In praise of Tile trackers

A friend (hi Charles!) sent me a couple of Tile products (one “slim” for my wallet, one “mate” for my keys) to test out. Like other tracking products on the market, you attach a tile to your belongings, register and name it with the app.

When you lose sight of your belongings, use the app to track it down. You can play a sound to help you find where in your backpack or purse it’s gotten to or use the app to find where it’s gone to on a map.

I’ve used and reviewed similar products in the past. Despite (and possibly because of) Tile’s “no self-service” design, it has provided the best user experience to date. The unit is small, easy to attach to things (the “mate” has a built-in hole), and extremely light.

Like other trackers, Tile uses crowdfinding to notify you when your tile shows up after it goes missing.

If your item isn’t where you last had it, select “Notify When Found” in the app and when any device in the Tile community simply passes by your missing item, you’ll automatically be notified of its most recent location. This feature works 100% anonymously and automatically to protect your privacy.

Over the weekend, my son and I visited a very large park. I slipped my keys into his backpack and used my app to keep an eye on how far ahead of me he had biked. He enjoyed his ride without constant “mom nag” but with a certain peace of mind for me. (Update: No, this would not have worked at a state park, you’d need a phone with GPS for that, but it was fine at an inner city park with lots of phones accompanying bikers, joggers, dog walkers, etc.)

For the most part, thankfully, I haven’t needed to use the Tile or its app. For the few times when I’ve needed it, it’s been right there for both  keychain and wallet, reducing my anxiety and making it easy to find my stuff.

Tile Mate and Slim cost $25 and $30 for a one pack, with discounts as you buy in quantity. You can purchase adhesive tape (for remote controls), iron-on pockets (for jackets), and zip straps (for your bike) to secure more items than just keys and wallets.

The batteries are guaranteed for a year, then you can “reTile” at a discounted price ($12/Tile original, $15/Tile mate, $21/Tile slim).

Yes, Tile is not cheap (especially if you buy single units) but I’ve been extremely impressed by the reliability, ease of use, and the accompanying application.

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