Review Snapshot
Pros

Top of the range system. Great manufacturer. Good features including Bird's Eye view and off-screen dog tab.

Cons

Some issues with the advertised range of the antenna. Occasional signal loss.

Verdict

The Rolls Royce of sporting dog tracking systems. Garmin is continually working on upgrades and improvements.

Reviewed by:
Jackie Gay : A published novelist, editor and university teacher, Jackie has recently moved t...Member Reputation 177 • 199 active Krits
Garmin Astro 320 GPS Dog Tracker from Garmin
Garmin Astro 320 GPS Dog Tracker Review
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Garmin Astro 320 GPS Dog Tracker detailed information
Product Details at Amazon ™

REVIEW: Garmin Astro 320 - GPS for Tracking Sporting Dogs

The uses for GPS tracking technology are seemingly endless and at our fingertips these days, with mapping functions on our smartphones.

And Garmin has been an innovator in the business from the beginning - ever since the US Government made civilian use of their satellites available in the 1980s.

But had you thought of using GPS tracking for your dog?

As one of the businesses in this growing market coins it, 'Is the Doggone Dog Gone Again'?

As usual with the electronics market there is a wide range of products available, with the latest Garmin Astro 320 GPS Tracker for Sporting Dogs taking the crown jewels.

The Astro is the most advanced GPS dog-tracking device on the market today. 'The Cadillac of GPS tracking devices', it was specifically designed for tracking hunting dogs. 

This device works anywhere in the world. With its durable collar, your dog can swim, roll in mud, or travel through thick brush and you'll still know where it is. With a 13-mile range and detailed maps that include 'bird's eye viewing', the system can track up to 10 dogs simultaneously.

At $599.99 it is the most expensive tracking device on the market but 'worth every cent'.

And Garmin also produce a wide variety of versions with varied features and functionality depending on your requirements.

To get started, you just take Astro outdoors and turn on the handheld and transmitter to acquire GPS satellite signals. Then attach the collar to your dog. Now youre ready to turn him loose no other setup required.

The Astro's high-sensitivity GPS receiver can track your dogs position even in the densest cover. 

Other features (in a long list) include built in vibration motor to support silent alerts, wireless dog sharing (so you can follow a fellow hunter's dogs and vice versa); wireless transfer to waypoints, routes, tracks etc. and an 'off-screen' dog feature which will shows a tab of the dog in relation to the map you are viewing.

So are hunters using this system and what do they think?

'This tracker is worth the money,' reports one. 'Have seen other trackers that cost just as much or more that do not have the features the Garmin does. There is just no comparison. Could not see myself hunting without it now.'

And this sentiment is echoed by others. Just like mobile phones, users think, 'how did I ever manage without it.'

'This GPS is awesome,' reports a customer. 'You can track your dogs with pinpoint accuracy. The downloadable satellite imagery makes the tracking even more simple. A must have for dog hunters.'

A lot of customers have owned previous versions of the Astro and they like the upgrade.

'Bought this 320 after owning a 220 for almost 2 years,' said one.  'I have used it for about 2 months now almost every feature has been improved. The Bird's Eye view is why I'll never do without one.'

'Another great product from Garmin,' reports another upgrader. 'I own an Astro 220 and use it each weekend to track my hounds, the added features and capability on the 320 make the upgrade worthwhile.'

It should be noted that the Bird's Eye view feature costs extra ($30 per year), but the hunters love it.

'This thing is AWESOME!,' said one. 'Take the time to learn to download and use the Bird's Eye View. You can use the Satellite Picture to pick the easiest walk through the woods to your dogs, and heck, you can actually see the tree they are treed in.'

'Garmin Astro 320 has hit it out of the park with this system,' says another. 'I have two squirrel dogs and they like to go out deep sometimes. I know right where they are now. I swear by it. I'am still learning all the features, which are many.'

There were some issues raised about range and reception, however. 'Please note that you are not going to get more range than the 220, you just have another antenna option,' said one customer. 

And many people reported that the advertised range was way too much. 'Great reception up to 2 miles away through bluffs, trees, and 400-500ft ravines,' said another. 

It does have a greater range in 'straight line' country. But over rough ground it only 'consistently delivered 1 to 2 miles.'

And experienced users advise you recalibrate your unit every time you use it (easy to do and good instructions available).

A few people reported problems with signal loss and some customers thought the dog collars were too bulky. 

But overall customers agreed that this unit is, 'worth every penny to keep the dogs safe'

'This thing has made coon hunting with dogs so much easier, and a whole lot more fun than before,' said one customer.

'Get it, you'll wonder how you ever hunted without it!'

Check out further details and purchase here.
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2012, 9:25 am
Reviewed by Jackie Gay
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