AirTag or Galaxy SmartTag +; what is the difference? | Gadgets

O AirTag and the Galaxy SmartTag + are digital trackers from Apple and the Samsung, respectively. Smart tags feature Bluetooth and Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology to more accurately locate lost objects, and were launched in 2021 for their respective device networks.

But what really changes between them? And what to consider before buying? Find out in the comparison below.

AirTag vs Galaxy SmartTag + (Image: Vitor Pádua / Tecnoblog)

AirTag or Galaxy SmartTag +: it’s all about the ecosystem

If you are considering purchasing one of these trackers, it is important to understand that they are designed for your own ecosystems. This means that it is only possible to configure AirTag through the Find app, which for now is only compatible with Apple devices.

It should also be noted that Apple recently launched a program to allow third-party products and accessories to also be compatible with the location features of the Buscar app network, so the forecast is for further expansion.

The Galaxy SmartTag + is configured by the SmartThings app, in the SmartTings Find section, available only on Galaxy devices.

Samsung SmartThings Find

Samsung SmartThings Find (Image: Press Release / Samsung)

How Location Networks Work

AirTag and Galaxy SmartTag + have Bluetooth to exchange signals with smartphones and be identified by their respective applications. However, Samsung and Apple use their wide presence in the cell phone, notebook and tablet market to build large networks with branded devices that keep exchanging Bluetooth signals with each other, when there is the necessary proximity.

Thus, when you are unable to track the lost item via Bluetooth with your cell phone, the tag sends the signal to other nearby devices, which in turn communicate to the server responsible for sending the tag owner the approximate location of where the object was last seen.

Both Samsung and Apple say that their Search and SmartThings Find device networks are protected by encryption.

AirTags (Image: Press Release / Apple)

AirTags integrate with the Find app on the iPhone (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

Although device configuration is limited to ecosystems, the process of finding your tag can be a little more comprehensive. In the case of AirTags, when the owner activates the Lost Mode, it is possible to identify the tag with an Android device via NFC. Apple informs that the phone of the rival system can read the guidelines provided by the owner of the AirTag with the information to return the lost item.

Both have UWB

Both the AirTag and Galaxy SmartTag + feature UWB (Ultra Wideband) technology, which provides greater accuracy for finding lost items. With it, you can know that an object lost in the room, for example, is under the sofa cushion or in a bag hanging on the rack.

To take advantage of UWB, the cell phone used for tracking must have a chip compatible with the technology. In the case of Apple, they are smartphones from the iPhone 11 line. As for Samsung, the first compatible models were the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy S21 + and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung also has the Galaxy SmartTag (without the “+”), which does not include this technology – being, therefore, less precise when offering the location.

Rede Buscar spreads a lost AirTag signal to help with tracking (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

Rede Buscar spreads a lost AirTag signal to help with tracking (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

Similar proposals with different design

Moving on to the construction of smart tags, we have very similar proposals here: in both cases, we have very small devices, which can be attached to objects such as keys, wallets and even clothes, such as coats and lab coats.

AirTag Galaxy SmartTag +
Dimensions (mm) 31.9 mm in diameter, 8 mm thick 39.1 x 39.1 x 9.9 mm
Weight 11 grams 13 grams
Colors Silver Gray and black
Water and dust resistance IP67 IP53

The design, however, has its particularities. Starting with the Galaxy SmartTag +, the shape is similar to a square, with rounded ends, and there is a hole for hanging as a keychain.

Galaxy SmartTag +

Galaxy SmartTag + (Image: Disclosure / Samsung)

AirTag, on the other hand, is a silvery ball, but without the hole to facilitate joining with the item you intend to monitor. To fill this gap, Apple also launched accessories that can be used with AirTags. There are several options of key ring cases in different colors – the bad news is that the price, at least during this initial phase, is not at all inviting.

AirTag (Image: Playback / Apple)

AirTag (Image: Playback / Apple)

Between the two trackers, it is the AirTag that stands out with water and dust resistance, with IP67 certification. The Galaxy SmartTag + is IP53 certified, which protects against accidental splashing only.

Range, battery and resources

Apple does not say what is the Bluetooth range for AirTags. Samsung claims that the Galaxy SmartTags have a Bluetooth range of up to 120 meters (without obstacles). At this distance, it is possible to make the device emit a sound to facilitate its location. AirTags also have this feature.

Both devices have a replaceable CR2032 battery, which offers an estimated life of almost one year.

Inside the Apple AirTag (Image: Playback / iFixit)

Inside the Apple AirTag (Image: Playback / iFixit)

A function common to AirTags and Galaxy SmartTags + lets you know when you’re moving with an unrecognized tracker, to avoid unwanted tracking.

With Apple, it works like this: when it detects the tag that is not yours and is far from its real owner, your iPhone sends an alert. If you don’t find the device after a while, AirTag starts to play to show you where it is.

With Galaxy SmartTag +, you can manually search for unknown tags that appear to be moving with you.

Samsung’s device also has an asset, which is the programmable button. If you press it twice, you can make a sound to locate your smartphone. In addition, you can define the triggering of actions on other devices via SmartThings – such as, for example, turning on the lights or turning on the air conditioning, as long as they are all integrated into the ecosystem.

Pricing and availability

AirTags arrive in Brazil for the minimum price of R $ 369 (package with only one label). You can also find a package with 4 devices for R $ 1,249 on the official Apple website.

Oh, and remember the lack of a hole to attach it to a keychain? Well, an official accessory that solves the problem costs at least R $ 379.

AirTags (Image: Press Release / Apple)

AirTags also have accessories (Image: Press Release / Apple)

The Galaxy SmartTag + had not yet been officially launched in Brazil at the time of publication of this article (May 4, 2021), despite having already passed through Anatel. For reference purposes, its most basic version (without UWB) reached the national market for R $ 199.

With information: Apple and Samsung

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