is well-written, and it contains quite a bit of useful information on how to start the training process if you’re a complete novice.
The other thing we liked is the price. Many people expect it to be more expensive than the wireless containment system, but it’s not. In fact, it comes at an affordable price meaning that most pet owners can indeed plan on investing in such a gadget without having to think about their budget too much. However, it may not be as versatile as some containment systems that are available on the market nowadays.
The overall versatility and build quality are the things that we liked the most. In the sea of cheap and underwhelming dog collars, this stands out as one that’s worth investing in. As we already said, if you own the PIF-300 system, this particular unit is one of your safest bets.
The fact that it’s very easy to use makes it ideal for beginners and inexperienced pet owners. It’s also an affordable piece in comparison to some other models that offer similar capabilities and features. It isn’t the best thing on the market, but it’s certainly a piece that’s worth checking out.
People who are searching for high portability combined with great efficiency should find this collar interesting, to say the least.

​What We didn’t Like

What We didn’t Like

While this is, without a doubt, a great wireless dog tracking device with GPS, that doesn't dispute the fact that it still is an investment.

The total cost can be unattractive to users on a tighter budget, considering the initial price and the subscription fee if you plan to use the birds eye feature after your 1-year trial has passed. However, keeping in mind the set of features you get and the state of the art technology that comes with this device, it is kind of expected to fall into the category of premium priced products.

The batteries are probably the weakest point of this product. While they aren’t bad per se, the engineers could have implemented Li-Ion batteries without a problem. The included ones may be considered obsolete and subpar in comparison to Li-Ion. While 40-60 hours seems long and sufficient, you may run into battery issues occasionally.  
The other thing a lot of users complained about is the inconsistency of the signal. In other words, if you select the level seven, the device might output a level four signal. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it can happen. If you’re worried about consistency, consider checking some other models out, this one might give you troubles in the long run.
The battery is okay, but the fact that it cannot be changed might be a deal-breaker for some people. The recharging cycle doesn’t last long, but it can catch you off-guard. However, there is a low-battery LED light on the collar, meaning you should keep an eye on the levels.
The pet area cannot be changed into a square or rectangular shape. While this is usually typical for most wireless containment systems, it’s still worth mentioning. If you have anything against a circular shape of the area of effect, you might want to look into wired units as they offer more adjustability.
The lack of the OFF button is a major issue for many pet owners. Even though the process of changing the batteries is incredibly simple, it’s not uncommon for people to forget about it. That means you’ll have to go to the nearest store in case you forgot to stack on batteries the last time you were shopping.
As we already said, this fence does not come with wire included. While it’s clearly stated in the description, you would be surprised by the number of people that oversee it. Therefore, if you don’t have wiring installed in the yard, make sure you purchase it separately.

​Conclusion


If you're on the lookout for a professional grade, reliable and precise GPS dog tracking device then, by all means, get the Garmin Astro 430 and you won't be disappointed. However, if you have a tight budget and just need a basic model to get the job done, consider shopping for a more affordable and simpler option.

This is a premium device that boasts a ton of features and is intended for demanding customers that want a top-of-the-line product and are willing to pay for it.

The Yardtrainer 350 is a decent remote trainer; there is no question about that. Is it the best one on the market? It certainly isn’t. Is it worth checking it out? Yes, it definitely is. In the end, it all comes down to your requirements and preferences. If its features and capabilities fit your idea of a perfect dog trainer, don’t hesitate to give it a chance. On the other hand, there are plenty of other models to choose from.
As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is its ease of use. If you’re an absolute beginner, this model won’t be much of a challenge thanks to its simplistic concept. As for the downsides, the battery and signal inconsistency should be your primary concerns.
This collar is a universal answer for most of your problems. If you have a feisty or disobedient pet, the Stay and Play Fence Receiver can help you when it comes to behavioral corrections. On the other hand, you have to be prepared for trials and errors because nothing happens overnight, especially when it comes to radical changes.
Beginners and inexperienced owners love the ease of use and simplicity of this unit. On the other hand, people who already trained their pets usually look for something with more features. In the end, it all comes down to your needs and preferences. As far as we are concerned, it’s definitely worth checking it out.
If you’re looking for a long-term solution when it comes to training your pet and correcting their behavior, an invisible fence is one of your safest bets. Now, make sure you fully understand your possibilities and responsibilities towards your furry friend. These things can easily become an instrument of abuse if you don’t use them correctly. That doesn’t always mean it’s the owner’s fault, but it does correlate with owner’s ignorance or lack of experience.
As far as your budget goes, you won’t damage it too much. As we said earlier, these fences aren’t cheap but are certainly a good investment, especially if you own a problematic dog. Many people spend hundreds of dollars on professional trainers, and they don’t always guarantee success. This way, you can take a role of a trainer even if you don’t have any experience, and train your pet according to your own preferences. It does take a bit of effort and time, but it definitely pays out in the end.

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