Every one of us has lost their keys at some point. Or maybe it’s your bag you misplaced? Or that pesky wallet? Haven’t we all wished there was some kind of way that we could make our lost items magically appear in front of us? We haven’t invented teleportation yet, but Tile has brought us the next best thing.
The Tile Mate is an upgrade to their already well-received Bluetooth tracking device. Not only is it thinner and lighter, but it’s brought a ton of great new features that we haven’t seen before. Let’s take a look and see how it performs.
If you’ve seen a Tile before, you’ll already be familiar with the design. It’s a small hunk of plastic with a little Bluetooth sensor inside of it. Although we’ve already looked at Tile Slim, a tracker designed to go inside of your wallet or stick to your valuable electronics, this one is more of an upgrade to the original. This means that it’s got a lot of similarities to the previous model. The key-ring is still in place, and there is a nice silver logo in the center.
That’s about where the similarities end. It’s 25% smaller than the original, so you’ll barely notice it on your key-ring. It’s strictly minimalistic, with no extra bells and whistles. It performs one simple task, and that task is performed well.
Setting Up Your Tile Mate
How often do you bring home an electronic device that just works? Sure, Apple computers are sold that way, but their ease of use cannot compete with Tile Mate. The first thing you have to do is download the Tile app on your iOS or Android phone. Sync with Bluetooth, and you’ll never have to change another setting again.
If you like, there are a few custom options you can set. If you have multiple Tile trackers, you can give them each their own name, or a custom audio chime if you like.
Using Tile Mate
While using your it, you want to try to keep Bluetooth and GPS turned on at all times. This way, the Tile application will constantly track your items location, so you’ll know the last place it was within range.
The basic functionality is simple. Don’t know where your key are? Open up the application, and tap on the Tile that’s assigned to your keys. One of two things will happen. If your keys are in the house, your phone will give you a simple notification: “Found Your Tile!” You’ll then hear the pleasant (but loud) chimes emitting from the tile itself, so you can dig it out of the couch cushions or whatever drawer it wound up in.
If it isn’t found in the immediate vicinity, your phone will show you the GPS coordinates where it was last found. Maybe you left your keys at a friend’s house, or at work. As long as your phone was on at the time, you should be able to recover it.
Another way you can use Tile Mate is to find your phone. Remember that big shiny logo on the front? It’s actually a button. Simply press the button on the Tile, and your phone will begin beeping so you can find it.
The Tile app has been out for a while, so we weren’t surprised to see how well made and easy to use it was. The interface is nice and clean, and even the simplest of features are laid out intuitively. Even if you’ve never used a smartphone before, we’re confident you’d have no problem figuring out how to use it.
Aside from the setup procedure we’ve already described, there’s another great function of the Tile app. It’s called the Community feature. What would happen if you lost your Tile, and it was already out of range of the app? You can use the entire Tile community to find it for you. There are now millions of Tiles out in the wild, and everyone who owns them should have the app on their phone. If any of these people get within range of your lost Tile, the data will be collected and sent back to you. This really improves the power of it, helping you locate items that would otherwise be lost for good.
The community feature is both secure and anonymous. You won’t be sharing any of your private information with community users, nor will you be accessing theirs. While it is relatively new, we’re already very impressed at how powerful the feature has become.
Tile Mate is a battery powered product, but you’ll find out quickly that there’s no way for you to open the compact case. This is because the batteries aren’t user changeable, so you’ll have to purchase a new one when yours goes dead.
Fortunately, Tile uses an incredibly efficient Bluetooth chip that allows it to last for a very long time. Under normal use conditions, you’ll get at least a year with the Tile Mate. You won’t have to worry about finding it dead just when you need it, because your phone will give you notifications. You’ll receive one at 25%, letting you know that you’ll want to consider a new Tile soon. You’ll get another notification at 10%, just to make sure you didn’t forget. Since the battery lasts so long, you’ll still have at least a month to purchase a new one after the 10% notification, so you’ll never be caught without one.
Tile Mate is currently the least expensive Tile product on the market. If you don’t need the teensy size of the Tile Slim, you’ll save yourself a few dollars by going with the Mate. Because of the key ring, it’s also a lot easier to attach it to items like your keys or your travel luggage. The easiest way to justify the value is to consider the cost of the items you are protecting.
Sure, your keys might not be expensive to replace. But how frustrating would be to lose them? Even if you’re an hour late for work, it’s already paid itself off. When you’re attaching it to items such as an expensive DSLR camera, a computer, or your luggage, the value becomes a lot more obvious.
Others have expressed concern about the disposable nature of Tile Mate. It’s true, you do have to replace it every year or so. Fortunately, Tile offers the Re-Tile program where you can trade yours in and get a replacement at a 50% discount.
How effective is the sound at helping you find your lost Tile Mate? Well the speaker is capable of a shocking 88 decibels. This is almost as loud as a motorcycle, or the sound of an airplane landing from the other side of the strip.
It’s capable of producing frequencies between 131 Hz all the way up to 8000 Hz, and each of the ‘ringtones’ sweeps these frequencies. This way, you can ensure that you’ll be able to hear it even if it’s buried in the cushions or locked in another room.
For the price, Tile Mate is a really creative way to keep track of your lost belongings. In our opinion, the price is justified simply due to the frustration it saves when we’re not able to find our items.
It’s a very well designed product, and that’s apparent from the simple design to the well laid out app. You can attach it to virtually anything, from keys to electronics to clothing. Of course, Tile Mate isn’t the first choice for every type of product. Tile Slim features a sticky back, so it’s easy to attach to your laptop or any other flat surface. It’s also easy to slip into your wallet, so we’d recommend checkout out our review of that model if you feel it suits your needs better.
Of course, there’s no limit to how many individual Tiles you can sync with your smartphone. If you’re going to pick one up, you might as well get a few for all the items you have with you. Your keys and wallet are essential, and your laptop or other on-the-go electronics are a nice touch. Thanks to the community find feature, it’s almost guaranteed to help you get your lost items returned.