NFC Tag Series: Which NFC Tag to get?

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NFC Tag Series: Which NFC Tag to get?

NFC Tag Series: Which NFC Tag to get?

NFC tags were initially hard to come by. It has become easier over time, but there are those who still can’t find one. Even if they do see one, they either don’t know what it is, or they don’t know if it was the right one to get.

On this part of the series, we would like to talk about the different types of tags found on the market, just so you would know which one you may want to get for your NFC needs.

NFC Stickers

These are the most basic forms of NFC tags. They are small, paper thin stickers that are designed to be permanently placed on a surface where you expect to tap your phone into to get the data out of the tag. These are inexpensive, and the best to get if you just want to try it out. You can always opt to not stick it to a surface, or stick it to a keychain if you want to carry it around.

These stickers usually come in squares or circles. It is very hard to distinguish these tags from regular stickers, and it can easily be hidden behind a poster behind paint.

NFC Tokens

NFC TokensWhile NFC Stickers are cheap and generally just paper stickers embedded with an NFC chip, NFC Tokens are designed to be more durable, but are slightly thicker. These tags are generally used outdoors, and can be sewn into clothing, bags, or attached to key chains.

Generally, NFC Tokens are designed to be waterproof and weatherproof. They are meant to be durable enough to be carried around in an outside environment. These can also be stuck to a wall using a simple double sided adhesive.

Do note that these types of tags are of course more expensive than the NFC Stickers. These NFC Tokens are for those who foresee using NFC functions for a long time and want to have something that actually lasts.

NFC Straps

Bracelet_Hand_smallNFC straps are something new. They are durable NFC chips embedded into straps that can be placed upon the wrist. These are useful if you have a function that you always need to have, or are simply making a fashion statement with NFC. They are not considered to be more useful than other NFC types, but they are pretty easy to keep track of.

These tags are the most expensive types. NFC straps can be used for spreading your name through a business card, making your phone do a cool function to impress your friends, such as making the phone announce the time as you tap it on your wrist. It is definitely the most visible of the tags.

Branded versus Generic Tags

Samsung Tec TilesAs NFC tags become more popular, popular brands want to make their own tags to capitalize on the situation. There is very little difference between generic tags and branded tags, usually varying only in quality and durability. The only solid difference is the tag is actually labeled with a brand and is designed to be more flamboyant.

One example is the Samsung Tec Tiles. These tags are practically NFC stickers with Samsung’s branding all over it. They don’t offer much over the regular NFC Stickers, and are more expensive to boot. If you have money to burn, then by all means, get one of these. While the tags are advertised to work in tandem with the Tec Tile app, you can actually use them with any NFC app or NFC enabled devices.

Sony Smart TagsAnother example is the Sony Xperia Smart Tags. These are more akin to the NFC Tokens we spoke about earlier. Sony also couples it with their own proprietary app, but these can also be used with other NFC apps and devices.

These tags come with a preformatted function which works best with their proprietary app, but it can be reprogrammed pretty easily. Once again, these tags are simply more expensive, and not much more than normal NFC Tokens.


Check out the other topics of this series:

NFC Tag Series: Introduction to NFC
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 1: Tags that need Launchers
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 2: Tags that don’t need Launchers
NFC Tag Series: Programming an NFC Tag Part 3: Making a Switch Tag

1 Comment

  1. Yoransays: December 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    What I miss in this blog is a mention of the amount of memory the tags have. For simple tags that just link to a website you don’t need much, but for more complex launcher tags you do.

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