Apple AirTags already have a major design issue

Apple AirTags
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirTags are finally available for pre-order, but you might want to hold off on buying one after a slew of reviewers have criticised the device for being a magnet for scuffs and scratches. 

The AirTag was unveiled at the Apple Spring Loaded event this week, alongside the iPad Pro 2021, iMac 2021, and new Apple TV. Kitted out with ultra wideband connectivity, the $29 gizmo is lightweight, compact, and can even be engraved with your choice of characters or emoji. But its plastic and chrome surfaces are susceptible to a flurry of scratches, dings, and other marks that could make you think twice before ordering one.   

The Verge's Dieter Bohn tweeted a photo of his AirTag sporting a multitude of marks. These were present after just "a few hours of handling." He adds that usage wasn't "excessive," and while some wear and tear is expected, the timeframe it took for the tracker to get into this state is "pretty weird!"

Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee agreed, showing a picture of his own AirTag, similarly scratched, with the caption "major same." You can take a look at the scuffed-up AirTags below.    

Of course, you could opt to pick up a case for the tracker, but the designs still leave the chrome and plastic exposed. Bearing in mind that some people will use the tracker on their keyring (as demonstrated in Apple's AirTag ad), it's inevitably going to scratched and scuffed by metal. However, you might expect the body to hold up a little better, given that Apple knows the AirTag's intended purpose.

Taking into account the prices of other trackers on the market, the AirTag is amongst the cheapest offerings. This is even more impressive considering it has both Bluetooth and UWB. Tile Mate is the cheapest, and features Bluetooth connectivity only — as does the pricier Tile Pro.

Realistically, no one should be expecting the AirTag to remain pristine for very long. This goes doubly for those of you wanting to keep track of your pointy, metal keys. The case may offer some protection, but if you're considering pre-ordering, you need to resign yourself to the reality of toting around a beat-up Apple product from the get-go. 

The Apple AirTag is available for pre-order now and launches on April 30. You can pick up a single device for $29, or a pack of four for $99. 

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.