Important Update: Garmin Astro 320 has been discontinued. This model can still be purchased on Amazon in used condition. If you are interested in the new, upgraded version of this dog tracking system, be sure to view our Garmin Astro 430 review. For a detailed overview of the key differences between the two models, see our Garmin Astro 320 vs 430 comparison.
The Garmin Astro 320 premium dog tracking system is a powerful GPS tracker primarily designed with hunters and adventurers in mind. It does not rely on cellular networks, its communication range is impressive, it allows you to switch between multiple search profiles, from hunting to recreation and fitness, and it comes with a vast range of special features designed to take user experience to the next level.
Garmin Astro 320 is a product of Garmin, a worldwide leader in navigation and communication technology, founded in Kansas City way back in 1989. Coming from a company with such a strong reputation, Garmin Astro 320 has major expectations to live up to. In this Garmin Astro 320 review, we highlight the most prominent features of this tracking system and aim to determine whether its rather high price is justified by its quality, usefulness, and reliability.
How Garmin Astro 320 Works
The Garmin Astro 320 dog tracking bundle consists of the Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator and the T5 or T5 mini dog device a.k.a. tracking unit with a collar included. Both the locator and the tracking unit come with high-sensitivity GPS receiver-transmitters. The locator and the tracking unit establish communication with GPS satellites in order to determine their locations. They are further equipped with radio antennas that allow for inter-device communication and line-of-sight information transmission.
The dog device/tracking unit transmits location information to the handheld locator every couple of seconds. This allows the guardian to discover the dog’s current location and relative distance and direction to the dog. The Garmin Astro 320 dog tracking bundle can be used to track up to 10 dogs at once. Apart from the basic tracking function explained above, it performs a broad scope of additional functions that will be explained in the following sections of this Garmin Astro 320 review.
Garmin Astro 320 Design
The Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator is black with bright orange elements. It measures 6.3 inches in height by 2.4 inches in width by 1.4 inches in depth. It weighs 9.2 oz. with batteries. Its display measures 2.15 inches in height by 1.43 inches in width. It comes with a braided stainless steel radio antenna and a top-mounted GPS antenna. Both standard and long-range antennas are available.
The T5 dog device included in the bundle comes with a 1’’ orange collar strap. It measures 1.74 inches in height by 3.5 inches in width by 1.85 inches in depth. It weighs 6.6 oz. on its own and 9.3 oz. with the collar. It is equipped with a flexible, braided stainless steel radio antenna and a top-mounted orange GPS antenna. Both standard and long-range antennas are included in the package. The collar strap fits neck circumference of at least 9.5 inches.
The T5 mini dog device included in the mini bundle comes with a 0.75-inch collar strap. It measures 1.8 inches in height by 3.1 inches in width by 1.4 inches in depth. It weighs 5.1 oz. on its own and 7.0 oz. with the collar strap. It comes with a flexible, braided stainless steel radio antenna and a top-mounted GPS antenna. Only the standard antenna is available. The collar strap fits neck circumference under 9.5 inches.
Considering the weight of the tracking units and the size of the straps, the T5 and T5 mini dog devices are not suitable for small dogs. They are primarily designed for larger sporting dogs.
Garmin Astro 320 Technical Specifications
Being a premium dog tracking system, Garmin Astro 320 does rather well in the technical department, with a few shortcomings, including its battery life. In this section of our Garmin Astro 320 review, we will focus on the technical aspects of both the handheld locator and the dog devices.
Garmin Astro 320 is not advertised as shockproof. However, with the fully rubberized outer coating and all-around high-quality materials, it is highly durable, resistant to dirt and dust, and not easily damaged.
The Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator boasts an IPX7 rating, which makes it resistant to splashes, rain, snow, and showering. The T5 and T5 mini dog devices have 1 ATM rating (33 feet), but like the locator, they are not suitable for swimming, diving or high-speed water sports.
The Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator uses 2 standard AA batteries, not included in the package. The battery life is up to 20 hours. The T5 dog device comes with a rechargeable battery included. The battery may last between 20 and 40 hours.
The T5 mini dog device also comes with a rechargeable battery included. The battery may last 16 to 30 hours, depending on use.
The Garmin Astro 320 locator features a transflective 65-K color TFT display, with a 2.6-inch diagonal. Display resolution is 160 x 240 pixels.
The Garmin Astro 320 locator has a memory of 1.7 GB. It features a microSD card slot, but the card is not included in the package.
With the T5 dog device, the communication range can be up to 9 miles in optimal conditions. With the T5 mini dog device, the range is limited to 4 miles.
Garmin Astro 320 uses high-precision GPS. The average accuracy is about 12 feet.
Both the T5 and T5 mini dog devices are equipped with LED light beacons. The beacons can be remotely activated via the handheld locator and used for tracking in low-light conditions or after dark. They are visible up to 100 yards away.
Garmin Astro 320 features a mini-USB port. You can use a USB cable to connect the device to your computer. The device and the memory card appear as removable disks and you can access them to transfer data to your computer.
The Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator comes with a vibration motor. The same is not true for the dog devices.
Garmin Astro 320 Features
Unlike many other pet trackers on the market, Garmin Astro 320 offers more features than one can count. It is a highly complex system designed to provide an experienced user with virtually everything needed for the ultimate tracking experience. In this part of our Garmin Astro 320 review, we will focus on the most important features offered by this advanced tracking system.
With your dog’s location updated every 5 seconds and high GPS precision, Garmin Astro 320 allows you to track your pet quickly and efficiently, without any annoying delays in data transfer. The system tracks 10,000 points of information per dog, guaranteeing exceptional accuracy.
Customizable Dog Display
For maximized efficiency, the device comes with a customizable dog display, allowing you to see your dog’s name, direction, distance, status or any combination of those without ever leaving the map.
In the Rescue Mode, the location update rate is reduced when the battery level drops below 25%. This feature allows you to have more time to track your dog by extending the device’s battery life and giving you 4-8 hours more to locate your pal.
Garmin Astro 320 offers advanced map options, including BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, TOPO maps for land elevation contours, and City Navigator NT map data for turn-by-turn routing on roads. All of these are far more useful and detailed than the maps normally available with pet trackers.
Plus, map updating is made particularly easy. You can opt for On The Road, On The Water, On The Trail, In The City or On The Green maps, so you can have just what you need for any trip. The device is also Geocaching-friendly and compatible with Custom Maps, which allow you to transform paper and electronic maps into downloadable maps you can use with Garmin Astro 320.
Convey Counter is particularly designed for hunters. It is a feature that allows for the creation of special waypoints with information on the exact location, time of day, and elevation where the prey was found. It should be noted that Garmin Astro 320 allows you to have up to 2,000 waypoints, not limited to locations where the prey was found. These can also include locations like truck, lodge, food plots, and tree stands, which you can save for future use.
BaseCamp Trip Planning
BaseCamp is free trip planning software that allows you to easily organize maps, waypoints, routes, and tracks. It provides 2D and 3D topographic map data, complete with elevation profiles and contour lines. Furthermore, it allows you to create adventures and share them with your friends.
Designed to be of maximum use whatever your plans may be, Garmin Astro 320 allows you to switch between different search profiles at any time, with the available profiles including hunting, recreational, automotive, marine, geocaching, fitness, and many others.
Garmin Astro 320 can wirelessly connect with a range of compatible devices, including action cameras and sensors. It lets you wirelessly send and receive data such as your dog’s name, ID, and update rate, so you can share your pet’s information with friends.
BaseStation Computer Tracking
With BaseStation software, your computer can become a field control center that enables you to track up to 10 dogs, with near-real-time GPS information available on the computer’s large screen, which is ideal for rescue teams.
Calendar Activity Logging
The device allows you to easily keep track of your dog’s adventures with its improved calendar, which offers automatic linking of marked points and logged tracks to the date of the adventure, with all information available for later viewing.
Garmin Astro 320 allows you to view multiple dashboards from any page, whenever you need them. You can have everything from your elevation plot and coordinates to the compass arrow right where you can see them.
The tracker features a 3-axis electronic compass, so you can get an accurate location for your dog no matter how you hold the device.
It is worth noting that in addition to the more crucial features, Garmin Astro 320 also provides a hunt and fish calendar, as well as sun and moon information.
Garmin Astro 320 Coverage
While Garmin Astro 320 can theoretically work anywhere, its use is restricted due to legal regulations in countries around the world. At the moment, Garmin Astro 320 is only approved for use within the US.
The company has been actively working on making the device available in Canada, but it remains to be seen whether Canada will decide to approve its use after deferring the introduction of MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) devices multiple times.
How Much Does Garmin Astro 320 Cost?
The Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator costs $449.99 on its own. If you purchase a bundle including both the handheld locator and the dog device, you pay $599.99 regardless of whether you opt for the T5 or T5 mini dog device. If you purchase the Garmin Astro 320 handheld locator only, you get the locator, a 5.0’’ standard antenna, a 13.0’’ long-range antenna, a USB cable, a belt clip, and user manuals.
If you opt for the bundle including the locator and the T5 dog device, you get the Garmin Astro 320 locator, the T5 dog device with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery included, a 1’’ orange collar strap, a 5’’ standard antenna and a 13’’ extended range antenna for the locator, an 18.5’’ standard antenna and a 22.5’’ extended range antenna for the dog device, a belt clip, a charging clip, a USB cable, an AC adapter, a vehicle charging adapter, and a user manual.
With the mini bundle, including the locator and the T5 mini dog device, you get the Garmin Astro 320 locator, the T5 mini dog device with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery included, an 0.75’’ orange collar strap, a 5’’ standard antenna and a 13’’ extended range antenna for the locator, an 18.5’’ standard antenna for the dog device, a belt clip, a charging clip, a USB cable, an AC adapter, a vehicle charging adapter, and a user manual.
Shipping does not come free of charge and significantly varies depending on location. For shipments within the US, the shipping costs range from $5 to $28, depending on the shipping option selected (Ground, 2nd business day or next business day shipping).
The devices come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty.
Garmin Astro 320 Pros & Cons
Knowing the biggest strenghts and weaknesses of Garmin Astro 320 can help you decide if it is the right pet tracker for your furry friend. Here is a quick overview of its pros and cons.
- Waterproof and durable tracking units
- High-precision GPS
- Location updated every 5 seconds
- Independent of cellular networks
- Communication range of 4 or 9 miles
- Exceptional set of advanced and special features
- No monthly fees
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 1-year limited warranty
- High price
- Only approved for use in the US
- Unimpressive battery life
- May not be the best fit for inexperienced users