Featured App Review: NFC Android Tag
Ever since the Nexus S launched with NFC, we’ve all been pretty curious about Near Field Communication and while it seems to be finally making inroads into the world of mobile payments, there’s not been too much use outside of that. Pretty much every middle-to-high-end Android smartphone comes with an NFC receiver in it but, only Sony seems content to use it for anything useful. With NFC Android Tag – and a set of five tags themselves – you can see just how useful NFC can be. If you want to find out more, read on to see if NFC tags are something you could use.
Description: NFC Android Tag is the app that is one half of the product here. You won’t be able to use the app at all unless you buy a set of five NFC Tags from here. They’re not too expensive and they’re unassuming and compact. The app will enable you to tailor these NFC tags to a number of actions. You can use the tags to toggle certain functions of your phone, like turning Bluetooth on or off for use in the car or WiFi on or off when you leave the house etc. When you get the NFC tags, you’ll get a set of five that look a lot like poker chips:
How it Works: Before you get started, you’ll have to head here to get your hands on the tags that are the center of the app. After that, you’ll need to download the app from the Play Store. Once you’ve done both of those – and your NFC Tags have arrived in the post – you can get started! Once you launch the app, you’ll be greeted with the following menu:
It’s a simple and easy menu to follow. If you want to write a tag – to give it a new function – simply go through to that menu and then select your desired action. There’s a big list of things you do, as you’ll see when using the app:
When you choose an action, for instance, toggling Bluetooth, the app will prompt you to connect the tag and your phone together:
It’s really quick and simple to create a new tag and there’s no hassle involved, when activated, the app will show up onscreen to let you know what it’s doing, which is handy as feedback for this sort of thing is required:
Toggling Bluetooth is just one of the uses the app can do, triggering an app might be another common use. For instance, when making a pot of coffee I time how long I need to wait with a timer app. With an NFC Tag I can just brush my phone next to the tag and have it launch the timer. When choosing an app to launch, NFC Android Tag will show you all available apps on your phone:
Now, when I scan the tag I wrote to, the timer app launches and my coffee timer starts to tick away. This is just one great use for the tags and, you can write to them as many times as you like which is really great. Go ahead and give the app a try!
Opinion: I’ve always been curious about NFC and the more personal uses it can have. Especially considering mobile payments are near non-existent here in the UK. With NFC Android Tag you get a number of tags, with hooks to boot, to use how you will. My favorite uses are for toggling Bluetooth on and off and WiFi on or off. I use a Bluetooth speaker alarm dock and with NFC all I have to do is turn the dock on, activate Bluetooth using the NFC tag and that’s it. I don’t have to interact with the phone at all. It’s painless and easy to do.
- Speed (4/5) – Both writing to and reading from NFC tags was very quick and set-up was painless.
- Features (4/5) – A lot of the app relies on the tags but, together they can offer a lot of uses and the best thing is that you’ll find more and more uses the longer you use them.
- Theme (3/5) – NFC Android Tag could do with a makeover but, when toggling or triggering something, the overlay makes it clear what you’ve activated.
- Overall (4/5) – While a little rough around the edges, there is a lot on offer from the overall product and it’s easy to get to grips with. It’s an easy app to recommend.
- Very easy to use and hardly any set-up required.
- Five tags is a good amount and, the hooks provided give some flexibility to where and how you use them.
- None of the features require the user to be rooted.
- Easy way to get into NFC outside of mobile payments.
- For some, $25 for five tags might be expensive but, shipping from China is included.
- The app itself would benefit from some added polish.
- Doesn’t work with the Nexus 7.
Conclusion: NFC Android Tag might be a little rough around the edges and have its flaws but, for the most part it’s a great app. There’s no steep learning curve and it definitely does what it says it does. No surprises, no hassle, it just works. If you’re looking to try out NFC and see how they can be useful in the day-to-day then give this a try, it’s the perfect app to try NFC tags and their uses. I had a lot of fun trying out the app and I’ve placed a few tags around the house and the office to make things a little easier. To purchase your own set of tags head over to their website and then hit the link below to get the app. Give them a try and see what uses you come up for them!