Smart tag battery size. Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus: Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag vs. Tile Mate

For many years, Tile has pretty much been the best-known name in Bluetooth location trackers. The idea is a sort of a niche one — attach a small piece of tech onto your keys, wallet, suitcase, or anything else of value, and you’ll be able to use your phone to find it if it goes missing. But now other companies are in on the idea, and Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag is the latest competitor to hit the market.

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With a price tag of 30 and a sleek design, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is certainly an attractive proposition. But is it better than Tile’s similarly-priced Tile Mate, and which one should you be spending your money on? We put the two head to head to find out.

Specs

“Square-ish” is how we’d describe both of these, and they share a lot of visual similarities. The Tile Mate has sharper edges than the SmartTag’s curves, but really, that’s about all there is to differentiate the two. But size is of a much larger concern when you’re dealing with a device you might attach to your keys, and it’s here the Tile Mate really shines. It’s slightly smaller than the Samsung SmartTag in every dimension, but it’s also significantly lighter at under half the weight of the SmartTag. While we’re talking about the difference between 13 grams and 5.7 grams, that’s going to be a noticeable difference while attached to your keys.

But the SmartTag has a surprise up its sleeve. Or rather, in its casing. The center of the SmartTag is actually a button, and you can set it up to control devices connected to your Samsung SmartThings app. If attached to your keys, holding the button might turn on your house lights, while pressing it once may start a playlist of your favorite songs in the kitchen. It’s a handy little feature, and it means there’s a reason to use the SmartTag even when you haven’t lost your keys.

While the size of the Tile Mate is a big plus for it, the SmartTag’s Smart button is actually really useful, too. This is a draw.

Winner: Tie

Range

The batteries in Bluetooth trackers are often replaceable, but a longer battery life means there’s less chance it’ll fade on you when it’s needed most. Both of these trackers use replaceable watch batteries, but the Tile Mate pushes ahead with a stated one year of battery life. That’s a bigger statement of confidence than Samsung, which simply states the watch battery in the SmartTag will last for months. A year tends to be longer than months, so it’s clear the Tile Mate wins here by default.

Winner: Tile Mate

Software and compatibility

Android 8.0 Oreo or newer. Of course, Samsung is one of the biggest phone brands out there, and it runs off the built-in SmartThings app as well, so that’s a fairly broad church, but it still feels like a misstep.

The Tile Mate works with any Android device running Android 8.0 Oreo or newer or any iOS device running iOS 12 or newer. However, keep in mind that those around you have to also have downloaded the Tile app for the tracking to work properly. However, with the ability to work on a much wider number of phones, we’re giving this to the Tile Mate.

Winner: Tile Mate

Table of contents

Similar to the Tile tracker or Apple AirTag, the Samsung SmartTag is a small Bluetooth tracker and item finder. It can be attached to your keys, car, handbag or other personal item and help you locate it when it’s lost. It has a 1-year battery life, and comes with some additional features such as sound and augmented reality.

How does SmartTag work?

The Samsung SmartTag detects its location based on other Samsung devices in the area, and then sends that information to your phone. Since it relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the SmartTag can only communicate with your phone if it is within the Bluetooth range of 130 yards or 120 meters. However, if your SmartTag is outside of that range, you can still locate it offline using SmartThings Find.

Just as Apple AirTags rely on other iOS devices to locate the AirTag, Samsung SmartTag also uses a network of other Samsung devices nearby to determine its location.

This makes the SmartTag the ideal tool for finding your misplaced backpack on campus, where there are sure to be plenty of other Galaxy users around. Or it could help you figure out where you left your bike, in a city full of Samsung users.

Learn more about how SmartTag works in the video below.

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SmartTag for pets: Can you put a Samsung Galaxy SmartTag on a dog or cat?

Theoretically, yes, you can put a Samsung Galaxy SmartTag on a dog or cat. But remember, SmartTag needs other Samsung devices to work. So while it can help you find your dog – it might not be the best tool to rely on to do so if you truly want peace of mind.

Take for example this scenario: You’re in a rural, forested area when your dog catches a scent and runs after it. Suddenly, they’re out of sight, running deep into the forest, and you have no idea which way they went or how far they’ve gone. Chances are there will not be many Samsung users nearby, if any – so a SmartTag could be useless in this particular situation.

Better safe than sorry: Instead of relying on a limited range Bluetooth item finder to track your pet, it is recommended to use a GPS tracker specifically designed for pets like the Tractive GPS for Cats and Dogs.

Does SmartTag have GPS?

Like Apple AirTag, Samsung SmartTag does not have GPS inside it. Its location can only be found using a network of other Samsung devices. On the other hand, a Tractive GPS dog or cat tracker includes both a GPS unit and 4G technology, which allows you to track your dog or cat in real-time worldwide, anywhere there is cell coverage and over any range.

Buy it if…

You have a Samsung Galaxy phone If you want to easily find your misplaced items and you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, it makes sense to go with the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus. It’s so simple to use and ties into your existing setup very well.

You want to control your Smart home more easily It’s convenient being able to set up the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus as a way to control your lights and more. It’s a feature we ended up using more frequently than the item finding function. You won’t want to go back once you’ve set things up.

You want a cheap solution Tile offers great features via its Tile Premium service but if you want a one-off fee then the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus covers everything you need. It’s simple like that, much like the rest of the device.

Don’t buy it if…

You don’t have a Samsung Galaxy phone No Samsung Galaxy? The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus is useless. Buy a Tile or Apple AirTag (if you have an iPhone) instead and you’ll reap similar benefits that actually work with your phone.

You need ruggedness The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus is fairly durable but it has a lower IP rating than the Tile Pro or Apple AirTag. If you’re liable to be dealing with a lot of water or dust, one of these might be a better option.

You don’t lose anything If you never lose a thing then the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus is a tempting gadget you’ll probably never use. Be proud that you never misplace your keys and don’t be tempted by the cool tag. Unless, of course, you want some extra Smart home automation features. That’s where things get more appealing.

Also consider

Tile Mate (2022) If you don’t have a compatible Samsung smartphone, or if you don’t want to be locked into the Samsung ecosystem then the Tile Mate (and its Tile Slim and Tile Sticker variants) is a great pick for you. Tile’s trackers offer many of the same benefits as the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag are about the same price. Check out our Tile Mate (2022) review

Tile Pro (2022) The more pricey Tile Pro is more of a Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus competitor. While the 2022 model lacks ultra-wideband tracking and a few other SmartTag features it is platform agnostic (meaning it works with many Android and iOS smartphones). Check out our Tile Pro (2022) review

First reviewed: August 2021

What we like

It has a loop

The included loop makes it easy to latch a Smart Tag onto a set of keys.

A tracker won’t do you any good if you can’t easily tack it onto the item you’re hoping to keep an eye on. Some trackers, like Apple’s AirTag, nixed any sort of loop or clip in favor of a minimal design that requires an accessory to attach it to anything. Samsung took a page out of Tile’s book and added a little loop to one of the corners of Galaxy SmartTag, so you can stick something through it.

If you’re planning on attaching it to a backpack or perhaps your pet’s collar, an existing keyring should do the trick. (Fair warning, though: the Tag’s thickness makes it difficult to feed smaller keyrings through.) You could also use a chain, string, or even a Ziptie if you don’t want the tag to move too much, and the tag’s loop should accommodate just fine.

So unlike Apple’s AirTag, you don’t need to buy any additional—often pricey—accessories just to get full functionality after your tracker. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to use fancier accessories like those you can get for the AirTag, though it won’t really affect your experience.

Convenient automation features

The Galaxy Smart Tag is notably thicker than Apple’s AirTag.

There aren’t many ways to stuff additional features into a screenless trinket no larger than a Popsocket, but Samsung’s managed to bring a bit of automation to its tracker. On the front of the device, there’s a round button that you can assign to perform two functions: one that triggers on a single tap, and a second that activates on a long press.

Samsung‘s given you several actions to assign to the button, mostly geared towards making sure you don’t lose your items. For instance, a single button press could send a notification or text message to your partner or friend if someone happens to find your wallet, while a longer press might be used to change the device’s location mode between Away, Home, and Night; there’s no clarification within the Tag’s settings on what those location modes do, though. If you set up an automation to get a text whenever the button is pressed—you get to write out your own custom message—it’ll send nearly instantly.

But it’s hard to even tell if the Galaxy Tag has a button at all unless you’ve gone through the device setup yourself. It’s flush with the rest of the device, with an extremely minor bump in the center that’s hard to notice without really feeling for it. There’s a ring around the button itself, but again it’s too subtle to indicate anything on its own. That dampens the potential of being notified immediately once someone finds your tag, as they’re unlikely to know there’s a button on the device at all, let alone what it does.

Ringtone and volume options

To make sure you can hear the SmartTag at a windy beach or in a big home, Samsung’s equipped it with several ringtone options, plus the ability to control the tag’s volume with low and high settings.

There are ten ringtones to choose from, where Apple’s AirTag doesn’t let you change the pinging sound at all. This allows you to pick the one that resonates best with your ears, so you’ll immediately pick up on it next time you’re looking for whatever you’ve attached your tag to.

The speaker is surprisingly loud, too. In our testing—which included playing rounds of fetch at the park with an eager pup—the Galaxy Smart Tag’s tones carried well enough (roughly 30 feet in our testing) to track down whatever you’re searching for. This is probably aided by the fact that all ten tones are fairly tinny and high-pitched, making them easier to distinguish from more casual ringtones.

What we don’t like

Setup takes longer than necessary

Like the AirTag, just bringing the Galaxy SmartTag close to your phone will trigger the setup prompt on your phone. It’s mostly straightforward—just tap a few buttons and hit accept when necessary, then you should be good to go.

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But it’s slightly less convenient than setting up Apple’s AirTag. The Galaxy SmartTag’s process requires six screen taps to complete, while the AirTag’s takes four, and the Galaxy’s setup took about ten seconds longer to complete. For a product you only need to set up once, that would be a non-issue, but most people buying trackers opt for more than one (Samsung sells packs of two, three, and four), and those extra steps and seconds add up over time.

It’s bulky

The Galaxy Smart Tag’s loop may make it more convenient than Apple’s AirTag, but its notably larger size makes it harder to conceal.

While a tracker should excel at helping you find lost items, it would ideally do so conspicuously and not draw attention to itself. That’s not the case with the Galaxy Smart Tag, which is thicker and has a larger surface than Apple’s AirTag.

If you place an AirTag, which is slightly larger than a quarter, on top of the Galaxy Smart Tag, each corner of the Galaxy will protrude behind the round AirTag. It’s noticeably thicker than the AirTag, too, which is unfortunate because it makes it tougher to conceal on items you’d like to prevent from being stolen. That also means that, unlike Apple’s tag, you’d have a hard time plopping one into one of your wallet’s s.

The SmartTag’s hardware button might play a role in that, but it’s unclear whether the trade-off is worth it. Although the button does add some nifty functionality to Samsung’s tracker, it isn’t so ubiquitous that people will know to press it when they see a stray tag out in the wild.

Meanwhile, the added bulk makes it tougher to do something like, say, taping a tracker underneath your bike’s seat. The added bulk is just enough to make the Smart Tag more noticeable at a glance than the AirTag, which makes it tough to trust for keeping thieves away.

It only works with Samsung devices

Samsung’s opted for a locked-in approach with the Galaxy Smart Tag, as you can only use it with select Galaxy devices.

As with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, the SmartTag only works with Samsung devices. If you’re dead set on staying within the Samsung ecosystem, that may not be a problem, but it’s limiting nonetheless.

That’s true of the AirTag, too, but that’s always been the case with Apple, while it’s a more recent shift for Samsung’s accessories. So, if you’re used to being able to take your accessories—like a Fitbit or Tile tracker—with you when you switch to another Android device, that won’t work the next time around. One SmartTag costs 30, and if you’re likely to have more than one in your home, each tag becomes another reason to stick with Samsung going forward.

Should you buy it?

Maybe, if you’re already invested in the Samsung ecosystem

Although they share many similarities, the Galaxy Smart Tag is significantly chunkier and larger than Apple’s AirTag.

Taken at face value, the Galaxy SmartTag seems like a perfectly fine tracker. It’s cheap, easy to tack onto anything you want to track, and the hardware button gives you some functionality other trackers don’t offer. That said, its shortcomings make it less convenient than other trackers, and you won’t be able to use them with non-Samsung devices.

Unlike Apple’s AirTag, which also asks you to commit to a locked-in ecosystem, the Galaxy Smart Tag does so without many of the same benefits. Its settings are more complicated, it’s harder to conceal, and the software lacks the overall polish of Apple’s Find My app. You also won’t get the abundance of accessories you can find for Tile trackers or AirTags. The inclusion of the loop does add some convenience that the AirTag neglects, but it does so while delivering a subpar experience in other categories.

If you’re an Android user in the market for a reliable tracker, Tile’s offerings are more versatile than Samsung’s while also being easier to conceal when necessary. That said, if you’re certain you’ll be sticking with Samsung for the foreseeable future, the Galaxy Smart Tag will integrate better with your device and will have some functionality the Tile can’t offer.

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