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It's Here - GARMIN ALPHA 200i, well sorta


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29 minutes ago, MDash2 said:

It would seem the question for most users of the 100 is why would/should someone spend $1k to "upgrade" to the 200i ??

 

So I'm one of the folks who made an impulse buy yesterday and picked up a new handheld unit.  This was FAR from my normal mode of operation; usually I'd spend weeks contemplating such things as the pros and cons of a 6" vs 8" antenna before making such a purchase. I kid....sort of.  Well, not really.

 

So here's where my mind is at.  First, it was $750, not $1k as I already have 2 current gen collars.  Then based on eBay I figure I can get ~$300 for my current Alpha handheld so now we're down to $450 if I decide to go that way.

 

For the kind of dogs I run in the style I hunt in, I had always struggled with the Alpha 100.  It was a huge improvement over the Astro 220 that I had previously but I still struggled.  I had been considering downgrading to an Astro 430 and running 2 collars with a traditional Pro 100.  That would solve a lot of the issues but added some complexity.  The other option was the Pro 550 plus but that meant giving up the ability to see the dog's position on a map, which has proven helpful in preventing dogs from beating me to a road on more than 1 occasion.

 

So what was it that made the 200i look so appealing to me?  The ability to switch between dogs and adjust e-collar intensity without having to use the touchscreen was the primary driver.  The ability to use most of the common other features without needing to use the touchscreen was the secondary driver. Keep in mind I've spent most of my career in the ATM business, much of it dealing with human - technology interface design, so I'm far from a Luddite when it comes to unassisted self-service technology.   In spite of that, or maybe because of that, the Alpha 100 frustrated me a great bit.  The third item, which is still a bit inconclusive to me until I get some experience with the new unit, is the larger brighter screen which I hope will be easier on these aging eyes and maybe allow for text size to be adjusted up,  That one is still TBD.

 

The new unit still doesn't run a beeper but I've given up on that from Garmin.  My guess is that the ergonomics of having top and side mounted buttons isn't great but I don't see this as being an every day training collar either.  Garmin doesn't seem to appreciate the beauty of the original TriTronics transmitter interface which is a shame.  That's why I baby my Pro 100 G3 so much.

 

So who knows; maybe I won't like the new unit.  But I figure I can sell it and take a $100 loss at most.  To me it's worth the gamble.

 

JMO,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Dave Quindt said:

So what was it that made the 200i look so appealing to me?  The ability to switch between dogs and adjust e-collar intensity without having to use the touchscreen was the primary driver.  The ability to use most of the common other features without needing to use the touchscreen was the secondary driver. 

 

Could you elaborate on how the training buttons/intensity changes work on the new device?  I have an Alpha 100 and it's probably the biggest pain point I have with it -particularly when running multiple dogs.

 

Also, I noticed that the Garmin website says you can "issue different levels of audible tone or vibration commands" on the 200i.  Is this true?  I know I can adjust the "number" for a button set up to issue tone/vibrate on the Alpha 100, but I can't tell any difference.

 

I'll probably end up keeping my Alpha 100 handheld and just adding a 200i handheld - we use ours for containment at home with the geo-fence feature and when I only take one dog, my wife is SOL with the dogs that stay home.  

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25 minutes ago, OutlawTorn said:

 

Could you elaborate on how the training buttons/intensity changes work on the new device?  I have an Alpha 100 and it's probably the biggest pain point I have with it -particularly when running multiple dogs.

 

 

You should go through all of the video clips here but I believe the video you are looking for is this one:

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TRAINING SET UP - Alpha 200i (2+ Hours)

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On 8/11/2020 at 12:07 PM, OutlawTorn said:

Disappointing to see the same three training buttons.  I like the alpha for hunting and for containment at my house, but the lack of switches and toggles makes it difficult to use for training - particularly with multiple dogs.

 

Maybe I'll have to consider adding a pro 550+ controller instead - I just wonder if the collars can be paired to both transmitters at once.

 Yes, they can. I run both and use the 550+ for any dog corrections and both are paired with my Fenix watch. Out on the prairie where I ran two dogs, I just needed the 500+, but typically run both the Alpha and 550 in the woods. I really like this set up, but would be very satisfied with just having the 550+ if I didn't already have the Alpha. If dropped the 550 handheld somewhere, the Alpha would still work for corrections if I needed it (and get me out of the woods if I was spacing out or the action was hot).

 

I needed a new TT15 collar and give the discount on the combo, looked at it as getting the collar for $50 less than standalone and 500+ handheld.

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When I upgraded to the 430 I needed new collars to replace my DC 40’s so I bought T-5’s and T-5 mini’s.  That was $1900 for six dogs.  I replaced my old Tritronics GX 3’s with the GarminPro 70 system for $1020 for six dogs plus a Garmin InReach Explorer for $450.  That’s $3370 for everything but I have to carry the InReach, the controller for the Pro 70 and the Astro plus the dogs have to carry a T-5 and a PT-10 collar on their necks.

The 200i could do it all for $2300.  I purposely stayed away from Alpha 100 because of the touch screen and me always wearing gloves.

Will the 200i touch screen work while wearing gloves or are they like my iPhone and require me to remove my gloves?  I normally only hunt two or three dogs at a time.

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Here is my question. I am mostly interested in this unit for InReach, but I can't decide if I would be better off picking up a cheaper 100 and a mini InReach device, as I do other activities that I would benefit from the InReach such as fishing/hiking. I like the idea of a single unit, but this is a bulky unit to carry around while fishing/hiking just for InReach. I know the VHF antenna can unscrew from the handheld, and the unit should still theoretically work as a GPS/InReach device. But is there a way to cover the open VHF port after you remove that VHF antenna (to prevent dirt / water / etc from getting into the unit). Removing it while fishing / hiking cuts down on the size considerably, though not the weight. 

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15 minutes ago, jhmiller9892 said:

Here is my question. I am mostly interested in this unit for InReach, but I can't decide if I would be better off picking up a cheaper 100 and a mini InReach device, as I do other activities that I would benefit from the InReach such as fishing/hiking. I like the idea of a single unit, but this is a bulky unit to carry around while fishing/hiking just for InReach. I know the VHF antenna can unscrew from the handheld, and the unit should still theoretically work as a GPS/InReach device. But is there a way to cover the open VHF port after you remove that VHF antenna (to prevent dirt / water / etc from getting into the unit). Removing it while fishing / hiking cuts down on the size considerably, though not the weight. 

 

Don't know for sure but I figure you can use your own homemade screw-in plug. 

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11 minutes ago, Kansas Bound said:

 

Don't know for sure but I figure you can use your own homemade screw-in plug. 

Thanks. Yeah, but I can't imagine that would be waterproof. The unit is supposed IPX7 waterproof. Really just looking to see if there is a way it can be used as a regular gps handheld without the 5" VHF antenna sticking up. Surely I am not the first person to hope for this feature. 

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Sorry that might be a garmin question.  I have the mini but agree the Alpha would be bigger to carry.  I haven't used the Alpha inreach feature but assume it would be a lot easier to send type a text message with the Alpha. 

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WI Outdoor Nut
1 hour ago, jhmiller9892 said:

Thanks. Yeah, but I can't imagine that would be waterproof. The unit is supposed IPX7 waterproof. Really just looking to see if there is a way it can be used as a regular gps handheld without the 5" VHF antenna sticking up. Surely I am not the first person to hope for this feature. 

I bet it would be IPX7 waterproof.  You would need to add a small rubber o-ring and you would be find.  In the world I live in (food processing) I usually deal with IP69 ratings and am amazed on how small gaskets are to get to those ratings when I take equipment apart. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting, my 100 is only a year old so not super likely to drop the $750 for this, especially since I look at the watch 99% of the time and the alpha handheld is mostly a way to pass the signal from the collar to the watch. The inreach tie in is interesting as I was looking at those units last night but my gut tells me the mini would better serve my purpose for that as im not always running dogs when I would want one. If it was out 14 months ago I would have bought it though rather than my 100. If I ran multiple dogs at once same thought. 

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  • 5 months later...
shinbone

Any more user reports on the Alpha 200i?

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