Customer Review

93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of potential, reliable but still needs work, June 23, 2012
This review is from: Samsung TecTiles (5-Pack), Programmable Near Field Communication Tags for Samsung NFC Galaxy S3, S2, S, Note 2, Note and NFC Enabled Phones (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus (an NFC-capable device) the same week that Samsung announced TecTiles, so I was excited to give them a try. As the video from Samsung and many reviewers suggested, I was most looking forward to sticking one in my office, my car and on my nightstand to quickly apply a batch of settings.

The underlying technology of the TecTiles works great - any time my phone is powered-on and unlocked, I can wave it over a TecTile tag and it reads reliably. The shortcoming of this product is on the software side - specifically, the TecTiles app that Samsung provides to accompany the physical tags. While the app does allow you to adjust phone settings, the useful options are limited. You can turn individual peripherals (such as WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) on and off, set the ringer volume, and set an alarm, among other less-interesting settings. The app also features a "toggle" setting for turning things on and off; it hasn't worked for me, defaulting to turning the associated peripheral to the "on" state every time.

More importantly, while the app provides a variety of actions your phone can take after scanning a TecTile, they are grouped into mutually-exclusive categories. There doesn't appear to be a way to program actions from more than one category into a single TecTile. For example, I prefer the standard alarm clock to the one bundled into the TecTiles app, so I'd like to set my nightstand tag to set my ringer volume to vibrate and launch the standard Android alarm clock app. Unfortunately, since the settings and the "launch any app" actions are in different categories, I can't program a single tag to perform them both.

Overall, the TecTiles product has a lot of potential, but the accompanying Samsung app is a letdown in terms of capability. I hope that Samsung will allow more flexible programming of tag actions, and add more actions to the list of what's possible. I also look forward to seeing what the maker/modder community will come up with to leverage these tags!
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 23, 2012 12:10:04 PM PDT
Awesome review. You really helped me understand the product as I try to decide between purchasing and waiting. I'm extremely interested in NFC but the limitations you mentioned seem to greatly constrict that overall utility. That's unfortunate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 12:18:52 PM PDT
Thanks Joel - I still enjoy and use the product, but I think it has some growing left to do. Thankfully, none of its limitations are due to hardware - and both Samsung and the independent software community have a lot of headroom to grow. At $3 per tag, it's a cheap bet on a bright future.

Posted on Jun 23, 2012 9:42:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2012 9:42:44 PM PDT
You should be able to use any NFC tag-programming app with any NFC tag--they all use the same technology and are therefore interchangeable. That's how I understand it, anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 11:01:19 AM PDT
Nearly correct - there are a lot of common RFID tags that are NFC-compatible; the tags sold my Samsung as TecTiles are ISO 14443 Type A tags with 1K of memory. Samsung uses this to store a simple text+binary string that's interpreted by the App to perform the actions. If I get ambitious, I might try manipulating this a bit to see if I can tweak it to perform multiple actions...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 11:02:07 AM PDT
Also, a quick search through Google Play store also indicates that Samsung aren't the first to go after NFC tag action apps - there are several others, and I'm guessing they'll likely work with TecTiles tags since they're standard.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 10:19:52 AM PDT
cecilia says:
I also found the TecTile Software to be a bit too simple, although I had no difficulty programming a successful Toggle. I went looking for other NFC software in Google Play and there's plenty to work with. Just pick a few and test them out for what you need. Some can even add additional abilities to a TecTile that has already been programmed by the Samsung software

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 2:02:22 AM PDT
Adewale says:
great review...i think a way out is for Samsung to allow 3rd party NFC apps work with the TecTile if that is a possible option...just put the TecTiles out there and leave open like the Android OS itself

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 5:27:38 AM PDT
JCR says:
In response to your problems with the toggle function, I found that with the phone in landscape mode, the toggle would usually toggle twice (so, for example, if Bluetooth was on, it would toggle off and then back on again). This doesn't happen every time, but the majority of the time. Interestingly, when the screen is oriented vertically, everything toggles fine. Regardless, that's not really an ideal design, probably another shortcoming with the TecTile software. After reading these comments, I think I'll try looking for another NFC app.

Posted on Aug 28, 2012 12:52:19 PM PDT
Ezra Scott says:
Check out the free app "NFC Task Launcher" in the Play Store. Problems solved! :D

Posted on Aug 29, 2012 6:45:02 AM PDT
cecilia says:
I agree - NFC Task Launcher is an excellent program that is constantly being developed
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