Review written on August 24, 2016
- Relatively low price
- 100 foot search range, plus crowd finding for unlimited range
- Durable and water resistant
- Works with iPhones, iPads and Android devices
- Bluetooth only, not true GPS
- Needs to be replace after a year, due to depleted battery
Why We All Could Use Tile
A survey showed that people spend 10 minutes every day rummaging for lost items. That’s a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days spent searching for stuff, over our lifetimes. Lost items range from smartphones to car keys to even their pets! Worse yet, the study found that four out of ten people argue with their partner about lost items. Top three lost items, smartphones, house keys, car keys.
As an example, today a co-worker frantically came into the staff room. I asked him what was going on. He said that he couldn’t find his keys. Searched everywhere and couldn’t find them. In frustration, he rushed out saying something about, “If I can retrace my steps, maybe I’ll be able to find them!!” We’ve all been there. If he had a Tile on his key chain, like I do, this never would have been a problem.
What is Tile
As you might have guessed, Tile is a Bluetooth-enabled device that lets you keep track of your stuff and lets you find it with your smart phone or tablet. It can either lead you to your lost item, or you can have Tile play a tune. Perfect for when the Tile is less than 10 feet away, but you still can’t see it.
To use the Tile simply press the “e” to wake up your Tile. Register and name it using the company’s app. You can then use the key hole to attach it to a keys or a pet’s collar. If you want to attach it to something like a laptop, which seems to float around the house, you can use Tile’s adhesive square. You could also just throw it in a backpack, your purse or put it in your car, when you go shopping at a store with a large parking lot. What about your smart phone? More on that later.
Now that my Tile is labeled and attached, how do I find my hard to find item?
Open up the app and all your Tile items will be displayed on the home screen.
The green items are the ones that are in range. The greyed item will have the last known location for that item. Perfect for if you are looking for your car in a busy parking lot.
You can see how close an item is to you, by the number of bars displayed on the app.
Press the find button and the Tile will play a tune that is reminiscent of the old arcade games. People have complained that the song was too quiet. But with the Gen 2 version, the only one we sell, the tune is now significantly louder (90 decibels or three times louder).
What if it’s out of range of my smartphone?
Fortunately there is still a way to find it. It’s called Community Find. Wherever the Tile app is running on anyone’s phone or tablet, it automatically logs the location of any other Tiles that it detects. This is done discretely and anonymously. So if you select “Notify when found” in the app, if another Tile owner picks up the location of your Tile, the location will be relayed from the other app user, anonymously and unknowingly, to you through the app. The downside is that the Tile Community Find feature will only work as intended, in areas with lots of other Tile users, which will be in larger cities. However, according to the makers of Tile, the number of Tile users is increasing rapidly.
Finally, the second generation Tile has a find my phone feature. Simply press “e” on your Tile and your phone will play a loud tune even if it’s in silent mode. This is easier than going on to the web site, logging in and finding your phone through the website.
The main limitation of Tile is the 100 foot search range. If you have a cat, like we do, that does a disappearing act as soon as the cat carrier comes out (which always means a trip to the vet or the groomers), the Tile still does a great job on your pet’s collar. But not so much for a dog that’s on the move outside. Even with Community Find. Community Find is reliant on how many people in your area and have the Tile app open. If your dog it moving, it could turn into a hopeless cat and mouse game. For any dog who likes to roam the neighborhood, we recommend the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker. For your car keys, smartphone, house keys, and a cat hiding under the bed, we recommend the Tile.