Samsung recently announced a new SmartThings Tracker product, which is a GPS tracking device that uses LTE-M for sharing location information. Like the Tile, the SmartThings Tracker is especially useful for attaching to backpacks, pet collars, luggage, keys, etc.
“When it comes to connected living, we want to give people more meaningful experiences that apply to their everyday life,” said Samsung’s Senior Director of IoT Product Marketing SK Kim in a statement. “By combining the coverage of nationwide carrier networks with the expansiveness of the SmartThings ecosystem, we’re helping families keep track of what matters most to them while also continuing to make it easy to control and manage their smart home, all in one device.”
What makes SmartThings stand out compared to its rivals is that it uses LTE connectivity rather than Bluetooth. However, this comes with a monthly cost.
So how does it work? Once you attach the tracker to an item such as luggage or a pair of keys, then it can be tracked in real time using the SmartThings app for Android and iOS.
The SmartThings Tracker can be used for triggering Internet of Things devices like lights and thermostats. What are the Samsung SmartThings Tracker pros and cons?
Samsung SmartThings Tracker Pro #1: LTE-M
Since the Tracker Pro uses LTE-M, it has a better range of signal coverage compared to Bluetooth. And people can track and send location updates from more places.
Samsung SmartThings Tracker Pro #2: Real-Time Location
Family members are able to share location updates by pushing the SmartThings Tracker’s power button twice. This will send a notification to the SmartThings app. And this alert can only be seen by users who have shared access.
With the Live Tracking feature in the SmartThings app, users are able to get minute-by-minute location tracking for up to 10 minutes.
Samsung SmartThings Tracker Pro #3: Geofencing
Geo-fenced zones can be set up through the app so users can be alerted when a tracker enters or exits a zone in case a pet leaves the backyard.
The SmartThings Tracker also works as a proximity sensor so it can trigger smart home automation such as setting the temperature at home when you leave work or turning on the lights when you arrive at home.
SmartThings Tracker Pro #4: IP68 Rating
The SmartThings Tracker has an IP68 water-resistance rating. This makes the device rugged for indoor and outdoor use.
SmartThings Tracker Pro #5: Battery Life
The battery life can last up to a week on a single charge depending on the usage.
SmartThings Tracker Con #1: Price
The price of the SmartThings Tracker is $99 with AT&T for the first year at no additional charge. But then it will cost $5 per month after that. And if you pay for a year up-front, then it costs $50 per year so there are some savings opportunities there.
While the price does not seem bad, it can be steep for certain consumers especially for those on a lower budget and already use tracking services on their smartphones already. For example, my family and I use location-sharing built into our iPhones already.
SmartThings Tracker Con #2: Bulkier Design
Based on the product photos I have been seeing, the SmartThings Tracker seems to have a bulkier design compared to other tracker devices. For example, the Tile seems to be flatter in comparison.
The SmartThings Tracker became available with AT&T on September 14th. And it will be available through Verizon later this year.