Archive for Tile

Review: Tile Sticker

Posted in Products with tags on November 14, 2019 by itnerd

Tile has been the leader in item tracking for years now, and recently they have come out with a Tile device that’s in a form factor that will allow you to track almost anything. It’s called the Tile Sticker.

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This Tile is tiny. It’s about the size of a quarter and has the thickness of three quarters. But the real magic is that it can be affixed to anything using the adhesive (which was apparently co-developed with 3M) to anything and is waterproof. That makes the use cases for this particular tile endless. The fact that it is waterproof comes at a cost, which is that the battery unlike some other Tile variants is not replaceable. More on that in a moment.

The Tile Sticker claims to have a 150 foot range. I did real-world testing by going to a storage locker facility and placing it in a closed storage locker at the end of a long hallway that was about 100 feet in length. The iPhone app found it very quickly, and the built-in speaker was loud enough that I could hear the alarm playing.

Downsides? The battery lasts three years and isn’t user replaceable. That basically makes this a subscription service as opposed to be something that you can use long term. The flip side to that is the fact that when your Tile does run out of juice, they do have a program called reTile that allows you to replace your Tile at a discount of up to 50%. The new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old one to recycle. But that’s only true for those in the US. For those anywhere else on Earth, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center.

The Tile Sticker goes for $39.99 USD for a pair. That makes them $20 USD a copy which is a fair price given the fact that the use cases are pretty much endless. That makes this Tile the best one that the company has come out with yet.

Review: Tile Slim

Posted in Products with tags on November 11, 2019 by itnerd

The people at Tile have been busy coming out with a bunch of new Tile products. Two of them in new form factors. The first of these new form factors is the Tile Slim:

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This is a credit card sized (though it is thicker than a credit card) Tile tracker that has the following going for it:

  • Waterproof
  • 200 ft range
  • Louder ring
  • Built-in 3-year battery that isn’t replaceable

The fact that this battery isn’t replaceable unlike many other Tile products may deter some. But the fact that it lasts 3 years can likely offset that. In terms of the 200 foot range, I was able to test this inside a storage locker facilely where I could find the Tile Slim anywhere on the same floor of the facility which is at least 100 feet in length. It will however not work between floors which makes sense seeing as this is a Bluetooth device and Bluetooth doesn’t work well or at all through floors. The ringtone is definitely loud as I could hear it down the hall with was in the storage facility that was testing in. This is why this Tile will be my choice for being in my luggage when I travel.

Downsides? The battery lasts three years and isn’t user replaceable. That basically makes this a subscription service as opposed to be something that you can use long term. The flip side to that is the fact that when your Tile does run out of juice, they do have a program called reTile that allows you to replace your Tile at a discount of up to 50%. The new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old one to recycle. But that’s only true for those in the US. For those anywhere else on Earth, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center.

The Tile Slim goes for $29.99 USD for each one. It’s a bit expensive given that you can’t seem to get multi packs to save some cash. But if you’re like me and you need a tile that fits into a location where space is a premium and it has to be loud, then this may make it worth it for you. 

 

Review: Tile Pro With Replaceable Battery

Posted in Products with tags on November 20, 2018 by itnerd

A few weeks ago I reviewed the Tile Mate which has a replaceable battery. At the time I said this:

Tile has finally addressed the number one issue that this product had which is the lack of a replaceable battery. That makes Tile products something that I can finally recommend without reservation.

The fact that the battery is replaceable is huge. But I wanted to get a version of the Tile that was more rugged for keys and the like. So I got my hands on this:

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Meet the Tile Pro. It has the following in common with the Tile Mate:

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It has the long overdue replaceable battery. But unlike the Tile Mate which has a CR1632 battery which is not exactly common, it has a more common CR2032 battery. The reason for that is that it needs a bigger battery because it has a 300 foot range (versus 150 feet for the Tile Mate) and it is much louder than the Tile Mate based on my ears. It’s also is much more rugged than the Tile Mate so it should survive most things that it might be subjected to. Strangely, it doesn’t claim to be waterproof like the Tile Sport. I am guessing that the fact that you can replace the battery is the reason why.

Tile now has a Premium service which gives you the following features:

  • Smart Alerts: You’ll get pinged on your phone if you leave someplace without items that are deemed to be important.
  • Free batteries.
  • Location history of your Tile enabled objects
  • Unlimited sharing of your Tiles with others
  • A warranty increase from 1 to 3 years.
  • Premium tech support

All of that goes for $29.99 USD a year. While I personally don’t see enough value to fork out the cash, you might. It is very easy to set up, and you can use it to find your phone in a pinch. Not to mention that there are thousands of Tile users out there who can help you to find a lost item which while I’ve never had to leverage that is something that is nice to know.

Tile Pro goes for $35 USD or $60 USD for two, or $100 USD for four. While the Tile Pro isn’t waterproof, I can recommend this as a means to keep track of your stuff without hesitation.

 

Review: Tile Sport & Tile Style

Posted in Products with tags on November 25, 2017 by itnerd

I have been using Tile products for a while now to keep track of various bags and luggage. To replace some Tiles that died (as they only last about a year), I got these:

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On the left is the Tile Sport and on the right is the Tile Style which are brand new from the company. Both Tile products serve up a 200 foot range as well as being water resistant for up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes, and being twice as loud. You’re just making a choice between what look you want.

To test this out, I took along a Tile Sport on my most recent trip to India. I didn’t test how waterproof it was, but the extended range and sound came in handy upon my return to Toronto. There was so much luggage on the flight back that they used two luggage carousels. I was able to use to Tile app on my iPhone 7 Plus to figure out which carousel my luggage was going to be on by walking back and forth. Then I was able to figure out via the app when it was going to appear based on visual cues the app gave me. As an extra aid, I used the ringtone function (which can be customized for volume and for different ringtones) to ensure I could identify my bag and grab it. Now I was just able to hear it which was a new experience as I had never been able to hear a Tile that I’ve placed in a suitcase. But I will also say that I tried the same trick when I landed in India and I could not hear it. Thus your mileage may vary on this front.

Downsides? The two downsides with Tile that I see are the same ones from my other  reviews of the Tile:

  • 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. The flip side to that is the fact that when your Tile does run out of juice, they do have a program called reTile that allows you to replace your Tile at a discount of up to 50%. The new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old one to recycle. But that’s only true for those in the US. For those anywhere else on Earth, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center. I will be taking advantage of this to replace the original Tile. Then I will be following these instructions to swap it out in the Tile App. But they should really make battery user replaceable. Though I suspect that would interfere with their revenue stream if they did.
  • Price is the other thing. At $35 for each Tile Style orTile Slim, it’s a bit expensive. They do have multi-packs that can save you some cash though.

Tile works as advertised and works well. The fact that you now get more range, water resistant form factors, and louder audio helps with the value proposition that Tile offers. They are pricey though and you will be replacing them a year from now. But if you have to keep track of stuff you own, the Tile is a great way to do it.

Review: Tile Mate & Tile Slim

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 6, 2016 by itnerd

Last 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 when my flight from India back to Toronto this summer went sideways. But the Tile that I was using was dying as they only have a lifespan of a year. Thus I had to get a new one. Plus I wanted to get a few others for stocking stuffers. So I got two types of Tile products. The Tile Mate & Tile Slim. Here’s what they look like with the original Tile next to them:

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On the left is the original Tile. The middle has the new Tile Mate which is a touch smaller and a touch slimmer and lighter than the Tile. That makes it easier to put on a key chain or anywhere where a small Tile would be of value. On the right is the Tile Silm. It’s bigger than the other two.  But it is much slimmer than the other two which makes it perfect that you need a slim form factor Tile to keep track of your stuff.

What hasn’t changed is the fact that this is a Bluetooth LE device that you can locate 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 “Tile” logo then pair it to your smartphone via the Tile app, then attach the Tile to whatever you want to keep track of. In my testing, I was able to find them easily using the Tile app by being close enough, issuing a command to make it play a musical tone, or by marking it as “lost” so that you can use the Tile community to help you find your stuff which is handy if you’ve got a lot of Tile users around you who are running the Tile app that you can leverage. You can also press the button on the Tile to make your iPhone ring. And this will work even if it’s on silent to enable you to find it if you misplace it.

The two downsides with Tile that I see are the same ones from my original review of the Tile:

  • 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. The flip side to that is the fact that when your Tile does run out of juice, they do have a program called reTile that allows you to replace your Tile at a discount of up to 50%. The new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old one to recycle. But that’s only true for those in the US. For those anywhere else on Earth, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center. I will be taking advantage of this to replace the original Tile. Then I will be following these instructions to swap it out in the Tile App.
  • Price is the other thing. At $25 for each Tile Mate and $30 for the Tile Slim, it’s a bit expensive. They do have multi-packs that can save you some cash though. 

Tile works as advertised and works well. The new form factors give you more options as to how to use Tile. It has come in handy for me and if you are prone to losing things around the house, or when travelling overseas, you may want to look at it to help you to keep track of your stuff. 

Review: Tile

Posted in Products with tags on November 3, 2015 by itnerd

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.