Tile Sticker, Slim, and Pro hands-on review: A Tile for your tech (and more)
“From turtles to tech, Tile's got you covered”
- Versatile and affordable
- Incredibly easy to set up
- New shapes open possibilities
- Tile Sticker's speaker is tough to hear
Around 300 turtles are waddling through the world’s backyards, peering myopically around fallen leaves, winning small victories as they clamber atop forgotten skateboards, owners long since forgotten in the pursuit of a spot of warmth and maybe some roughage to gnaw on. What’s a worried pet owner to do?
“They wander in the backyard, and don’t come when you call them,” CJ Prober, the CEO of Tile, told me. Which is why hundreds of turtle owners have independently hit on a DIY solution: Tie a Tile to their shell, of course – a fact that raised some interesting questions for the tracking company, the least of which is whether the ACLU cares about privacy rights for reptiles. (They don’t.) After all, Tile started out as a way to track your gizmos. But people use them to track more. A lot more.
Fastened to just about anything
To help turtle owners and anyone who misplaces their stuff, Tile on Tuesday unveiled an all-new hardware lineup, including new form factors and functionality – and at last, an adhesive version of the tracking tech. Meet Tile Sticker, a quarter-sized disk with an adhesive back that you can stick anywhere: the underside of a skateboard or bike seat, your eyeglass case, whatever you’re worried about losing. A getaway car, for example … or a turtle in your backyard. I stuck one to my colleague’s forehead; it stayed there. Tile made the Sticker waterproof up to IPX7 and designed the adhesive in partnership with 3M, and says it will bond to most metal and plastic materials, including remote controls and outdoor gear.
To test it out, I stuck the Sticker to my camera for a weekend, and had no issues with it falling off or interfering with use. (We contemplated sticking it to a cat, but the thought of pulling fur from the adhesive was too much to bear.) The battery should last 3 years, the company says.
Meet the family
The Sticker is just one part of the new lineup: There’s a new version of Tile Slim, for example. The old product was a square 54mm wide, which did fit into a wallet, but felt like shoving a coaster in there. Sure you could, but would you? The new Tile Slim is credit card shaped and twice as loud as before, and the battery should last 3 times longer than that in the old version. To fit it into my wallet, I removed two credit cards I no longer use and barely noticed the difference. I’m a back-pocket wallet guy, meaning I’ve been sitting on the Slim for a week or two now, with no sense of discomfort or butt-fatigue. And the ability to track down my wallet takes a weight off my mind.
Tile Pro is the most powerful Tile, a square with a hole punched out of one corner to let you hang it from your keychain. It’s the first ever Tile with a replaceable battery – handy, because the Tile only gets a year of battery life. It’s also got an improved range of up to 400 feet, and boasts a louder mic so you can hear it when you find it from a distance. Finally there’s Tile Mate, the all-purpose finder, which is basically a simpler version of the Pro. Put it on your key chain, a stuffed animal, your backpack, and so on.
Never lose your stuff
To use any of these gizmos, you first need to download the Tile app and pair it to the Tile – a process that took me about 2 minutes. The app gives you the option to turn your phone into a Tile as well, letting you locate it should you, oh I don’t know, leave your iPhone 4 prototype on a bar stool or something like that. It works on both Android and iOS, even though iPhone users are probably more likely to default to the built in Find my Phone feature.
To find anything, simply open the app, select the missing item, and press the green “Find” button. Within seconds you should hear Tile’s cute melody playing, although the speaker in the smaller Sticker is somewhat hard to hear (maybe try not to lose your stuff so much, m’kay?). The devices integrate with voice assistants, and thanks to partnerships with major manufacturers like Bose, Plantronics, Anker and so on, lots of headphones, luggage, and other things come designed to be Tile hotspots.
The new lineup comes at a crucial time for Tile, when it appears to be facing competition from some Silicon Valley giants: Code for a competing product from Apple was recently uncovered in iOS 13. That said, pet owners need protection now, not tomorrow. And whether it’s a turtle or your tech, Tile’s got you covered.
|Tile Pro||Tile Mate||Tile Slim||Tile Sticker|
|Range||400 feet||200 feet||200 feet||150 feet|
|Battery life||1-year replaceable||1-year replaceable||3 year||3 year|
|Price||$34.95||$24.95||$29.99||$39.99 (2 pack)|
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