For a few years now, the absentminded have found salvation in Tile, the simple tracking gizmo that helps you locate your keys or anything else you can hold onto. Late for work? Fire up your iPhone and the Tile app, then listen for the Bluetooth-activated sing-song or check the on-screen map for Tile’s last known location. Have your keys but not your phone? Press the Tile’s button and your phone will ring.
Tile is affordable and brain-dead easy to use—just attach it to whatever you tend to lose. Although it must be within Bluetooth range of whatever you’ve lost, Tile does offer a killer feature: If other Tile users are near your lost keys, the Tile on your keys can still chime and update its location on the map. The people who use Tile, the easier it is to find everything. Crowdsourced memory. Beautiful.
With a rising user base—Tile says people use the app to locate more than half a million items every day—the march of progress has finally addressed another complaint: Tile is too big.
Tile Mate and Tile Slim replace the original Tile. Tile Mate shaves 3mm from each side and nearly 1mm in thickness. The traditional hole in the corner makes it ideal for keychains and other hanging items. Tile Slim is larger in surface area, but flatter, just 2.4mm thick.
The changes don’t seem huge, but make a big difference in practical terms. The Mate is small enough that you can feasibly clip it to your wayward cat’s collar. The Slim—almost precisely the thickness of three credit cards (not two as claimed)—slips into a wallet or passport holder, something the original could never achieve.
These smaller Tiles work just like the original and still use the old app (both iOS and Android are supported now), and promise the same battery lifespan of about a year, after which you can “reTile” for half price. (Batteries still aren’t user-replaceable and undoubtedly never will be.) Prices climb a bit—$25 for the Mate, $30 for the Slim—but are significantly cheaper if you buy four at a time.
Tile works without a hiccup, and the app could find my keys at 100 to 120 feet without a problem. However, though both units specify over 80 decibels of volume, the reality is that the chime can be difficult to hear (at least compared to, say, the chime of Apple’s blaring Find My iPhone klaxon). This is particularly problematic with the Tile Slim, should it be stored in a wallet. Leather and fat stacks of cash muffle the audio significantly, making it inaudible if you’re more than one room away.
8/10 – Excellent, with room to kvetch.