New Galaxy phone companion

Galaxy SmartTag+

Galaxy Smarttag Plus

Tried and true for any phone

Tile Pro

Tile Pro (2020)

If you own a new ultra-wideband-equipped Samsung Galaxy smartphone like the S21+ or S21 Ultra, the Galaxy SmartTag+ is a good choice, offering the features you'd expect from a Bluetooth and GPS device tracker along with some added niceties, like an augmented reality finder that helps you track items right down to their exact locations.

$40 at Amazon

Pros

  • Seamless integration with Galaxy phones
  • Adjustable ring volume
  • Customized smart home device control
  • Super-precise location tracking

Cons

  • Battery life not as good
  • Requires a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet
  • Phone owners have to opt into SmartThings Find

Tile has been around for years and is a leader in the Bluetooth tracker category for good reason. The trackers are rugged, reliable, and really work. The Bluetooth distance on this model is fantastic. With the rapidly growing Tile network, it's a winning option whether you own a Galaxy smartphone, another Android device, or an iPhone.

$30 at Amazon

Pros

  • Company focuses solely on Bluetooth trackers
  • Great battery life
  • Generous Bluetooth tracking distance
  • Wider phone compatibility

Cons

  • No added features
  • Can't adjust ring volume

When you think of Bluetooth trackers, you probably automatically think of a device like a Tile. The company has various options, but its top-end model is the Tile Pro, which offers an impressive Bluetooth range, replaceable battery, and multi-device compatibility. But the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+ is pretty impressive in its own right. Though it only works with compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, which are required for initial set-up, the Bluetooth tracker has some neat features you won't find in others, including the ability to use the tag to control basic functions of compatible smart home devices.

In some ways, these two trackers are very similar. But when looking at the Galaxy SmartTag+ vs. Tile Pro, there are key differences.

Galaxy SmartTag+ Tile Pro
Compatibility Samsung Galaxy phone, tablet Android, iOS
Battery Life Up to 5 months Up to 1 year
Battery Type Replaceable CR2032 Replaceable CR2032
Water Resistant Yes Yes
Colors Black, Grey Black, White, Ruby Red, Azurite Blue, Rose Pink
Connection Bluetooth, UWB, GPS Bluetooth, GPS
Bluetooth Range Up to 393 feet Up to 400 feet
Dimensions 45.72 x 45.72 x 10.16 mm 42 x 42 x 6.5 mm

While these two Bluetooth trackers look similar, there are some marked differences between them. If you own a Galaxy phone, you have the option to choose between the two. If you have an Ultra-wideband (UWB) Galaxy device, you have even more reason to get the SmartTag+. But if you own any other smartphone, the Tile Pro is your only choice. For Galaxy owners trying to decide which one they should get, let's delve deeper.

Galaxy SmartTag Plus vs. Tile Pro: Bluetooth tracking

Samsung Galaxy Smarttag PlusSource: Samsung

There are two ways to use Bluetooth trackers like these to locate a lost or misplaced device: Bluetooth, which is ideal if the item is close, but you simply can't find it (e.g., in your jacket pocket in the coat closet, under the couch cushions, or deep in the depths of the laundry hamper), or using GPS and a network of other users to locate the item virtually anywhere in the world.

When it comes to Bluetooth, they both have a generous 400-foot range, which means you can find a misplaced item in a larger space, whether it's a multi-level home, the entire floor of an office, a department store, or a packed parking lot. But the Galaxy SmartTag+ wins in this respect with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology that can pinpoint the location of a device with incredible accuracy, as in a matter of inches. This is great if dropped your car keys, for example, in a busy shopping center and need to be able to find their exact location to avoid getting down on your hands and knees searching under and behind every display, rack, crook, and crevice.

Galaxy Smarttag Plus Ar FinderSource: Samsung

The accurate tracking is aided by a cool feature called AR Finder that uses your phone's camera to tell you exactly how far away you are from the device, pointing you in the correct direction as if you were playing a game of hot and cold. However, there is a catch: It only works with UWB-equipped phones, which currently includes the new Samsung Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. If you own one of those two devices, it's seriously worth considering the Galaxy SmartTag+ over the Tile Pro. If you don't, however, you won't be able to use these cool features. Also, note that to use the SmartTag+ period requires a Samsung Galaxy device with Android 8.0 or higher and at least 2GB RAM.

The Tile Pro has one feature that I have found I use even more often than its primary intended purpose: two-way find. This lets you press and hold the button on the Tile to find your phone instead of the other way around. I can't count how many times I have plopped my phone down somewhere in the house then couldn't remember where it was. Of course, this only ever happens when I'm trying to rush out the door to get somewhere! One press on the Tile, and I can follow the sweet, sweet chimes to find my smartphone and get on my way.

Galaxy SmartTag Plus vs. Tile Pro: Finder networks

Tile Pro in handSource: Tile

For the finder network, both trackers use a large community of users to help pinpoint the location of your tracker should it be completely lost or even stolen. The Galaxy SmartTag+ uses Samsung's SmartThings Find to help you locate the item on a map. While there's a massive number of Galaxy smartphones out there because users have to opt to allow the tracking, not every Samsung Galaxy smartphone owner will be part of the community. Samsung boasts 70 million users registered for SmartThings Find as of October 2020. Out of its 700 million potential users, it claims to be "one of the fastest-growing location services." But how big the network will actually depend on Samsung Galaxy device owners opting to use SmartThings Find (or not).

By contrast, however, it can be assumed that every Tile owner has their Bluetooth tracking turned on and is part of the community since, of course, it would defeat the purpose of buying such a community-based device in the first place if you weren't going to participate. To date, there have been 30 million Tiles sold, and Tile says that in certain cities like New York and San Francisco, you can't go more than a block without coming into contact with at least one active Tile user. Additionally, Tile has forged partnerships with third-party companies to expand its network of devices, including Fitbit, HP, and Sennheiser, among others. This expands the potential for the Tile user network to usurp Samsung possibly.

With the Galaxy SmartTag+, as soon as you report your SmartTag+ as missing (and thus the item it's attached to), if a nearby device alerts the service, you will receive a notification telling you where the item is so you can retrieve it. All the data is encrypted and protected, so only you will see the location information, no one else. There's also a randomized ID that changes every 15 minutes for further peace of mind regarding security.

Tile Pro (2020)Source: Tile

Tiles work similarly in that you can pinpoint the location of the missing item. Tile also assures that location data is never used for marketing or to sell personal information.

With its Premium paid option, you can enjoy additional benefits like Smart Alerts that send alerts if you left a Tile behind, access 30-day location history, unlimited sharing with friends and family, free battery replacement, a three-year extended warranty, and premium customer support.

Galaxy SmartTag Plus vs. Tile Pro: Design and other features

Both devices are small and square in size, though where the loop is on the GalaxyTag+ makes it diamond versus square-shaped. The Tile Pro is slightly smaller than the GalaxyTag+, making it appealing for smaller items. There are more Tile color options, including basic black and white, ruby red, Azurite blue, and rose pink. Tile offers special limited-edition designs from time to time, such as floral patterns or customized Tiles for Mother's Day. The Galaxy SmartTag+ only comes in black or denim blue.

Samsung Galaxy Smarttag Plus Denim Black BackgroundSource: Samsung

Both use a replaceable and easily found CR2032 watch battery, though the Tile will run for twice as long at up to a year versus five months with the Galaxy SmartTag+. Consider that if you use features like the AR Finder on the SmartTag+, the battery might delete even quicker than that. Both are also water- and dust-resistant, which means they can't be submerged, but if you get caught in the rain or fall in the snow for a short period, they should be OK.

From a customization perspective, you get more with the Galaxy SmartTag+. You can, for example, adjust the volume from mute to normal and loud, whereas the Tile only has one deafening volume level. That said, the purpose of using it in the first place is to be able to find the item to which it's attached, so is there really a need for a quieter volume, or even mute? The Galaxy SmartTag+ has downloadable ringtones and eight presets, so you can even customize the sound of the ring, which is neat.

Where the Galaxy SmartTag+ really excels, again, only for owners of compatible devices, is the ability to customize what the tag does when you press and hold its button. As noted, with the Tile, this can only ring the phone for a two-way set-up. With the Galaxy SmartTag+, you could program this button to operate basic functions of a compatible smart home device, like turn a table lamp off if you forgot to do so before leaving the house.

Tile Pro (2020)Source: Tile

With the Tile Pro, however, it offers cool accessories like adhesives so that you can attach it to more things, like a backpack, headband of a headphone, or other valuable items. They're also sold in different packs, including two- and four-packs, and sometimes come bundled with other Tile products, so you get a variety of options at a discounted price to use on several items.

Galaxy SmartTag Plus vs. Tile Pro: Which do you choose?

Tile Pro HeroSource: Tile

The choice between the Galaxy SmartTag+ vs. Tile Pro is simple if you own a non-Galaxy Android phone or an iPhone: go with the Tile Pro. But if you own a Samsung Galaxy device, especially a new S21+ or S21 Ultra, you might want to make use of the cool features available in the Galaxy SmartTag+.

The AR Finder is really cool and can come in handy during those times when you know your device is nearby but still can't quite place it. That said, assuming you have decent hearing, the audio alone should be enough to guide you to the location. So, the AR Finder might be more of a "cool" than truly necessary. That said, it really depends on where you misplaced your item. If your car keys have fallen into a ball-pit in a kids' play place, for example, AR Finder might be your best friend. Consider that as an alternative, the regular Samsung SmartTag is also a cheaper option for Samsung Galaxy non-UWB device owners that still offers all of the other benefits and features, like SmartThings Find.

Given the closed ecosystem design of the SmartTag+, the Tile Pro remains the most versatile option with a community of millions of users around the world that are willing and able to help you locate missing items and hope you will do the same for theirs. The generous battery life of the Tile Pro is appreciated, and the two-way finder feature has been a lifesaver (or at least a time saver) for me on many occasions. With more and more industry partners joining the Tile network, it's a great option for both Android and iOS device users alike and one that even Galaxy device owners should consider, too.

High on cool factor

Galaxy Smarttag Plus

Galaxy SmartTag+

Laser-precise tracking

Thanks to features like ultra-wideband connectivity and AR Finder, you can track your misplaced item with laser accuracy. But keep in mind that this only works with UWB-equipped Samsung Galaxy phones, limiting the target market for this device.

Can't go wrong

Tile Pro (2020)

Tile Pro

Great for anyone

No matter what phone you have, the Tile Pro is a great device to consider that offers reliable Bluetooth tracking with an impressive up to 400-foot range along with its widely growing base of Tile community users. The battery life also can't be beaten.

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