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Samsung SmartThings Tracker review: This cellular tracker puts a high price on tracking your valuables

The Good This cellular-powered tracker keeps an eye on your stuff with a broader scope than Bluetooth, and it can even trigger smart home actions.

The Bad It's a pricey way to track, with a $100 price tag and $5-per-month service plan.

The Bottom Line The SmartThings Tracker is great for tracking things you really care about, but you'll need to be on board with making monthly cell service payments.

6.8 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 7
  • Design 6
  • Performance 7

Expanding the lineup of smart gadgets and gizmos you can buy for your home, Samsung SmartThings now offers the SmartThings Tracker. Pair it with the SmartThings app, and this small white square tracks any object attached to it. The tracker will set you back $100, and after the first year of free cellular data, you'll need to pay a monthly or yearly fee. 


The SmartThings Tracker uses cellular data to locate your lost items. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The SmartThings Tracker also works with, you guessed it, other SmartThings products. While it's a bit hefty for use on small objects, if you use SmartThings already in your home, adding the $100 tracker could prove useful for triggering scenes and turning smart devices on or off when you arrive or leave. Otherwise, I'd recommend Tile's line of Bluetooth tracking devices, in a range of shapes, sizes and features, for a quality device at nearly a third of the cost. 

The cellular advantage

The SmartThings Tracker costs more than a Tile or a TrackR, two popular competitors. That's because it ditches Bluetooth and opts for an LTE-M connection, a low-power network made specifically for IoT devices. The technology is more expensive to manufacture, but it blows Bluetooth's range out of the water. 

TrackRs maximum range is just 100 feet. Tile's most advanced model, the TilePro, has a Bluetooth range of up to 300 feet. With the SmartThings cellular approach, the range is as wide as your carrier's network. If your tracker leaves that range, you'll rely on crowd GPS and other app users to find or stumble upon your missing item. 

Cellular service for the SmartThings Tracker is included for the first 12 months after you activate it. After that, service costs $5 per month or $50 for a year, based on AT&T's service plan. Your price may vary depending on your carrier. 

Design and durability

The SmartThings Tracker isn't much to look at. It's a small, white plastic device measuring 1.7 by 1.7 by 0.5 inches. It weighs less than 1 ounce and comes with a small gray strap to thread through the tracker and onto objects like bags or purses.  


The SmartThings Tracker comes with a strap to attach it to backpacks or purses. 


You won't get the color or size options of Tile's models, and it's about twice as thick, too. However, it does have an IP68 rating for water resistance of 5 feet in freshwater for up to 30 minutes, as well as protection from dust, dirt and sand. In the Tile lineup, only the Tile Sport and Tile Style are rated that highly. 

How does it work? 

To set up your SmartThings Tracker, power it on and download the SmartThings app if you don't have it already. In the app, select "Add device" and wait for your phone to recognize the tracker. Follow the instructions for activating cellular service, and you'll see an expiration date for the free year of service.

After that, it's easy to set up notification zones. These are great for getting notifications when kids, pets or valuables like bikes or cars leave a set area. However, you can only set up two zones. I used my home and my work. The smallest radius for those zones is 700 feet. In my neighborhood, that range included four streets and meant that my child or pet could be roaming a nearby busy street and I wouldn't be notified. 

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