Transcript from Steve's Video:
Let's take a look at the Garmin Astro MINI T5 collar. The MINI T5 collar is designed for your smaller dogs. It is a tracking collar only, and it is made for your little bitty dogs. It will go down to at least a 9.5 in. neck, and because it's a tracking collar only, you can get a little bit smaller if you need to. It doesn't have to fit really tight like an e-collar. If it’s a little lose that's not going to be a problem. But that's how small it will go down to. Let’s compare that to the regular T5 collar. So we're talking about a substantial difference here. Weight-wise, it's about 3 oz. less, but really the issue is that it comes down to is it's going to fit on a much smaller dog.
We've actually worn this on a dog that was 6 lbs., and while it wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world for him, he was able to carry it around the office without a problem. So this tracking collar is built for your smaller dogs. Really designed for your little bitty beagles, your little bitty bird dogs, your smaller squirrel dogs, terriers, anything that's going to be in the smaller size range.
I recommend this collar for dogs that are 9-9.5 in. neck up to about a 14 in. neck. Now, as you can see the strap is made where it'll go substantially larger than that, but I don't really care for it for a couple of reasons. Let me show you real quick. Once you get out passed a 14 in. neck, this is what you're going to run into. And you'll notice, this is the GPS antennae, and it's going to end up more on the side of the dog’s neck. Now, GPS antennas are pretty good, and that's not going to kill you on the reception standpoint, but it's not ideal. We’d rather it be up on the top of the dog's neck, but that's not really where the problem is. The problem comes in that all of the weight is now distributed down here. And so what's going to happen on this collar is it's going to rotate. When it rotates, that's going to cut your range. It's hard for me to recommend this for a dog above a 14 in. neck. Most of my Brittany’s have a 14 in. neck, and they can comfortably wear this, but my larger pointers are going to be 16-17 in. necks, and for them, it's really not going to be ideal. So, little bitty dogs, this is perfect, your bigger dogs, I’m not really going to recommend it. And the main reason I'm not going to recommend it is because when you go to the smaller package, you're going to lose 2 things. You’re going to lose range, and you're going to lose battery life.
Let’s talk first about battery life. The larger collar in the fastest update is going to get around 24 hours of runtime. This collar, in its fastest update rate, is going to get about 16. So 8 hours can make a pretty big difference if you're looking for a lost dog. So if your dog is big enough to wear the bigger collar, I think you're better off to stick with it from that standpoint. That's really the only major difference.
Range is the other issue. Garmin lists the range on this collar at 4 miles. -- maximum 4 miles, where they list the regular T5 at a maximum of 9 miles. Now, I’ve always felt that was a little optimistic. I've never gotten that kind of a range out of a T5 collar. The most I’ve ever gotten is in the 6.5 range, and that was with a long range external antennae on my truck. We’ve been testing the MINI collars side by side with the regular collars, and so far they've gone toe-to-toe with them. We’re really not seeing any differences in the range, so that calls me to kind of go and say what are they doing here. Why are they underselling this product? Well, after talking to some of the engineers, my understanding is that the smaller collar is not as powerful as the large collar in extreme distances. So if you're using an external antennae, and you’re in a flat open sort of situation, you're going to get more range out of the larger collar than you are the smaller collar. But everything I’ve tested here has been in the southeast where we have a lot of rolling terrain, a lot of trees, and so far I guess I just haven't hit that maximum with it. Right now the best I’ve gotten out of this collar is 4.5 miles. And that was in some pretty nasty stuff. So using an external antenna, that's pretty good. 4.5 miles is a long way for most dogs. So, overall, pretty happy with that.
All the same features as your regular collars, and you can use them in conjunction. So if you have a small dog and a big dog, you can run the MINI collar with the regular T5 collar. You can still run it with your DC20s, your DC30s, your DC40s, your DC50s, and your T5.
So, it works great, pretty happy with it, we like the package, and it's a neat collar. Just like the T5 you can take this and use it as a tracking collar only on the Alpha, and has all features as on the Alpha, but same thing there.
This collar is designed for your smaller dogs. 9 in., 9.5 in. neck, up to about 14 inches. If you've got a dog with a bigger neck size than 14 in., then I’m going to recommend that you step on up to the regular T5 collars.