Samsung’s SmartTag is a Bluetooth powered tracker that works with Samsung phones (and only Samsung phones) as a way to find lost items or a trigger button for smart routines. It’s not a bad first try, but Tile’s similar trackers are more convenient and much more widely compatible.
The SmartTag ($ 29.99) is a small black square with a hole for your keychain or clip. At 1.54 inches square and 0.39 inches thick, it’s taller and thicker than the Editor’s Choice winning tracker, the Tile Mate ($ 24.99). Plus, it’s a bit bulbous in the middle, so you won’t want to put it in your wallet. It’s rated IP53 for water resistance, and if you open it up you can replace the CR2032 battery just like with the Tile Mate.
A signal strength indicator shows how close the SmartTag is to your Samsung phone. It works … mostly.
For now, it works with any Samsung Galaxy phone running Android 10 and the latest version of Samsung’s SmartThings Find app. The app is integrated into Samsung’s UI drop-down window, so it’s always available. The beacon is automatically detected when you tap to add a new device, and it’s easy to set up.
Your phone can ring your SmartTag, and vice versa. The SmartTag also has a feature that Tile lacks: it can be used to start home automation routines through Samsung’s SmartThings app. You can configure the app to turn other devices on and off or send notifications when the beacon is pressed or long-pressed. SmartThings doesn’t control as many devices as Alexa and Google Assistant do; it mainly works with Samsung products.
You can choose from 10 thin ringtones. The piercing tones go to 89dB at six inches, which is slightly louder than the Tile Mate and considerably louder than the Tile Slim.
SmartThings Find is integrated into Samsung’s phone software.
Short (worn) in the tooth (blue)
My phone remained connected to the SmartTag via bluetooth at a distance of about 60 feet. Apart from that, the app displays a five minute timer during which it will continue to search for the tag. Our tests show that Tile Mate has a range of around 100 feet, and Tile Pro Sport reaches around 165 feet. If you need exact remote positioning further away, you have to look at a GPS and cellular tracker like the Jiobit.
In Bluetooth range, you follow a signal strength indicator to find your gadget if you don’t hear it beeping. The meter usually gets louder the closer you get, although I didn’t find it fully accurate; sometimes it didn’t show maximum strength even when I held it right next to the tracker.
Samsung says the $ 39.99 SmartTag Plus, coming later this year, will use UWB positioning. When used with a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra or S21 Ultra, your phone will be able to tell which direction the SmartTag Pro is facing, eliminating the play of hot and cold. Tile does not yet have this technology.
A map shows where your tag was last seen.
If there is no Bluetooth connection, you can invoke a map to show where the SmartTag was last seen connected to a phone. It is not real time tracking; I found there was a delay of about five minutes. It is not intended when you are looking for your keys. I also found that like most researchers of this type, he sometimes told me that my device was in the next building. This place can settle down after a while; it seems that the longer your keys are lost, the more accurate the viewfinder.
As Tile does, Samsung says the SmartTag will interact with other people running the app so that if someone with the SmartThings app walks past your lost beacon, it will update on your own map. Right now, however, not many people have these devices, so I don’t see this as a useful feature yet.
The tag attaches to things you might lose.
Not yet remarkable
A Bluetooth powered tracker should generally be as cheap, small, and loud as possible. The Tile Mate has had years of refinement to make it happen, and the Samsung SmartTag is struggling to catch up. It has a shorter range and less than an existing user network, and is only compatible with Samsung phones. You shouldn’t throw it away if you get it for free, but it certainly says something that immediately after writing this review I’m planning on purchasing a four-tile pack.
Samsung’s next UWB tracker will likely be more appealing. For now, the SmartTag is the icing on the S21 sundae cake: tasty, but not much on its own.
The bottom line
Samsung’s Bluetooth tracker works well, but it’s too big and limited to compete with Tile.