Keys, phone, glasses, you name it, PAT PILCHER has lost it – multiple times. He tries out the Tile Pro to keep track of items.
If superpowers were being handed out, I already know which one I’d get. You see, I possess an uncanny ability to lose things. Phones, glasses, and worst of all, house keys are all things I struggle to keep nearby.
There’s nothing quite like it, I’m all geared up to head out and then realise I have no idea where I put my phone and the house keys just five minutes ago. Frantic searching ensues, along with some ripe cursing. Eventually, I discover the phone (in my pocket) and house keys (in the hallway by the front door). Gah!
Thank goodness for the Tile. It can attach to almost anything and using Bluetooth will pair up with an Android or iOS smartphone. If I’m having a senior moment and can’t find my keys, I can just ping them using the Tile app on my phone. The Tile on my key-ring emits a loud beeping sound helping me locate them. Similarly, if I have my keys but can’t find my phone, I can hit the button on my Tile which will cause my phone to sound off, making it locatable.
It is an elegant and simple idea, but then the best ideas so often are. The first Tile sold in vast numbers and was great until buyers discovered its one shortcoming – once its watch battery died, it became about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, because the batteries are non-replaceable.
Taking this issue on board, the team launched the Tile Pro. It looks like the original, being a small rounded square, but it has a dark exterior, consisting of two plastic outers that sandwich a metal frame in the centre. It’s slightly larger and feels significantly more robust too.
Looks aside, the Tile Pro also incorporates some crucial changes. It now has a theoretical working range of about 90 metres, which is half as far again than the original version. It is also significantly louder. Both make a massive difference to its usability.
Perhaps the most significant update involves it now having user replaceable batteries. When the battery finally gives up the ghost (which usually takes around a year), you don’t need to add it to landfill but can instead throw in a CR2032 cell-style battery, which is why the new Tile is a hair larger than the original.
In what is likely a bid to fill the revenue vacuum left as people stop replacing Tiles each year, the company has also launched the Tile Premium programme. In a nutshell, it is a subscription service that provides users with two additional years of warranty plus a limited number of free battery replacements, Smart Alerts to notify you when you leave a given location without your Tile, plus sharing of owned Tiles and up to 30 days of location history. Frustratingly, it isn’t available to Android users, which is what held the Tile Pro back from scoring a 10/10.
Still, that’s not bad news for Apple folks. They have plenty of reasons to rejoice. Tile has added Siri support, so users can ask Siri to find whatever the device is attached to. It also supports iCloud synchronisation, so will work from an iPhone, iPad and HomePod. Here’s hoping Tile sort their Android stuff out soonish.
Either way, while more affordable imitations can be found, few are as reliable as the Tile thanks to a solid tried and tested design, and a well thought out mobile app. If you are prone to losing things, the tile is must-have tech.