ICOtec GEN2 GC350 Review: Programmable & Affordable
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Many users may have heard of the ICOtec GC350 model and have had a load of success using it to hunt coyotes, deer, and bobcats, just to name just a few. However, you may not have been aware that back in late 2018, ICOtec introduced the new GEN2 GC350 programmable caller model.
As part of the new design, ICOtec have included a range of things that the old GC350 just didn’t have. From the feedback and reviews being received, customers were obviously wanting more and ICOtec have delivered with their GEN2 series.
The GEN2 GC350 has been redesigned from the ground up. The vast improvements from the original model will make you think you are using a completely different electronic caller.
When you take the caller out of its box, you just won’t help but be impressed by its impressive new sleek look. And of course, you will not be disappointed in the least with its performance once you try it out.
Overview Of The GEN2 GC350
To start with, it is a small and light weight unit. At just 1.9 lbs and dimensions of 8 x 4 x 6 inches, it makes for an easy carry. Although it doesn’t come with its own custom carry case, this compact unit can be thrown into your hunting pack and you won’t even notice the extra weight.
Simple design features such as a curved handle with a knob on the end also makes it easier to carry as well as hang on a branch if you want to get it up off the ground and camouflage it in the surrounding shrubbery.
Although the GC350 puts out plenty of volume for most hunting situations, if you want to get the caller up higher for better sound projection, it also has a tripod mount which is particularly handy.
With more calls than you would hope to make yourself using traditional methods, even experienced hunters will find the GC350 caller a fantastic addition to their toolkit, and help make their hunt even more enjoyable.
Does The GC350 Speaker Provide Enough Sound?
A lot of customers have reported different experiences in relation to the speaker, such as volume and quality in sound. Quite a few customers have ended up rating it poorly for not being loud enough, being hard to hear, or the sounds distorting as you turn the volume up.
Realistically though, for most hunting environments, the GC350’s 15 watt speaker really is all you need.
The first thing to remember when you are hunting is that a lot of volume is not necessarily always a good thing! The GC350 will easily call many times louder than the natural sound in the wild, so if calls are too loud they won’t sound normal or realistic to the animals you are hunting.
If you’re inexperienced at calling with an electronic caller, you may accidentally bugger the hunt up with too much sound if you’re not careful. You don’t want to scare your coyote off by making it think there is a 10 foot rabbit waiting for it!
Although it might be harder for you to hear on windy days or in hilly areas, that’s to be expected. If you find that you do have the caller up a bit louder initially to combat the conditions, you may want to lessen the sound with the remote as your game comes in. It will help to keep them curious and investigative as they work their way in closer for that perfect shot.
If you find that you still need a lot more sound than what the GC350 speaker can produce, there is the option to attach an external speaker using the available auxiliary port.
Level Up With The Attachable AD400 Decoy
Like the other GEN2 models, the CG350 also has the ability to integrate the AD400 decoy to give you more options to attract your prey. Although it does not come with the decoy included like the GC320 call/decoy combo, you can purchase this separately and your GC350 caller and remote will integrate with it seamlessly.
This e-caller works impressively as is, and with its loud and clear sound, it will usually bring in whatever you’re hunting within minutes. However with the addition of the decoy, your prey will come running as they close in to its location.
GC350 Remote Technology and Capability
The most touted featured of the GC350 remote is that it has a range of 300 yards, without needing line of sight to activate the caller unit. This distance is going to be heaps more than what most hunters are going to need, but it’s handy having this capability up your sleeve if you need to make a stand that’s a bit furtherer away.
The remote for the GC350 has 12 call buttons, set up as an A or B mode to get a total of 24 calls. The new GEN2 model has a pause button, enabling you to pause a call part way through and then restart it exactly from where it left off.
Unlike some of the more expensive programmable callers out there, the GC350 unfortunately does not play two calls at same time. However, if you do decide to use a decoy like the AD400, you’ll be glad to know that it does have an auxiliary button so you can easily control the decoy during a stand.
Another great feature, especially for those who do a lot of night hunting, is the ON/OFF backlit button to make it easier to see what you’re doing and not have to memorize the exact location of each button.
The remote doesn’t display the details of the call you’re playing, as this is a slightly more advanced feature that you don’t get for this price bracket. If this is something you really want, you will need to consider moving up to the GC500. If you are able to make do without this, cheat sheet cards are provided which enable you to detail what each programmed call is for each number.
Probably one of the only negatives we have found with the GC350 is with the remote. You do need to be a bit extra careful when using it, as the buttons can sometimes be sensitive to touch and easily pressed even with the lightest bump, resulting in unwanted sounds playing that could end up ruining your hunt.
Another thing to note is you may find that the on/off button on the remote slides up and down easily. Be careful on your first few hunts and check the remote to ensure that it hasn’t accidentally turned on while in your pocket. Although it’s always good to carry extra batteries, you don’t want it end up draining the batteries unnecessarily if you experience this problem.
Battery Requirements For The GC350
The ICOtec GEN2 GC350 requires 4 AA batteries to operate the main unit, though these are not included.
For the remote, it uses a 12-volt A23 battery which is included. In case you haven’t heard of an A23 battery, these are very common and are the type of batteries found in things like garage door openers.
If you decide to purchase the AD400 decoy, that also uses 4 AA batteries, so you will need to make sure you have a few on hand.
Although the batteries will last for quite a while, if you do a lot of hunting, you might also consider getting a couple sets of rechargeable batteries to ensure you don’t run out of juice part way through a stand.
Great Durability For The Price
As with what you would expect with any ICOtec model, the GC350 is a durable and rugged unit that will hold up in most conditions you throw at it.
Although it is not “water-proof”, you can expect it to hold up well in a bit of rain. Obviously, you can’t drop it in a bucket or the river and expect it to survive, but a light rain or snow will not hurt it.
If you do regularly hunt in bad weather conditions and are a bit concerned about it’s durability, you can tape the rubber seals up to make sure there are definitely no problems. Remember to let your caller dry out after using it in wet conditions so the internal parts don’t end up rusting.
As it doesn’t come with it’s own custom carry case, you may also consider buying a waterproof one to help protect your e-caller whilst you’re moving between stands.
If you need that extra bit of surety in case something unexpected goes wrong with your GC350 caller, ICOtex also includes a 1 year factory warranty on their products, and the feedback regarding their support is positive.
How To Add Programmable Calls To The GC350
The main difference between the ICOtec GC300 / GC320 and the GC350 is that you are stepping up to a programmable caller. This predator caller is a great programmable caller option, at an affordable price in comparison to other similar callers on the market. If you haven’t used a programmable caller before, you will be pleasantly surprises by the flexibility it provides to start creating your own customized call lists.
First of all, the GC350 allows up to 24 calls to be programmed at a time, and it comes with a 512MB SD card to get you started. You can download any animal calls in a .mp3 or .wav file format and save them to the SD card.
You will find that a 512mb SD card is going to be plenty for most hunters. Individual calls are generally going to be less than 1MB, whilst a 15-20 minute call sequence will probably be around the 10-15MB mark.
Although it’s limited to playing 24 calls per SD card, you can also buy extra SD cards to swap between different call lists for different hunting scenarios or prey types. This will save you having to re-program the same card with the different call lists you’ve set up. You can also arrange the calls on the SD card in any order you want, customizing the set up to your individual needs.
We recommend that before you start changing sounds around, you either create a file with all the original included sounds, or start with a new SD card so you can quickly access those original calls if needed.
When setting up a list of calls, it’s pretty easy to do, even if you don’t consider yourself to be that tech savvy. Although it is relatively straightforward, it can be a bit time consuming, especially if you have numerous call lists you want to set up.
The main thing is, when creating your new call list you will need to make sure you name each call file appropriately to ensure that it works. For example, a file named “coyote-howl-call.mp3” would need to be renamed to “001 coyote-howl-call.mp3”. By renumbering the files this way will ensure it corresponds to the numbers on the remote control unit.
Trying to remember all the calls you’ve loaded on each SD card can be difficult – luckily, ICOtec have thought of a solution for that too. For the pre-loaded calls that the GC350 comes with, they have included a preprinted cheat sheet call list. This can then be placed in the included plastic sleeve with an elastic band that you can put around your wrist for a quick visual reference. For the personalized call lists you decide to create, they also include blank cards to customize to swap in and out as needed.
Verdict On The ICOtec GEN2 GC350
If you are looking for a new electronic caller, or want to try your hand at creating your own call sequences without spending a lot of money, the ICOtec GC350 is exactly what you’re looking for. Although it could be classed as an “entry level” predator caller due to its low price in comparison to other programmable callers, the GC350 is anything but. It’s suitable for all skill sets and abilities, plus you can set it up to call in any animal you want, not just coyotes. Don’t be that hunter looking back thinking they should’ve bought the GC350 years ago, you’ve been warned!