Samsung just beat Apple in bringing a tracking fob with ultra-wideband technology to market. At $39.99, it’s not exactly inexpensive, but it will prove useful if you have important items that you need to keep track of, and a compatible Samsung phone will visually guide you to them if needed.
Apple has been rumored to launch a Tile-like tracker for a while now, but we have yet to see something concrete and it looks increasingly like an overambitious project that might not see the light of day. However, Samsung was more than happy to fill in the gap with not one, but two such devices — the first of which is a Bluetooth tracker it launched in January alongside the Galaxy S21 family of phones at a price of $29.99.
The new Samsung SmartTag+ costs $10 more than the standard version, and will start shipping on April 16. The main difference between the two trackers is that the SmartTag+ uses ultra-wideband (UWB) technology in addition to Bluetooth in order to locate lost items that it’s connected to.
This allows users to more accurately track important items, provided that you have both a Galaxy SmartTag+ as well as a Galaxy phone that is equipped with a ultra-wide band radio. As of writing, the list of models includes the Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and the exotic Galaxy Z Fold 2.
The ultra-wideband technology also enables the use of augmented reality on these phones to track the items linked to the fob through Samsung’s AR Finder app, which will visually guide you through the process. If you lose your phone, you can use the SmartTag+ to trigger it to ring even when it’s on silent. Additionally, the fob integrates with the SmartThings app, allowing you to use it for things like turning a smart light off remotely.
Beyond the UWB magic lies the same Bluetooth-based tracking that the regular SmartTag+ offers. Just like Apple does with its Find My feature, Samsung wants to leverage an extensive Bluetooth network of Galaxy devices via a similar, opt-in feature called SmartThings Find. This means that if your lost item is within range of a Galaxy device, reporting it as missing in the app will cause a notification to be sent to you with the approximate location on the map.
The next step for Samsung would be to follow in Apple’s footsteps and gradually open up its SmartThing Find network to third-party accessories.