I don’t know what’s been going on lately but the saying “I’d lose my head if it isn’t attached to me” has been the first thing that comes to my mind. Maybe it’s been stress or just way too much on my plate but I have had issues keeping track of thing; especially my keys. After a trip to an event in Denham I realized that my keys were missing.
At first, I didn’t panic because I thought, “That’s why I have the Moto Keylink for.” The little bluetooth key chain has come in handy many times But this wasn’t one of them. According to the app the last time it saw my keys was near Roxbury. My first though was that I dropped them and now they are probably lost. But then I remembered that I saw them at least 2 hours after the app. Then I thought maybe I still dropped them but in a different place. But why was there a huge time gap between when I saw the keys and the app did?
The reason for that highlighted an accidental flaw in the KeyLink. When you away from the keys for a while they turn off. I mean, it makes sense and it’s a feature meant to save battery life on the devices. But when you need to find your keys and the device meant to help you find them is off then it leaves you guessing and pretty frustrated.
I did find my keys thankfully; no thanks to the KeyLink. But afterward, I thought about what will happen next time. What if I actually lost my keys? Could I really rely on the KeyLink to help me find them if it shuts off like that? So I decided to find a new tracker that didn’t share the KeyLink’s flaw, So I decided to give Tile a try.
Truthfully, Tile was the first Bluetooth tracker that I heard about. But the lack of retail availability made me go with Motorola. But that isn’t an issue anymore. You can grab Tile at plenty of retailers like Target,Amazon, and Best Buy. And of course you can grab it from their site. A single Tile will set you back $24.99. But unlike Motorola you also have a multi-pack option. You can choose from a 4, 8, or even 12 pack(priced at $69.99, $129.99, and $179.99 respectively).
The packaging for Tile makes me wish they actually went with a little less. It looks nice but it’s just seems like a waste. Then again, I went with a single Tile. They use the same box for the multi-pack; which for those the size of the packaging makes sense. But when you have a single item in the box you are left thinking maybe they should have come up with a more Eco-friendly way to package those single Tiles.
As far as the look for the Tile goes, its pretty simple in all the best way. It’s a small, white device which is about the same dimensions as those tile samples you find at Home Depot or Lowe’s(which as a kid me and my siblings would take handfuls of and use them as throwing stars). They are noticeably thicker than those sample tiles though. It actually makes me wonder about some of the use cases the company advertises them for. Personally, I can’t imagine trying to find this thing in my wallet of sticking in on the back of a laptop. Though I could seem putting it on a bike. As much as they try to make this seem like something you can stick on anything, the hole in the top left corner screams hang me from your keys. Though I could also totally see the usefulness of hiding one of these in a bag or purse!
As far as controls go there is only one button on the Tile; which is just the right amount for a tracker. The button is cleverly hidden in the Tile name written in the front if the track, The “e” can be pressed. Doing so allows you to set up the Tile and use the tracker to find a misplaced phone.
Tile uses Bluetooth 4.0; which ensures that battery drain on your device is too bad. The range is also not bad on it either. Tile is also IPX5 rated so it’s safe on those rainy days.
Setup and Using Tile
The last thing anyone wants to do is go through a complicated setup process. That alone can turn a consumers off from wanting to use your product. Thankfully that isn’t an issue with Tile. It was very easy to set up. Just download the app, create and account, turn on bluetooth, press and hold the “E,” let it pair, and you’re set. You can name each Tile you link which makes having multiple less of a guessing game.
In the app you see a list of all the devices and Tiles being tracked with their last known locations right below them. To view them on a map you simply take the Map tab on the bottom of the screen. Tapping any of the phones/Tiles will bring you to the page for that item. From there you can find it, share it with a friend, and view details on it. If you see a green ring around the items icon that means its nearby(which for the phone is more of a no-duh moment than anything). But say you can’t find your paired phone, What do you do? Well, you double tap the “E” on your Tile. Doing so will activate an alarm on the phone.
Tile in Real Life
To best explain how Tile works in the real world I have a story to share. This is something that actually happened to me a while ago. I was traveling around Worcester going from appointment to appointment. Because I don’t drive I was using public transportation —which in Worcester is not that fun. After getting off the bus before going to one of the appointments I stopped at 7-Eleven. So I went to the appointment and took another bus downtown. Once I got then I started thinking about how nice it will be to get home and relax. Then I thought about taking my keys out so I could just get off my next bus, walk and get in as quickly as possible. So I reached for my keys. Well, I tried to. It was at this point I realized they were not there.
As panic set in my first thought was I must have left it on the bus I just got off. So I went into the office to see if there was any way to contact that driver to check, Unfortunately there wasn’t. But then it occurred to me that I had Tile. So I opened up the app and taps on my keys. I marked them as lost so if anyone else with Tile was in the same area as my keys I would get an update on their whereabouts. When I looked at the map I saw it was last seen between the bus stop I got off at and 7-Eleven. Being a pessimistic I thought “oh great, it’s on the bus. I will never see it again.” But then I thought that maybe I should call 7-Eleven.
When I called 7-Eleven to ask them if they could check the store for them they were more than willing to. After waiting on hold for what seemed like forever —but was probably like five minutes— they asked what was on the keys. I told them it had a Ninja Turtle on it along with a white tile. And then I heard the words I was praying I would hear; we have them right here.
Tile vs the Competition
There are a few different companies that make bluetooth trackers. It’s not too had to find a cheap one, or an expensive one. But none of that matters if they tracker is not good. Before I bought the Tile I used the Moto Keylink. And I loved it until when I needed it a feature caused it to fail me. Tiles didn’t fail me when I needed it. But that comes at a cost.
Moto Keylink has a replaceable battery. But to try to save battery life it will turn off if you aren’t within range for a while. But if that happens, then you are back within range, but then you lose it you are out of luck. Tile’s battery is built-in. That means once it’s died then you will need to grab a new one. But it never sleeps. Because of that and its social features even if you lose it you can mark it as lost and use other users as a tool to help you find it. That makes it more versatile(no pun intended) than the Moto Keylink.
There is one more tracker I would like to test and that is Trackr Bravo. Once I pick one up I will update this part of the review so I can compare the two.
If you are like me then you want your tech to make your life a little less stressful. That is why produces like Tile exist. Why I feel Tile has a winning formula is it takes one of its disadvantages when compared to its competitions and uses it to improve the product. If I just told you that you can’t change the battery and once it died you had to replace it you probably would start looked elsewhere. But if I told you that Tile was always on and uses other active users to help you find lost items it sounds a lot better, right?
At $24.99 for one Tile is right around the same price of its competitors. Though most of those will last a bit longer due to having replaceable batteries there is still a good amount of value in grabbing one. Just don’t listen to the company when they say you can put one of these things in your wallet!