Today, there are many brands of Bluetooth-enabled key finders on the market. Tile Mate ($25) and Tile Slim ($30) are the latest and most popular of all. Let’s see their features and comparison to other brands.
Tile Mate is a key, phone, or anything finder. It works with a mobile app, Tile app available at Google Play Store and Apple Appstore. Tile is connected to your mobile device via Bluetooth, and the app helps you find your item with various features. The size of Mate is 1.34″ x 1.34″ x 0.18, and it has a hole to loop a key chain. For a wallet, purse, or bag, you may want to choose Tile Slim. The size of Slim is 2.13″ x 2.13″ x 0.09. It’s as thin as two credit cards. It slides into a pocket and wallet or attaches to a tablet and laptop by using adhesive pads (sold separately.) Both Tile Mate and Slim have an IP5 rating. It means that it’s OK with splash water, rain, or a drink spill, but not with submersion.
In the app, choose your item and tap Find, and your Tile will ring. You can choose a sound from several different ringtones. According to Tile website, Tile Mate rings at 88 dB, and Slim at 82 dB. There is no volume adjustment. You can use some other features described below to try locating the item, but in the end, you will rely on the ringtone from Tile to find your item.
You can also use a proximity sensor to locate your item. Tapping the Tile icon enables the proximity sensor. But the sensor is not that accurate. When Tile is placed right next to my smartphone, bars of proximity sensor are constantly changing.
You can see a map with a location of your item. A green circle on a map represents a location of your item, but the circle is roughly as big as 100 ft on a map. It doesn’t show a precise location. However, the map is useful when Tile is out of range. The app automatically records the last location when and where Tile got out of range. So, you will know where to look first.
Notify when found
When your item isn’t in a place on a map, it may be missing. In this case, you can use a “Notify when found” button. If any Tile users come close to your item, you will receive an anonymous notification with a map. Any Tile users mean that anyone who has a smartphone and Tile app is running in the background. So, it’s recommended to ask your friends, family, and other people you know to install the app. It will build a larger network around you.
Find your phone
The app can make Tile ring. Conversely, Tile can make your phone ring. When you can’t find your phone connected to Tile, double-press the button, and your phone will ring even on silent. But Tile has to be in a Bluetooth range, and the app has to be running in the background.
Find your phone that is out of range
When your phone is out of range, you can use Tile app on other mobile devices or Tile’s website to find your phone. Click Connect and Find, and your phone will ring. Please note that this method doesn’t require the app to be running in the background. As long as your missing phone is on and connected to the internet in any ways (3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi), the phone will ring. You can also see a map. With Lost Mode features, you can send a message as a notification to your missing phone so anyone can see it even when the phone is locked.
This feature is free. It means you don’t even need to have Tile hardware. All you need is to install the free Tile app, create your account, and log in with the same account on all your devices.
reTile, Renewal Program
A battery of Tile is not replaceable. A company offers a replacement program called reTile. The company guarantees that a battery lasts at least one year. When it passes almost a year since the activation, you will receive a notification with an option to exchange your Tile with the new one for 50% of the original price.
An advantage of this program is that you will get the latest version of Tile for a half price. If the company release a new version, you will get the new version. A disadvantage is that you will have to pay a half of the original price. It may be more expensive in the future. Or, if you buy Tile with a discount, the discount doesn’t reflect on the price of the reTile program.
How long does a battery of Tile actually last?
Before Tile is activated, it is in a sleep mode. The sleep mode preserves much more battery than when activated. But you shouldn’t keep Tiles unactivated for a long time because a battery is discharging more or less regardless of its state, and a warranty covers for a year from the date of delivery (by authorized retailers.)
And, how long will it last? It depends on how you use it. If you ring it a lot, it will be a short life. But, because the company offers a one-year warranty, it must have enough margin. And with a period and price of the reTile program considered, It might last for two years but not for three years. (it’s just my speculation.)
What about other brands? What’s missing on Tile
There are many brands of Bluetooth key finders today. I believe that Tile is the best, most reliable, and most popular of all. But what about other brands with a feature which Tile doesn’t have. Here are some features Tile is missing.
Tile doesn’t have a separation alert. A separation alert is a feature that is available on some other brands of Bluetooth trackers, like TrackR Bravo and Chipolo Plus. It notifies you when your item gets out of Bluetooth range. In my opinion, the feature is not that important. A primary purpose of Bluetooth finders is to find misplaced items quickly, not keep your items around your smartphone. It is normal that, in a house, your keys sit in one place and you carry around your smartphone. And reportedly, the feature is sometimes annoying, unreliable, and it may cause a short battery life.
Ring your phone even when the app is closed
When the Tile app is closed (not running in the background), Tile can’t ring your phone. Pebblebee Honey can ring your phone even when the app is closed. However, as I mentioned above, you can make your phone ring with other mobile device or the Tile website from a computer.
Works with Alexa
TrackR has an Alexa Skill to work with Amazon Alexa. “Alexa, ask TrackR to find my phone” will ring your phone. Unfortunately, that’s all it can do. You can’t have Alexa ring a TrackR hardware. Besides, there have already been some similar Alexa Skills like “Find Phone” and “Where’sMyPhone”. TrackR skill may be better because it makes it sound even on silent. But, to use the skill, you don’t even need a TrackR hardware. All you need is to install an app and enable the skill. Recently, Pebblebee integrated their app into Amazon Alexa. Unlike TrackR, not only a phone but Pebblebee’s Skill can also ring their hardware with Alexa.
Tile Mate and Tile Slim are the most reliable Bluetooth finders on the market today. Thus, they are the most popular, and there are more users than any other brands. A “Notify when found” feature is a common feature in most Bluetooth key finders, and it relies on the network which is built by people who use the same brand hardware and app. So, Tile is reasonably the best choice of all.