Can Samsung’s Galaxy smart tag plus key tracker rival Apple and Tile?

We looked for the tracker in our house and left it in the car to test its ability to be found by other Galaxy users (iStock/The Independent)

You probably know the result now. Key finders and Bluetooth trackers — like this Samsung, as well as the Apple AirTag and those from Chipolo and Tile — connect to your smartphone and attach to keys, bags, and other belongings.

Then, if you lose them, you can use a smartphone app to track them down. As with most of its competitors, the Samsung Galaxy smart tag plus can play a song out loud to help you find it locally or, if far away, the app will show on a map where it was last connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

Like the Apple AirTag (and unlike the cheaper Galaxy smart tag), the Smart Tag Plus features Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology. This results in more accurate location data and combines with the augmented reality feature of the Samsung SmartThings app that uses your phone’s camera to track down the lost smart tag.

It also has a hook for attaching to keys and a button. The latter is a great addition because when pressed it can be configured into SmartThings to control your smart lighting. This means no more getting lost in the dark, simply give the Galaxy sign a squeeze and your Philips hue lights will light up.

Before we get into the full review, we have to deal with a major limiting factor here. Just like how AirTag only works with iPhones, Galaxy Smart Tag Plus only works with Samsung phones. Additionally, the smart tag reviewed here only works with Samsung phones that have UWB technology. This includes the Galaxy S21 plus, S22 plus, and S22 Ultra, as well as the Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Z fold 2 and fold 3.

Read more:

How we tested

Like other key finder reviews, we tested the Galaxy smart plus brand by connecting it to a smartphone and pairing it with our keys. Then we configured the brand to work with the Philips hue smart lighting system via the SmartThings app, and carried it with us every day.

We fired the built-in speakerphone to look for the tag while at home, then left the tag in our car, and parked a few streets away from home (most importantly, without our phone connected) to test the tag’s ability to find it anonymously and connect to other Samsung Galaxy devices passing by. . This is our verdict.

Samsung Galaxy Smart Plus Brand

Buy now £19.50, Samsung.com

evaluation: 8/10

The usual retail price for the Samsung Galaxy plus smart tag is £39. This is rather steep for a Bluetooth key finder, especially when you consider that the Apple AirTag is priced at £29, and the Tile mate, which is usually £20, is often discounted to £15. However, at the time of writing, we found out that the Galaxy smart tag plus was on offer at half its regular price. But even with its more attractive current price, is it worth buying? We have discovered…

Design

The smart tag plus looks very similar to other major trackers on the market, such as Tile mate and Chipolo one spot. As such, it’s a black plastic rectangle with rounded corners and a hole for mounting on keys or a bag. Like some Tile trackers, there’s also a button on the front for ringing your phone or controlling smart home devices via the company’s SmartThings home automation app.

At 40.9 mm x 40.9 mm x 9.9 mm, the Samsung brand is slightly larger than most of its competitors. In fact, the Samsung is about the same size as the AirTag when it’s inside a case. The extra size shouldn’t be a problem for many buyers, and because there’s a hole built into the keyring, there’s no need to purchase a case or stand, as is required with an Apple device.

The Samsung CR2032 coin-style battery is estimated to last only five months of typical use (compared to a year for the AirTag). But it can at least be redeemed when it expires, unlike those on the Tile mate, which are ready for a one-off recycling bin, which is impressive. Three years old is running out.

Read more: Chipolo Point is a smart tracker that works with Apple’s Find My app

The Samsung brand has a water resistance rating of IP53. This is slightly less than its competitors, but it means that it will survive the rain; Just don’t swim.

How it works?

Like other trackers, Samsung connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which maintains an always-on connection between the two while using very little battery life. With the SmartThings app, you can assign a name and icon to the tag, such as “keys” and an image of a set of keys. This is just like how other trackers from Tile, Chipolo, and Apple work.

With this Bluetooth connection, the location of the tag is shown on the map in the Samsung SmartThings app. From here, you can play the tag a loud melody to help you find it, or rely on fellow Samsung Galaxy users in case you lose it further afield. This network of Samsung users isn’t as large as Apple’s Find My network of iPhone users, but Samsung said in 2021 that more than 700 million “assistant devices” were connected globally.

Like other major trackers and their user networks, the SmartThings app will display the location of the missing tag when it is within Bluetooth range of someone else’s Samsung Galaxy phone. How well this works depends on the population density of the local area, as well as how popular Galaxy smartphones are in that country. The sign was quickly put up on a busy London street, but we think the experience will be less impressive in the more remote parts of the country.

Read more: We put Tile mate against Tile pro to find out which Bluetooth key finder is right for you

It also has Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology, which the regular smart tag misses. When the mark is close to a compatible Samsung Galaxy phone, the phone more accurately shows where it is using the arrows and an estimate of the distance. Moreover, an element of augmented reality can be implemented, where the rear camera of the phone is used to show exactly where the Smart Mark Plus is.

How good is it?

To additionally enable each smart tag feature, a little setup is required. You’ll need the Samsung SmartThings app if you don’t already have one (plus, of course, a Samsung account). Then, for the UWB-enabled Find Resolution feature, you’re prompted to download the Samsung Find My Mobile app, then AR Core, which first requires an update to Google Play Services for augmented reality. It’s all a little complicated, but in the end, you’ll get to work on it, and yes, it’s easy to locate the missing key combination attached to the Galaxy smart plus.

However, regarding augmented reality and UWB features, Samsung admits they are still in the works, saying, “We are still working on making this feature the best it can be. It may not work perfectly in all circumstances.”

We found that the phone would feel cluttered in crowded places, like a small bedroom, but it works just fine otherwise. However, we’re not entirely sure if it helps, as the Galaxy smart plus sign can be made to ring very loudly. Once you’re close enough to use the AR function, you’ll likely also be close enough to hear the tag clearly and find it through audio alone. In terms of audio, we found that we could hear the tag from a far room with the door closed, which puts it broadly in line with other Bluetooth trackers and key finders.

Verdict: Samsung Galaxy smart tag plus

Samsung’s flagship Bluetooth brand is very similar to many others. It’s a similar size and shape to competitors from Apple, Tile, and Chipolo, while offering a similar set of features. Finding a lost smart tag is quick and easy, provided you are in an area with a lot of Samsung Galaxy users, should you need their help. Being able to control smart home devices, like lighting, with the tag button is a really neat touch that’s convenient and works well.

We might argue that the UWB smart tag plus technology is not worth a premium over the regular smart tag. The feature works, but it doesn’t feel as smooth as its Apple counterpart on the AirTag. We were also disappointed with Samsung’s estimate of five months of battery life, but at least it’s easy to replace, unlike the Tile mate’s non-replaceable battery.

Overall, this is a well-functioning Bluetooth tracker and key finder, which is ideally suited for Samsung Galaxy users who have already invested in the company’s SmartThings ecosystem.

Buy now £19.50, Samsung.com

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