The Apple AirTag against its main rivals: this is how it works against the Samsung SmartTag and the Tile

Apple AirTag is not a new device to its users but it has competitions with other brands. Although yesterday we saw major changes in the new iMac and the new iPad Pro, one of the products that captured the most interest were the simplest (and cheapest) that were presented: the Apple AirTags. It is a type of product that is not new at all, so we see it interesting to see how the Apple AirTag is compared to the competition that it already had before it was born.

One of the most recent to be presented was the Samsung SmartTag , although speaking of locators, the one of ” all life ” is the Tile. Which option is more complete? What limitations do they have? Which one is more competitively priced? We see it in detail.

Apple AirTag Specification

DIMENSIONS31.9mm diameter
8.0mm thick
WEIGHT11 grams
ENDURANCEIP67 certified (up to 1 meter for 30 min)
CONNECTIVITYBluetooth
Apple U1 (UWB)
NFC
SOUNDBuilt-in loudspeaker
DRUMSReplaceable CR2032 battery (included)
SENSORSAccelerometer
COMPATIBILITYiPhone with iOS 14.5 or higher
iPad with iPadOS 14.5 or higher
PRICE35 dollars

Apple offers AirTags an object locator with encrypted information that, as you might think, is focused on its own ecosystem, running with the “Find My” app. It works with NFC, Bluetooth and ultra-wideband (UWB), so that the location of the device is displayed on a map (and if it is in Bluetooth range, it can be made to emit a sound).

Apple AirTag

They are easily linked to the iPhone, in the style of Apple AirPods or HomePods and the software allows you to assign AirTag to an object, specifying the name. Siri can also be a way to receive information, being able to ask where our object is.

AirTags measure 31.9 millimeters in diameter, weigh 11 grams and are IP67 resistant. In addition, they can be personalized with an engraving (including emojis). The price: 35 euros a unit or 119 dollars a pack of four (as of April 30).

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag +

Measures40 x 40 mm
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0 LE
Ultra Broadband (UWB) on SmartTag +
DrumsCR2032
220 mAh battery (depends on battery)
Autonomy280 days approximately
ProtectionIP53
Mobile appSmartThings
Price39.91 dollars

As we will see for Tiles, and unlike AirTags, Samsung SmartTags are square (with rounded corners). The difference between the base model and the “+” is not in the design, but in that the SmartTag + does have UWB, but in both cases the information is encrypted.

The SmartTags have a resistance certification IP53 and eye, they do not work with rechargeable battery, but with batteries of type CR2032 (like those used in some remote controls, household devices, etc.). The brand talks about 280 days of autonomy until it has to be replaced.

Galaxy SmartTag
Galaxy SmartTag

SmartTags are also used to carry out actions of SmartThings ( Samsung’s IoT network ), such as turning on the lights at home. This happens in part thanks to the fact that they have a physical button that can be customized in this regard.

Thus, with the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag we can locate devices within a range of 120 meters, which is the maximum distance that can be tracked by Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy. In the case of SmartTag +, you can show us the search result with augmented reality.

Samsung SmartTags are now available for purchase for 39.91 dollars (per unit). The SmartTag + are not available for now (in theory it was April 16, but at the moment there is no availability).

Tile

As we said at the beginning, those from Tile have been around for many years (eight!) And today they have various types of product, of greater and lesser complexity and performance.

TILE STICKERTILE SLIMTILE MATETILE PRO
Measures27mm x 7.3mm86mm x 54mm x 2.4mm35mm x 35mm x 6.2mm42mm x 42mm x 6.5mm
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetoothBluetoothBluetooth
DrumsIntegrated (3 years)Integrated (3 years)CR1632 batteryCR1632 battery
scope46 meters61 meters61 meters122 meters
WaterproofWaterproofWaterproofResistantResistant
Mobile appTile AppTile AppTile AppTile App
Price39.99 dollars (pack of two)29.99 dollars (one unit)24.99 dollars (one unit)34.99 dollars (one unit)

While the Sticker is a small product that adheres to the objects to be located, the rest of the Tiles maintain the keychain format. The differences between one model and another lie in the range, as we can see in the table, achieving the maximum with the Pro.

Tile
Tile

The resistance to water at the IP certification level is not specified, but we know that the Slim and the Sticker are waterproof and that the Pro and Mate have some resistance, in any case focused on the fact that rain is not a problem and that, in In the case of the Mate and Pro, we can use them with our pet. The Slim format is designed so that it passes at the level of dimensions like a credit card or electronic key.

They all work with Bluetooth and at the moment there is no option with UWB, resorting to the Tile app for its use. And in terms of power, both the Pro and the Mate (thicker) use a replaceable CR1623 type battery, while the Sticker and Slim have an integrated battery that lasts three years, according to the manufacturer.

They are sold individually, except in the case of the Sticker. The prices on the web are 39.99 euros for a pack of two of the Tile Sticker, 29.99 dollars per unit of the Tile Slim, 24.99 for the Tile Mate and 34.99 dollars for a unit of Tile Pro, but We can find other offers (sometimes in a pack of two) on Amazon.

The locators from you to you

The most obvious differences, without getting into the technical, are in the design part . The Apple AirTag slightly more compact than the Tile Mate, while the Samsung SmartTag is more or less like the Tile Pro, both a little larger than the Apple, which is also the only one with a circular shape.

Secondly, we see that the Tiles are limited to Bluetooth, while those of Samsung and Apple resort to the UWB, more precise than Bluetooth. In each case we see the possibility that the network of users helps the location , with variations in each one.

In Tile they resort to their network of users, so that a Tile can be located via another user without the latter being aware. Using the “Notify when found” option, any mobile phone that has the app installed will be able to make the user receive a notification with the location, which will become the last one registered by the system.

In the case of Apple we see that thanks to “Find My” compatible Apple devices (iPhone, iPad or Mac) can act as an antenna so that the location is broadcast, without those users (or Apple) seeing the information. In addition, if someone finds the AirTag and brings their NFC-enabled device (it could be an Android mobile ), a link appears that facilitates the notification to the owner that it has been found. You do not have to have any app installed, but in the first case it has to be an Apple device and in the second the user has to bring the mobile closer, as a scan (and the link will appear in the browser).

For SmartTags, as published by Samsung, the SmartThings Find service allows you to locate SmartTags (and other devices registered in SmartThings). For now it works on devices registered in the ecosystem and compatible with Smartthings Find (Samsung phones and tablets with Android 8, Galaxy Watch 3 , Galaxy Watch Active2 , Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds + ), so they would serve as “unintentional sneaks “about 70 million devices (according to Samsung), being for now somewhat more restricted than the function of AirTags.

In terms of interaction, it is those of Apple that do not have a physical button . Both the Tiles and the SmartTags have a button, both for locating the object and for the special SmartThings functions that we mentioned, such as turning off the TV.

At the battery level, AirTags have a C2032 battery (like SmartTags) that according to Apple lasts one year and can be changed. The same does not happen with the integrated battery Tiles, which cannot be replaced (it is possible in the case of the Mate and Pro). In SmartTags, the C2032 battery can also be replaced without also misconfiguring anything, as we discussed in its analysis.

The price per unit is not so differential in some cases. Tile’s Slim and Mate models are the cheapest (there is Mate on Amazon for 16 euros, as we have indicated before), so they are the cheapest. The most powerful model of Tile (and more at the height of the rivals, taking into account the benefits of the SmartTag +) is placed at 34.90 dollars, somewhat below the base SmartTag and the AirTag, but these three are among the 35 and 40 dollars.

One thought on “The Apple AirTag against its main rivals: this is how it works against the Samsung SmartTag and the Tile

  1. Actually, it can use any iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 14.5 or later, or iPad running iPadOS 14.5 or later. The iPhone 11 and 12 are the only ones that can do precision finding since it has the new U1 chip.

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