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Apple AirTag vs Samsung Galaxy SmartTag (2021): Comparing Bluetooth Tracking Devices

Bluetooth tracking devices come in handy at times not only for when you misplace your things but also to keep tabs on your pets’ location. Nowadays, your options are wider than ever with the arrival of the Apple AirTag, Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus.

All of these got the staples right, including safety features and basic functions you’d expect from any tracker tag worth its salt. But besides their respective advantages over one another, the biggest consideration here is what mobile operating system and device you’re using. At that, we compare them on a few but important points, from build quality to compatibility.

Apple AirTag vs Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Comparison Chart

ModelApple AirTagSamsung Galaxy SmartTagSamsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus
 Apple AirTagSamsung Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth Tracker & Item Locator for Keys, Wallets, Luggage, Pets and More...Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+ Plus, 1 Pack, Bluetooth Smart Home Accessory, Attachment to Locate Lost...
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, Ultra WidebandBluetooth 5.0 Low EnergyBluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, Ultra Wideband
RangeNot stated, but speculated to be at least 100m120mBLE: 120m
UWB: 15m
SpeakerYesYesYes
BatteryReplaceable CR2032 coin cell (battery life not indicated)Replaceable CR2032 coin cell, 1 yearReplaceable CR2032 coin cell, 6 months
Water ResistanceIP67Water resistant, but IP rating not statedWater resistant, but IP rating not stated
Smart Home FunctionNoYesYes
Augmented Reality FindingNoNoYes
ColorsSilverBlack, OatmealBlack, Denim Blue
PersonalizationCustom engraving, accessoriesn/an/a
DimensionsDiameter: 31.9mm
Depth: 8mm
39 x 39 x 9.8mm (width x height x depth)46 x 46 x 10.5mm (width x height x depth)
Weight11g15g27g

Design and Build

Apple’s AirTag has more customization options than Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag.

Apple AirTag vs Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Design and Build
The Apple AirTag (in photo) has plenty of official accessories.

When it comes to personalization, the Apple AirTag has got the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag beat. In fact, you can have your initials or emojis engraved on it free of charge. It’s not all aesthetics either since you’ll be able to tell your AirTags apart from others thanks to that. Along a similar vein, it’s the only one with official accessories—at the time of writing, at least. You can fit it in a leather key ring and loops for bags, as well as luggage tags and bag charms made in collaboration with Hermès.

Moreover, the AirTag has an IP67 water and dust resistance, meaning it won’t die on you if it gets wet in the rain or something along those lines. For the record, the Galaxy SmartTag is also water resistant, but Samsung didn’t say its IP rating.

If there’s anything to complain about the AirTag, it’s that it can get scratched easily. In comparison, the Galaxy SmartTag is made with rubbery material, so it doesn’t get scuffed as much. That also means it’s better suited for those with an active lifestyle who like to rough it up outdoors.

Compatibility

Deciding between the Apple AirTag and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag boils down to what devices you own.

Apple AirTag vs Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Compatibility
Here are the Apple AirTag (left) and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag (right).

Both are excellent Bluetooth tracker tags in their own right, but with a caveat: the Apple AirTag only works with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, while the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is compatible only with Galaxy smartphones running Android 8.0 Oreo or later.

Also, some features are only available on certain models. For starters, the AirTag’s Precision Finding requires either an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12. Meanwhile, the Galaxy SmartTag Plus’ AR Finding needs a Galaxy smartphone with ultra wideband technology (UWB), namely the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Now if you use both an iPhone and a Galaxy smartphone, you’d get some flexibility here since you can use either Bluetooth tracking device. Still, it doesn’t really compare to counterparts with Android and iOS support such as Tile in this regard.

Click here to see our comparison between Tile and Pebblebee.

Performance and Usage

The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag has more features than the Apple AirTag.

Apple AirTag vs Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Performance and Usage
A closer look at the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus (in photo) and its AR Finding feature.

All these tracker tags use Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, but only the Apple AirTag and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus have UWB. Both work pretty much the same way in that they use their own respective networks—Apple’s Find My and Samsung’s SmartThings Find—to determine their locations. Through their apps, you can make them play a sound as well so it’ll be easier to find them.

On a similar note, they also have built-in preventative measures against nefarious purposes. For example, if someone attaches a tag on your vehicle or slips one into your bag, your smartphone will let you know about it so you can deal with it accordingly.

What sets these devices apart from one another is their other features. As noted, the AirTag has Precision Finding, and it tells you where it is exactly and in which direction you should go by way of sound, haptic, and visual feedback.

On the other hand, the Galaxy SmartTag Plus has something similar called AR Finding, but as its name suggests, it takes advantage of augmented reality. On the SmartThings app, you’ll get directional cues that’ll lead you to the tag, which is pretty nifty. In addition, you can use Galaxy SmartTags to control various IoT devices in your home. For instance, you can set it to turn on the lights with a click or power on the air conditioner with a press and hold.

Verdict

The Apple AirTag is more customizable, but the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus is more feature-packed.

Both perform more or less the same, and there’s no clear winner here because choosing between them really depends on what devices you use. However, it’s a different story if you own devices compatible with both.

Basically, the Apple AirTag has more personalization options and better water resistance. Its accessories also make it the better pick if you’re big on fashion. However, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is “smarter” because of its smart home integration, not to mention that it’s more durable too. But the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus is your best bet if you want more features since it builds on its non-Plus sibling with UWB connectivity and AR Finding, which levels the playing field with the AirTag and its Precision Finding.

FAQs

📌 Is the Apple AirTag worth buying?

Yes, the Apple AirTag uses ultra wideband and Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy to keep tabs on your items, sporting features like Precision Finding to let you know exactly where it is. Plus, it can be customized to your liking with free engraving of your initials, emojis, or both, as well as a dozen of accessories.

📌 Is the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag worth getting?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag is an accurate tracker tag that uses Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy, and it can be used to control IoT devices to boot. There’s also the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Plus that builds on it with ultra wideband and the AR Finding feature that gives you directional cues to where it is.

📌 Does the Apple AirTag work with Android devices?

No, the Apple AirTag can only be connected to iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 14.5 or later and iPads running iPadOS 14.5 or later. The Precision Finding also only works with iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

📌 Is the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag compatible with Android and iOS devices?

No, it can’t be used with iPhones or Android smartphones from other brands since the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag only works with Galaxy smartphones. Also, the Galaxy SmartTag Plus’ AR Finding feature can only be used with ultra wideband-enabled models: Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.