Losing things is a total pain in the bum. But wasting those precious moments first thing in the morning, as you frantically search around for your phone or keys, is an even bigger pain. Having a small device that you could attach to your most treasured and precious items that allows your phone to know exactly where they are would be brilliant, and that is exactly what Tile does.
Regular visitor to the site will know that we're no strangers to Bluetooth trackers; those amazing little gadgets that clip onto just about anything so you can track the item's whereabouts. In the past we've reviewed three different versions of Chipolo, as well as the TrackR Bravo, and also a wallet with integrated tracker. Once you get used to using these things they become invaluable and can not only save you time in the morning, but potentially also save you a lot of money replacing lost or stolen stuff.
The Tile is a solid plastic unit with a hole into which a keychain can be threaded, should it be attached to your keys. It is always on, meaning whenever you 'call' it from the Tile app it will chirp out, allowing you to zero in on it and find your missing thing.
The Tile app (iOS and Android) is clean and very minimal. It looks pretty much the same as the apps from the aforementioned Chipolo and TrackR devices, but all three essentially do the same things in a similar way, so that is no surprise. Once you've signed up to a free account it is a simple case of adding the Tile to the app and naming it, e.g. keys, wallet, remote control, etc. Naming it allows you to have several Tiles connected at the same time, all attached to different objects. So if you can't find your bag, open the app, and it will display how far from it you are... approximately, that is. Then you just have to hit the alarm icon and the associated Tile will chirp. Easy to set up, easy to use.
And, just like with the other trackers we've tested, the Tile can also work in reverse. If you can't find your phone you simply squeeze one of your connected Tiles to cause your phone to ring, even if it is on silent. Which is handy.
Tile uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone, so you can usually find the items within a 100ft radius. This is fine if you've lost something at home, as most people tend not to have houses bigger than 100ft (if you do, think of us next Christmas). However, what if you lose your item outside, or if it is ferried away by a cheeky thief?
Tile can use Crowd GPS to help you locate the distantly missing item. Basically, if another Tile app user walks within range of your Tile, their app (without notifying them) will send a message to yours, giving you a GPS location. You then go and, hopefully, find the lost item, using your own app to hone in on it. Its a pretty incredible feature, especially for tracking stolen stuff.
So Tile possesses all the features that the other trackers we've reviewed does... so which one to go for? Well, despite being almost identical in practice, the Tile does have one major thing going for it - that large round hole. Other trackers have ways to link to keychains and the like, but Tile's is larger and easier to access. It might not sound like much of a deciding factor, but when you're trying to attach it to the likes of your bike, you'll appreciate the flexibility.