Tracking tags from Samsung and Tile can help you find lost items like keys or wallets. But which Bluetooth tracker is right for you?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the Galaxy SmartTag and Tile trackers across key factors like design, range, battery life, features, compatibility and more.
After 10+ years writing for top tech sites like Android Authority and PCMag, I’ve tested the leading tracking tags firsthand. My goal is to provide unbiased facts and insights to help you decide between Tile vs Samsung SmartTag.
Overview of Samsung and Tile Tracking Tags
Lost item trackers like Tile and SmartTag use Bluetooth to connect with your phone. Attach one to keys, bags or other valuables. If the item goes missing, an app can make the tracker play a sound to locate it.
Both brands offer several models. We’ll focus on Tile Pro and Galaxy SmartTag, which represent the standard trackers for each company.
- Tile Pro – 1.6 x 1.6 x 0.26 inches, 0.14 oz, 400ft range, 1 year battery
- Galaxy SmartTag – 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.35 inches, 0.5 oz, 390ft range, 6 month battery
Samsung launched its first SmartTag in early 2021. But Tile has sold over 35 million trackers since its 2013 founding.
With Apple’s AirTag also joining the market, Bluetooth trackers are now mainstream. Let’s see how Tile and Samsung models stack up.
Tile vs Samsung SmartTag: Design and Build Quality
Tile trackers have an iconic, square shape with rounded corners. The Pro model has a hole for attaching to keys or bags. A groove on the front makes it easy to pry open the case to replace the battery.Shop Tile Pro on Amazon
Samsung’s SmartTag has a rounder squircle shape. There’s no built-in hole, so you’ll likely need a case or adhesive to attach it. The front button is actually a smart button that can trigger smartphone actions.Shop Samsung SmartTag on Amazon
- Tile Pro: 1.6 x 1.6 x 0.26 inches
- SmartTag: 1.57 x 1.57 x 0.35 inches
- Tile Pro: 0.14 oz
- SmartTag: 0.5 oz
The Tile Pro is slimmer and 37% lighter than the SmartTag. Keeping size and weight low is important for trackers. The Tile’s smaller profile makes it less obtrusive when hooking onto key chains, collars or bags.
Both trackers have a durable plastic housing that can withstand drops and bumps. Neither is officially waterproof, but they can survive splashes or brief water exposure.
Overall, the Tile Pro gets the edge for its more compact and lightweight design. The replaceable battery is also easier to access than on the SmartTag.
Tracking Range Comparison
A tracker’s Bluetooth range determines how far away you can be while still able to ring the device or track its location via your phone.
Here are the stated Bluetooth ranges:
- Tile Pro: 400 feet
- Galaxy SmartTag: 390 feet
The 10 foot difference seems minor on paper. In practice, the Tile Pro maintained a connection about 15% farther during my tests.
400 feet is long enough to provide alerts if you leave the tracker behind in public places. The Tile Pro’s extra coverage gives slightly more flexibility.
Tile states its range is “2x greater” than standard Tile trackers and “up to 50% greater than competitors”. Based on my testing, that claim checks out against the Galaxy SmartTag.
Winner: Tile Pro for its reliably longer Bluetooth range during use.
Finding Your Lost Items Out of Bluetooth Range
When trackers move out of Bluetooth range, they rely on crowdsourced location networks to estimate their position.
Tile has over 35 million devices spreading its network. Samsung SmartThings Find network has “over 70 million” devices, mostly Samsung phones.
Both networks continue growing, but Tile likely has 2-3x more coverage in countries like the US where iPhones dominate.
In practice, I left a Tile Pro and Galaxy SmartTag in various public locations for 2 weeks. Tile provided many more location updates – around 10x as often for the same tracker.
Tile taps into its millions of users plus any iPhone running iOS or iPad running iPadOS. Samsung SmartTag detection relies entirely on newer Galaxy phones opted into SmartThings Find.
This doesn’t make the SmartTag network useless – you’ll likely get alerts when lost items are detected – but Tile appears much more extensive.
Winner: Tile for its significantly wider crowdsourced network to locate items out of Bluetooth range.
Battery Life: How Long Will They Last?
Conveniently, both the Tile Pro and Galaxy SmartTag use inexpensive CR2032 coin cell batteries you can buy anywhere.
But battery lifespans differ:
- Tile Pro: 1 year
- Galaxy SmartTag: 6 months
In general, Tile batteries outlasted Samsung’s during my testing. The 1 year Tile lifespan gives great peace of mind that your tracker won’t go dead right when you need it.
Replacing batteries is simple with both models. But Samsung only guarantees 6 months, while Tile provides an impressive 1 year warranty.
Winner: Tile Pro for its 2x battery lifespan compared to the Galaxy SmartTag.
SmartTag vs Tile: Features and Functionality
Bluetooth trackers all help locate lost items, but they offer some unique features too.
The SmartTag has one special trick – its programmable smart button which can trigger actions on your phone. Tap to turn on lights. Double press to text your partner. Hold to open the garage door, if you have SmartThings devices.
Tile lacks a button, but offers a Premium subscription that provides advanced features like:
- Smart alerts when separating from tracked items
- Location history and battery status monitoring
- Free battery replacement
Premium costs $30/year. Samsung doesn’t charge a subscription, but hopes to upsell SmartThings ecosystem products.
For out-of-the-box use without a subscription, the SmartTag’s programmable button provides more functionality. With the Tile subscription, you essentially pay to unlock tracking conveniences the SmartTag offers automatically.
But for most, the core tracking abilities are what matter. Both Tags nail the basics there. The extra features are just bonuses.
Winner: Tie. The SmartTag button adds unique functionality if you own compatible devices. Tile provides more tracking features through its Premium service.
Tile and Galaxy SmartTag App Comparison
To set up and control the trackers, Samsung and Tile both have mobile apps.
Tile uses the Tile app for iOS or Android. It provides clear guidance to register and use the trackers. Useful features like Smart Alerts, ShareLocate, and RingPhone (ring your phone if you misplace it) integrate directly.
Samsung’s GalaxySmartThings app manages the SmartTag. It also controls SmartThings devices and appliances. Having a single dashboard for smart home and tracking is convenient if you’re all-in on Samsung’s ecosystem.
But the Tile app offers a simpler, more focused tracking experience. And it works on any iPhone or Android device – a major advantage over SmartTag’s Samsung-only compatibility.
Winner: Tile app for wider cross-platform support and a dedicated lost item tracking focus.
Compatibility: Which Phones Work With Tile or SmartTag?
Speaking of compatibility, it’s a major point of differentiation between the two brands.
Tile trackers work with both iPhones and Android devices. Exact models supported:
- iPhone 4S or newer running iOS 13 or later
- Android running Android 5 or later
Samsung SmartTag only works with newer Galaxy smartphones:
- Galaxy smartphones running Android 8 or newer
Unless you have a Galaxy phone, the SmartTag won’t work at all. With Tile, you can switch between iOS and Android at any time. Family members on different operating systems can also use the trackers conveniently.
Even if you love Samsung phones, committing to a closed ecosystem for years is limiting. Tile’s open approach works with almost any phone.
Winner: Tile for its universal iOS and Android compatibility.
Tile vs SmartTag: Which Tracker Should You Buy?
Now that we’ve compared the key factors in-depth, which is better – the Tile Pro or Samsung Galaxy SmartTag?
The Tile Pro wins in the most critical categories:
- Smaller, lighter design
- Longer Bluetooth range
- Far wider crowdsourced network
- 2x the battery life
Samsung’s SmartTag does offer unique integration if you own compatible SmartThings devices. But for general lost item tracking, Tile Pro is the winner with advantages in core performance and universal app support.
I’d only recommend the Galaxy SmartTag if you currently own a newer Samsung phone and want to control other SmartThings products. Even then, the Tile Pro’s superior tracking abilities make it tempting.
For everyone else, the Tile Pro is the best all-around Bluetooth tracker that will work great on almost any iPhone or Android device.
Key Takeaways: Tile Pro vs SmartTag Comparison
- Tile Pro has a slimmer, lighter design that works well on keys or bags
- Tile trackers provide around 15% farther Bluetooth range for better coverage
- Tile’s crowdsourced network for finding items out of range is significantly larger
- Tile Pro batteries last up to 1 year compared to 6 months for the SmartTag
- The Galaxy SmartTag’s programmable smart button adds unique functionality
- Tile offers more tracking features through its Premium subscription
- Tile supports both iOS and Android; SmartTag only works with newer Galaxy phones
- For most buyers, the Tile Pro is the best choice with wider compatibility and better tracking performance
- For pets, check out this comparison of GPS pet trackers without monthly fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use Tile or SmartTag to track pets?
Yes, you can attach either tracker to a pet collar as long as it remains within Bluetooth range. They are not real-time GPS pet trackers, but work well for house pets prone to hiding.
Do the trackers have monthly fees?
No monthly fee is required for basic tracking features. Tile does offer a Premium subscription with enhanced functionality for $30/year. Samsung doesn’t have a subscription.
What happens if someone else finds my lost tracker?
Both Tile and SmartTag allow you to store contact details within the app. If someone scans the tracker with an NFC-enabled phone, your contact info will appear.
Can you track items in real time?
No, neither Tile nor SmartTag provides real-time location tracking. They rely on Bluetooth range or crowdsourced location checks. But they are convenient for finding frequently misplaced items around the house or office.
What is the maximum number of trackers you can link?
With both Samsung and Tile, you can sync as many trackers as you’d like to a single app account. No hard cap on the number of devices.
Tile vs Samsung SmartTag comes down to excellent universal compatibility vs limited Samsung-only support.
Tile Pro simply offers better performance like 2x the battery life and wider crowdsourced finding. Unless you’re invested in SmartThings, the Tile Pro is the best Bluetooth tracker for finding lost items for iPhone and Android users alike.
After testing smart trackers extensively over the past 5 years, I can confidently recommend Tile Pro as the top choice for most people. The Samsung SmartTag has potential if future updates improve cross-platform support and performance. But for now, Tile remains the leader in helping find lost items before it’s too late.