Review: Tile

Do you lose your stuff? And you then spend a lot of time trying to find your stuff? The solution to keeping track of your stuff may be Tile.

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Tile is a small square Bluetooth LE device that can be attached to keys (or just about anything) and you can locate the Tile via Bluetooth when you’re close enough, which is about 100 or so feet, and via a crowdsourced community of users and people that install the Tile app on their iOS or Android device. You activate a Tile by pressing and holding the “e” then pair it to your smartphone via the Tile app, then attach the Tile to whatever you want to keep track of and forget about it until you need to find it.

To test this out, I decided to do something interesting. I installed the app on my wife’s iPhone, placed the Tile in a suitcase that she was planning to use on a trip from Toronto to Las Vegas, then from Vegas to Vancouver, then back to Toronto. The suitcase that she was using was one that looked like every other suitcase on the planet. Thus I figured she could see if the claims of being able to find your Tile equipped stuff anywhere were true. According to her, Tile works exceptionally well. She was able to not only find her bag when it was in range of her phone easily in the various airports that the flew in and out of among all the other bag that looked just like hers, but she could even find it when it was being loaded on the plane or being taken off the plane thanks to the Tile community. For example, when she got on her plane to fly back to Toronto, the app alerted her that her bag was found on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport by using the “Mark As Lost” feature:

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She was able to track her bag on a map right up to it being loaded onto the plane. Another cool trick is that once she was within range of the Tile, she could have it play music to help her find it. The music sounds like something out of Mario Brothers and it is loud. Conversely, she could press Tile to make her iPhone ring—even if it’s on silent to enable her to find it. Finally, she was able to share the Tile with me so I can use it and track its location.

Downsides? I see three:

  • Using the crowdsourced community feature is likely going to be hit or miss depending on how many users are near wherever you lost your item. If there’s nobody running the Tile app near your lost item, you’re no further ahead in terms of finding your stuff. For the record, my wife noted that she saw between 200 and 400 people using the Tile app wherever she happened to be in either Las Vegas or Vancouver. So at least in the areas that she was in during her trip, she had a fighting chance to find her stuff.
  • The battery lasts a year and isn’t user replaceable. That basically makes this a subscription service as opposed to be something that you can use long term.
  • Price is the third thing. At $25 each, it’s a bit expensive considering the first two downsides that I mentioned. They do have multi-packs that can save you some cash though.

What’s my bottom line? Tile works as advertised and works well. But downsides above stop me from saying that this is a must buy. Instead I would say that I can see how this would be useful and may be worth having a look at if you are prone to losing things around the house, or in the use case above. If the price drops a bit, adoption of Tile increases to make it ubiquitous, and they do something about the battery life, I think it could be a winner.

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2 Responses to “Review: Tile”

  1. […] year, I reviewed the Tile and tested it by sending it on a trip that my wife was taking. From there, it really helped me out […]

  2. […] reviewed Tile products three times over the years. In each review, I have had something this to […]

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