T-Mobile’s Tile competitor solves the range problem but has a lot of trade-offs

T-Mobile’s Tile competitor solves the range problem but has a lot of trade-offs

T-Mobile has announced a new location tracking device called SyncUp Tracker set to compete against Tile, but it comes with a notable twist. Instead of using Bluetooth or ultra wideband (UWB) for tracking, the carrier’s new device offers built-in LTE.

T-Mobile’s SyncUp Tracker can be paired with the SyncUp Tracker app (available on Android and iOS), and allow users to track the device so long as it’s connected to the carrier’s network. Other devices, including Apple’s AirTags, relies on Bluetooth and UWB, and can’t be tracked unless your device or another device in the network is nearby. Thus, the SyncUP Tracker will offer much better and more reliable tracking.

“SyncUP TRACKER brings peace of mind to customer’s most prized possessions and valuables, which is why we’re putting the power of our network behind it,” said Matt Staneff, Chief Marketing Officer of T-Mobile. “From families to cars to now things, T-Mobile’s network is connecting just about anything – because it has the power and reliability customers can depend on.”

However, the trade-offs are price and battery life. SyncUP Tracker costs more ($60 MSRP) and adds $5/month to your existing plan. Meanwhile, its battery life is only 7 days, meaning you’ll have to charge it weekly. Apple’s AirTags is $30 (or $100 for a 4-pack) and doesn’t require an extra plan. AirTags can also be tracked more precisely and in areas where T-Mobile’s network may not be available, such as indoors, through Apple’s Find My network.

T-Mobile said SyncUp Tracker supports features like virtual boundaries, the ability to ring when it’s lost, and IP67 water and dust resistant. It also supports an optional feature that can detect changes in light in the event the tracker is being moved.

With lockdown restrictions being eased in the U.S., T-Mobile’s SyncUp Tracker could make for a nice travel companion. If your luggage is lost (or, worse, stolen), you’ll be able to track it under the right conditions. T-Mobile customers can pick up the new tracker from local stores beginning May 7.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.