Pros / It’s small, discrete and attaches to your keys easily.
Cons / It has a small discovery range because it’s a Bluetooth tracker.
Verdict / This extremely lightweight and slim tracker has become hugely popular in recent years and while we can see why a lot of people love it, it doesn’t have much range and isn’t’ ideal for all situations.
Editor's Note: In October 2018, Apple released the Tile Mate and Tile Pro with a replaceable battery. The trackers themselves cost $25 and you’ll receive a free replacement battery annually you can install yourself under a sliding tab on the back of the tracker. The app also has a premium option with extra alert options, including location history and the ability to share where your Tile is with an unlimited number of people. As of October 2018, smart alerts were still in Beta, but once launched you’ll get a notification when you leave preset places, like your home, without your Tile.
The Tile Mate is great if you constantly find yourself searching your house, car or office for your keys. Where did you put those darn keys this time? With the Tile Mate you won’t have to worry because all you have to do is press a button via the paired app and the Tile will emit a beeping sound. While this is convenient in small spaces, it’s not going to be helpful if you drop your keys in a parking lot or leave them behind at an airport.
That’s because this tracker works via Bluetooth whereas the rest of the trackers we worked with are GPS trackers with nearly unlimited range because they work via satellite and Wi-Fi. The Tile Mate sends a Bluetooth signal to your phone, and that signal can only go so far. We tested this by taking it outside and using a long tape measure. There was a delay when we were between 70 and 80 feet away from the Tile and then once we got to 85 feet away the Tile wouldn’t beep at all. We noticed the app would fail to find the tag if we got out of range and then started walking back toward the tag. Only once we were closer to 40 feet away from it would it once again resume beeping.
This little tracker works solely through an app, so if you’d like to track via your desktop’s browser try the Veriot Venture or Trax Play. It’s splashproof and is the lightest of the trackers we tested, not even hitting 1 ounce, so you won’t even notice you’re using it. If you lost your keys far away, you can turn on Lost Mode. That way, if someone else with a Tile walks within range of yours, you’ll receive a location ping on your phone. Because it beeps it has a discovery range of about 3 feet, the best of all the trackers we tested. The discovery range could be even less if you have superior hearing. You can also use the tag to find your phone. By simply pressing on the tag, it communicates to your phone causing it to make sound so you can find it, whether it’s buried in the couch or accidentally left in the fridge while you were grabbing a midnight snack.
Despite not working like the other GPS trackers we tested, the Tile Mate is extremely inexpensive and doesn’t require a monthly subscription. Once you buy it, all you need do is download the free app and you can start using it. There are also several different styles and sizes available from Apple to suit your needs. According to the product website the battery should last about a year. Impressive.