Using the Garmin Astro with Bird Dogs -- The first Garmin Astro was designed for bird dogs. This new version improves on it and it is perfect for bird dogs. Many bird dog folks are really looking forward to running everything on one strap.
Using the Garmin Astro with Beagles -- The Garmin Astro works fine for folks running beagles as a tracking system. The collar design really helps with smaller beagles over the original DC 20 or DC 30. Beagles also tend to be really hard on gear, so the rugged collar design is a must. The new collar strap will also work much better for beagles. Be careful trying to get both units on the same strap for really small dogs. You may find that you don't get as good skin contact with the really small necks.
Using the Garmin Astro for Squirrel Dogs -- The Garmin Astro will also work fine for squirrel dogs as a tracking system. I have pretty much the same concerns here as I do with beagles.
Using the Garmin Astro with Hounds -- The majority of the changes in the last two versions of the Astro have been for the hound market. The Astro has been heavily tested and used by hound owners and has done pretty well. The Astro is now tough enough for use by the hound market.
The standard range works for many folks running hounds and along with the use of both the Car Top Antenna and the Long Range Antenna have made it a product that will fit the majority of hound owners. You do need to keep in mind that the current range is still not as long as some of the telemetry systems on the market and the DC 40 battery life (17 hours with the 5 second update) is nowhere near as long as some tracking collars.
The advantages of the Astro are great, but hound owners need to understand that this GPS tracking system has some limitations compared to telemetry. If you want to run both and use the telemetry as a back up for the range and the battery life, go ahead and run them together. I have done this in the past and it never failed me.
If you need longer battery life, you have the option of increasing your update rate. Going to every 10 seconds will get you 28 hours. Going to every 30 seconds gets you 36 hours and the DC 40 will even stretch it out to 120 seconds (2 minutes) for a battery life of 48 hours.
If you must have longer battery life and you can live with less info, changing the update rate is an option.