When we came across the Garmin Astro 430 with T5 Collar, we were thinking it was our lucky day. This little handheld device and collar set are perfect when it comes to GPS tracking, so you’ll always know where your pup is when you’re hunting or just running around outdoors. Lots of people have some questions about Garmin Astro though, which is why we thought we’d take a look for ourselves.
As soon as we received our box, we were pleased about how well packed it was. The GPS device was light and easy to pick up, since it was only 9.6 ounces. The entire thing fits perfectly in your hand at 6.3 inches, and is large enough that you won’t accidentally lose it when you’re hunting or running around. Of course, the orange color will help you find it with ease too if you ever do drop it accidentally. The screen itself is big enough too so that you won’t need to squint and wince when you’re trying to read the data on it.
What stood out right away were all the buttons that you can make use of on this device. Each button is meant to streamline your experience using the GPS, preloaded mapping, and hunt metrics. This way you’ll be able to remember quickly where everything is. The antenna is also made to be highly sensitive in order to improve the satellite reception even in more challenging environments.
The device itself is durable too, made to be rugged enough to withstand blows, bumps, and any sort of rainy conditions. Before even testing it out, it was clear how strong it was. You can either recharge it with the long-lasting NiMH battery or use it with AA batteries. If you do choose to charge it, the battery life can last you 17-48 hours before you need to get charging again. After 4 hours of charging, you’ll be ready to go.
Thankfully, there are no subscriptions or any set up fees required to use the device, so after you buy it, you should have everything you need.
With this Garmin Astro 430, you should be able to track as many as 10 dogs for up to 9 miles using one device, with a 2.5 second update to quickly pinpoint any of your dogs’ locations. Knowing that, you may think it’ll be difficult to set it up and learn to use.
Luckily, this device is actually quite intuitive and simple to use. There are many preloaded maps set right on there, with a year of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription included for free. There are even Hunt Metrics to keep an eye on your dog’s tracking patterns and behaviors when you’re out in the woods. As long as you have the proper receiver that will interact with the Astro 430 handheld device, you’ll be able to find your dog with nothing more than a click.
When it comes to setting up all these features, it’s fairly simple. All you need to do is charge it or input the batteries for the display to light up. The bright and easy to see display shows your dog’s current location immediately. From there, switch over to the Dog Track page to view the compass that points right to your dog. If you have multiple dogs you’re tracking, you can auto zoom the map page to see all dogs at any time. Even dogs that are too far can be notated on the margin to show you where they are.
Options like “show all,” “show some,” and “show none” help you switch between dogs. If there’s someone else you want to see your dog, share the tracking code for your dog so they can configure your dog’s collar device too.
The microSD card also lets you load up more mapping options so that you can see specifically if your dog has gone somewhere dangerous or out of the way. All you have to do is turn on your device, connect the collar, and you should be ready to test it out.
We’d heard how strong this device was, but compared to previous versions, Garmin Astro 430 has really improved the quality of both their collar and their handheld device. The new T5 collar transmitter has top mounted sensitivity GPS GLONASS to track your dog’s location more quickly even in heavy tree cover or deep canyons.
Not only is the GPS reliable, but the actual device is too. The collar is waterproof up to 10 meters when submerged, so you can be sure that even if your dog goes for a swim, they won’t break the device. When you charge it, you’ll be able to note the LED light that flashes when charging and glows solid when it’s done. Activate the powerful LED lights at night as well so you can see your dog from up to 100 yards away.
Whether you’re out in the hot or the cold, the glove-friendly display can still be used, and is still readable even under bright sunlight. For those of us going around in all types of weather, this is perfect! The improved reception range lets you hold it at every angle instead of running around trying to get a signal, while the rubberized outer coating gives you a better grip, the new keyboard design helps you use it more efficiently, and the increased storage allows you to use more mapping. You won’t accidentally push any of those buttons either while carrying it, so there won’t be mistakes.
One of the main reasons you’re considering this device is because of the maps it displays to see your dogs. Fortunately, it’s great that you not only get lots of mapping options, but you also receive maps of high quality. Pre-loaded TOPO US 100K mapping along with a free 1 year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery allow you to see specifically where your dog might be.
These maps will send you notifications when your dog is “treed” or “on point” so you don’t need to worry if they’re out of your sight. You’ve even got a compass on there to help you navigate yourself around too, which we found especially useful when we were on new or difficult terrain. Make use of the free trip-planning software to view and organize maps, waypoints, route, and tracks for both you and your dog.
You’ve got a lot of connectivity options within this device, all of which help you when you’re out hunting with friends or when you want to share data later. Astro supports a unit to unit transfer between other Garmin devices so you can link and share logistics while you’re on the go, keeping everyone on the same page.
If you’re using your dogs to search around, Garmin Astro can use BaseStation on your laptop. This will make your computer into a field control center to track multiple dogs with real-time GPS information on a larger display. Even when you don’t have cell or internet access, you can still track your dog due to the highly sensitive GPS.
How Does the GPS Work?
You know that this GPS is high quality and works even without wireless and even within rugged environments to find your dog within 2.5 seconds. There are also other ways in which the GPS works though to improve your overall experience. It’s got a barometric altimeter, an electronic compass, the microSD card slot, celestial information, and area calculator, and of course the waterproof exterior. If you’d like, you can even download detailed city street maps to create a route for yourself or to find your dog if they’re lost in the city.
Even with all the maps you have, you won’t get confused about which one you’re looking at. Garmin has an unprecedented ability to upload all of these detailed maps while using overlays so they can all work with one another at the same time.
Enhancements in the 430
If you’ve taken a look at other Garmin products, there are reasons why the Astro 430 is superior. For one thing, we found that the user interface is a lot simpler to use, with menus that are more sophisticated and graphic thanks to the colorful display. This device specifically is also built to withstand the elements, making it much better than some others on the market when it comes to hunting.
All of the optional maps help you track everything with more precision, from buildings, power lines, and even individual trees. This allows you to see if your dog has crossed a dangerous creek or is close to a dangerous road. You can also track your dog’s movements and upload them to your computer later to evaluate their performance.
Other Features You Might Like
For us, we found that the high sensitivity GPS was one of the most valuable features within this device. The tracking had such a large range that we never found that it was a problem to find our dogs even when they were far away. It was relieving to get those built in vibrations that let us know where our dogs were, and to see everything laid out exactly as it was on the maps. Here are some of the other less notable features that really added to our experience:
- It works with a high speed USB cable
- Garmin spine mounting accessories are supported
- The braided steel antenna is made to give you greater accuracy
- Your dog’s position will update every 5, 10, 30, or 120 seconds depending on your choice
- If you have any problems, you can easily replace the collar straps
- Straps are adjustable enough to support the neck size of all dogs, and optional small straps work even for smaller dogs
How Did Other Reviewers Find It?
Other reviewers loved how great the Garmin Astro worked when it came to tracking their dog. The increased security from both the sturdy device and collar gave them peace of mind when they let their dog out, or when someone else goes hunting with their dog too. The GPS is powerful and the device itself is sturdy, so if your dog has a slight tendency to get distracted when it comes to hunting, you can find them without a problem. The maps are so superior to anything else most people have experienced that they find any money they spend on the device is more than made up in the gas money they save when it comes time to search for their dogs.
Do We Think It’s A Worthy Investment?
Yes! You might need to spend a little more to buy this device, but once you have it, it’ll last for a long time with multiple maps that will keep you continuously informed about your dog’s location. You won’t need to spend nearly as much time worrying about your dog when you have this collar and device, making your initial investment more than worth it. That being said, if you’re not planning on going on lots of hunting trips or don’t need something this heavy-duty, it may be best to consider something at a lower price point.
What We Loved About The Garmin 430 With T5 Collar
- The high quality of both the device and the collar prevent any damage, so you won’t break your device quickly
- The maps are very accurate and easy to read in all weather conditions
- You can use old DC units with the device without buying new ones
- The unit beeps to alert you of any changes in your dog
- Track your dog anywhere up to 9 miles while monitoring their hunting
- You can use it with AA batteries or choose to charge if you want
What We Didn’t Dig As Much
- In order to get some of the extra mapping features, you need to spend more time downloading them
- You may need to buy the actual collar separately as well (If you get the version without the collar)
- It may still take you some time to navigate all the buttons
- The price is higher than some comparable options
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All in all, the Garmin Astro 430 is a great buy and a superior improvement from the previous Garmin releases. Its sturdy construction coupled with its user friendliness and sensitive, reliable GPS make it a good companion for tracking your dog.