Sony Smart Tags NT3
Near Field Communication or NFC may not mean a lot to people. Yet NFC has made it’s way to the consumer market and is implemented in public transport cards, banking and id cards. And it might surprise you, also in game systems and mobile phones. Maybe even your phone.
NFC is a little chip that can be read or be written at close range. With a touch data can be exchanged without pairing devices. It’s quick.
So when I got a my phone (Sony Xperia SP) I was happy to see that it had NFC.
And Sony being Sony, NFC had to be used. So they made Smart Tags.
Basically the tags are markers that the phone recognises and completes certain actions.
For example, if you have one in your car. Swipe your phone past the tag and it (the phone) turns on bluetooth, connects with you car-kit, switches to carmode and starts the Navigation app.
Or when you have one by your bed. It turns off all data communications puts the volume on high and starts the alarm clock app.
It’s super simple and you might not appreciate the ease of use unless you’ve tried it.
The Tags have been around for a while now and there are four types around. Now only the NT 2 and NT3 are on sale.
Here I review the NT3. These are programmable. Apart from triggering actions on your own phone they can also trigger actions on someone elses phone.
That way it’s possible to share your contact information or urls with the touch of a token.
The package costs €20,-. So you are paying €5,- per tag which may seem a bit steep. And it is, but when you start using the byoj will soon forget because it’s so easy to use.
In the sealed package are four NT3 tags, black, lila, lime and white. The black and lila are backed with black plastic, the other two with white. Also there are four silicone bands to attatch them to whatever you like. While they seem durable enough, I’m afraid they will snap when you snag the tags on something. And you wouldn’t want to loose them.
My Xperia SP recognises the tags immideately and launces the SmartConnect app to configure them.
It’s really easy, select the action of choice and configure it by selecting options from a list. As of that moment, the tag is good to go.
It’s possible to set start and end actions. Swipe it once to activate this and that, again to set it back for example.
There are a few gripes with the NT3 though. One is that hou have to be connected to the internet to configure the tags. The data is synced with the Sony(?) server, that way every phone can acces the tags actions when tagged. This also means that the data is publicly accessible. And that’s not something you’d want with your contact information.
Data can be secured by linking it to your Google account. Still, I would prefer an option to just swith this off. I don’t need to share my alarm clock settings.
This also means that you can’t set the tags when offline. This is a problem when you are abroad and don’t have a internet connection available.
All in all the tags are great fun and supe handy. When I get to work I don’t need to turn the brightness down, set it on vibrate, turn off my internet and switch on my wifi. All I do is swipe the top right corner of my locker with my phone and it’s done.
I’ve sewn a little velcro pocket that sticks in my bag. When I leave home or the office I swipe my bag and instantly swith modes to outdoor.
The forced online editing of the tags puts a big downer on the tags. It does not effect day to day use, but it’s just not nesseccary. No data is stored on the tags, so for changing modes everything is stored on the phone itself. Sony should at least let you edit that offline.
It also proves to be a big security risk. Your personal data linked to the tag is not secured by any way. Anyone that can read the tag can read it. That sould at least make you weary of using them, or where you use them.
So is this worth your money? Hard to say. I’m a gadget nerd and like the technology. And it makes my life easier. So I don’t regret buying the tags. I do however regret the NT3. I might as well have bought the NT2, they cost the same but don’t have the online capability.
So on short, if you change modes and settings a lot the NFC tags can certainly make your life a lot easier.