When people think of Bluetooth tracking, they almost certainly picture an AirTag. However, that is mostly down to Apple’s superior marketing and not necessarily because it is the best Bluetooth tracker.
If you are an Apple user looking to see if an AirTag alternative can give you more for your money, or just an Android user, you’re in luck. Since the release of the AirTag in 2021, competitors like Samsung have released plenty of AirTag alternative contenders, some of them better than others.
The two standouts are easily the Tile Pro and Galaxt SmartTag2 which we will be looking at in this article to see if either is better than the original AirTag.
Right off the bat then, it has a limited user base. If you own an Android device, the AirTag is irrelevant, hence the need for alternatives.
The main problem with AirTags is their Bluetooth range which maxes out at 33 feet (10 metres). In the world of Bluetooth trackers, this really isn’t far at all. It also has a battery life of up to one year and an IP67 water resistance rating which is no more than the industry standard.
However, the AirTag does have a pretty big ace up its sleeve.
The AirTag utilises Apple’s extensive ‘Find My’ network, meaning that whenever another Apple device, regardless of the user, is near an AirTag, the owner will be able to see its location. Kind of like sonar waves bouncing around in the sea.
Along with its built-in U1 ultra-wideband (UWB) chip for precision finding, it means that AirTags can be tracked from thousands of miles away, as long as there is an Apple device nearby. This makes it excellent for use in things like luggage or global shipments.
A single AirTag currently sells for $36 or £29 on Amazon.
Galaxy SmartTag2 Features – Android Alternative
One of the significant advantages of the Galaxy SmartTag2 (and also the Tile Pro) is its compatibility with both Android phones and iPhones. Although, you will need to be running Android 9.0 or later.
The Galaxy SmartTag2 has the same IP67 water resistance rating as the AirTag, but a much larger range of 393 feet (120 metres). Like Apple, the Galaxy SmartTag2 is integrated with Samsung’s own ‘Samsung SmartThings’ offering a similar tracking process to the ‘Find My’ capability of the AirTag. You can also control other Samsung smart devices using the SmartTag2’s button feature.
The SmartTag2 also comes with UWB technology for precise locations and a nifty Augmented Reality mode which lets you visualise where your Tag2 is. Another unique feature is the ability to embed information, like a phone number, into the Tag which can then be transferred to any NFC-capable device by tapping the two together.
One major drawback of previous Samsung trackers, such as the SmartTag+, was the limited battery life of around 120 days. The Galaxy SmartTag2 blows this and the AirTag’s battery out of the water with up to 700 days of battery life.
Not only is the SmartTag2 an improvement over its predecessors, but it also builds upon what is beginning to look like a simplistic offering from the AirTag.
A single Galaxy SmartTag2 is priced at $37/£30 on Amazon.
Tile Pro Features – All-Round Airtag Alternative
The Tile Pro is by far the best non-affiliated Bluetooth tracker. As a standalone company, the Tile Pro can be used across iOS, Android and smart speakers, including Google Home, Alexa and Siri.
Tile Pro is compatible with the iPhone 6s or later, all iPads, Apple Watch 2 or later, Google Pixel 1 or later, One Plus 3 or later and the Samsung Galaxy S8 or later. As such, it is an ideal all-rounder.
It offers the largest tracking range at 400 feet (121 metres), although tests have proven this to be exaggerated, and the loudest locator sound at 128 decibels compared to the AirTag’s 60 dB. However, it does lack the AR-assisted finding feature of the two others.
The Tile Pro is rated IP67 whilst retaining the ability to replace its battery and is slightly larger than its two major competitors. One major difference is the lack of UWB technology meaning it cannot pinpoint locations as exactly as an AirTag. This is supposedly being fixed with the Tile Ultra which has been in the works since 2021.
Whilst there is no dedicated network like ‘Find My’, the Tile Pro has a similar long-distance tracking feature through integration with Amazon Sidewalk. Because there are fewer Ring Doorbell and Tile users than Samsung or Apple, this means the coverage of the Tile Pro’s long-distance tracking is much lower. But it’s better than nothing.
The main thing to note with the Tile Pro is the not-compulsory-but-recommended subscription to Tile Premium at $2.99 (£2.99) per month. Tile Premium allows for things like free battery replacements and Smart Alerts which trigger notifications if your Tile Pro is left in a location it doesn’t recognise.
Amazon is currently selling a single Tile Pro for $47 or £37 making it the most expensive on this list, even without the Tile Premium subscription.
Which AirTag Alternative Should You Buy?
The answer to this question mostly comes down to which ecosystem you are embedded in.
Are you an Apple user who has an iPhone, iPad and MacBook? Then the AirTag is the most logical option, mostly because of the extensive coverage offered by the ‘Find My’ ability.
Similarly, if you use Samsung devices, mainly Samsung phones, the Galaxy SmartTag2 is your best choice.
If you are a mixed user, someone with an iPhone but a Samsung tablet for example, then the Tile Pro is an excellent AirTag alternative. Or, if you’re working on a budget, then the Tile Mate, with a quieter ringer but the same IP67 rating, goes for a very handy $25 or £19.99 on Amazon.
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