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UPDATE July 2015 - this unit is now called the miniEducator. The software has been updated, allowing units to be expanded to accommodate 2 dogs (with the purchase of a 2nd receiver). Pricing is currently $200. Otherwise, information that follows is accurate, and the miniEducators are still highly recommended. -Guy
Late last month I evaluated an Electronic Collar (E-collar or remote collar) by Indiana's E-Collar Technologies. For the purposes of this review, I will be talking about their mini-Einstein collar model # ET-300TS. My impression of this unit was so favorable that I am now switching to this model as my stock and recommended E-collar for clients. The mini-Einstein runs about $180 on the street, and is one of the best Ecollar values presently available based on my experience.
The Einstein ships with a lanyard, charger, 5/8" and 3/4" tips, and a manual. The transmitter is shock-resistant and floats (and is water-proof) should it be dropped in water - the receiver is water-proof as well. The transmitter and receiver both have Li-Polymer batteries that can be recharged in about 2 hours. The unit comes with a 2 year full warranty which coves batteries, and limited lifetime warranty that excludes batteries and parts. The unit has 1/2 mile range, and 100 steps of dial-adjustable stimulation with a digital, back-lit read-out. The stimulation on these units is low to high, so it is appropriate for all dogs.
Visiting the manufacturer link above, the first thing you will notice about the Einstein models is the round or 'hockey-puck' shaped controller/transmitter(s). At first I found this a bit odd, but have often noted clients with small hands having difficulty operating controllers from other manufacturers with one hand. My wife compared the Einstein to other models I currently use, and found the transmitter easier to adjust and control with her small hand (compared to the Dogtra 280 I generally use). As I have used the unit over the past weeks, this shape has become more familiar and I have no reservations recommending it. It also places all buttons and knobs used while training on the same physical, curved plane.
One of the nicest things about the unit is that you can program the 2 stimulation buttons. You can, as with other manufacturers, assign constant or momentary stimulation to the buttons. You can set both buttons to either one or the other, or have the 1st a momentary and the 2nd a continuous. But a really nice feature is that the 2nd button acts as a programmable "boost" button. This boost button can be adjusted to immediately increase stimulation over the 1st button from 1-25 steps. This is a very useful feature that is unique to Einstein collars to my knowledge. You can also set and lock the rheostat that controls stimulation levels if desired.
The receiver is smaller than many other manufacturers, and can be worn by dogs as small as 5 lbs. The receiver collar is made of biothane, which is durable and softer than many of the plastic/resin bands from other manufacturers. The receiver also comes with an integrated tracer light than can be set to constant or blinking from the transmitter/controller. The unit ships with 2 sets of contact posts (5/8" and 3/4") which should be adequate for 85% or more of dogs. There are longer posts available from the manufacturer for those dogs with extremely thick coats. The contact posts are insulated in plastic except for the tips, providing better stimulation isolation. A tool is included that fits all lengths of tips for change outs. A pulsing, vibrate feature is also incorporated into the receiver. The stimulation texture of this collar seems very smooth vs sharp, making it a good match for even sensitive or timid dogs.
Finally, the mini-Einstein has battery level indicators for both receiver and transmitter (blinking activation lights go from red to amber to red as the charge dissipates). The transmitter is colored yellow which makes finding it on your table/counter very easy, and it has a lost beeper function that can be programmed if desired. The units are assembled in the USA. Ecollar Technologies will replace batteries, upgrade a unit's software, and warranty an Ecollar for 1 year after refurbishing it for a little over $100. The manual details use of the unit, and their warranty is a bit better than some other manufacturers with more expensive units. I wish they would include a belt clip with the device, as I use those a great deal, but an optional clip is available through the manufacturer.
Rapid charging with Li-Polymer batteries
Versatility and programability
Easy to use controller and compact receiver
Smooth stimulation texture that is agreeable for even timid dogs
No belt clip.
Round transmitter may seem odd to some
Summary: A versatile, programmable, electronic training collar that offers outstanding value for the consumer.
Next spring I am planning to write a comparison review - Einstein vs Dogtra vs TriTronics Ecollars. Watch for it.