Back when I was a drunk I used to lose my keys all the time, more recently I lost my keys in the gym which also included the keys for my bike lock, and therefore ended in a long walk home.
I reviewed TrackR Bravo several years ago, and after a short period of time stopped using it as it ended up being quite poor. Similarly, the Mynt ES Bluetooth Tracker had a woeful app that rarely worked.
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So a few months ago, on Prime Day, I decided to fork out my own money to buy one of the market-leading solutions, Tile. If you are not aware of the company, they produce a relatively simple range of device that uses Bluetooth that can be attached to various objects and easily find them with your phone.
The Tile Mate is the most affordable solution Tile offer, and if you buy at the right time you can get them for as low as £11, or frequently £15, meaning they are cheap enough to buy on a whim and not stress about using it long term or not.
More recently, Tile updated the Mate with an extended Bluetooth range, as well as launching the new Tile Sticker. They were kind enough to send me one of the new Mate’s out so I figured I should pull my finger out and finally review them.
The Tile Mate is small, but it's not tiny, it is fine for my keys, and it will fit in my wallet, but I use a slim wallet, and this adds a fair amount of girth giving it an awkward bump.
Also, what I realised after attaching these to my keys, is that I run a lot, and I am possibly the sweatiest person ever, and both the Mate and Pro are only water-resistant. It is probably fine for most people, but almost certainly not for me.
What differentiates Tile between the other brands I have tried is the app. Like many other Bluetooth devices you download the app, sign up and follow the basic set-up procedure. This all works perfectly the first time, no app crashes or another annoyance. When paired, Tile guides you through the very basic uses, double press the tile to locate your phone and use your phone to locate the tile.
You can even integrate Tole with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts and Comcast Xfinity X1.
The new Tile Mate has a range of 150ft which is a 50% increase from my older Mate – during my basic testing this is about right, and it is enough range to locate the Mate anywhere in my out.
Unlike the TrackR Bravo, the Tile Mate is easily audible across a room, and the few times I have used it I have had no issues locating my keys. The new Mate is apparently twice as loud as the one it replaces, and this does seem to be the case, or at least it is definitely louder. With the new Mate, I was able to hear the tracker in the room downstairs from me with all my doors closed.
Unlike the Mynt ES, the app works perfectly and had no issues with connecting to a tracker and identifying where it is.
With Tile using Bluetooth, it needs to be within range of your device to find it, so it is not ideal for losing your keys or wallet when out and about. However, they try and solve this problem in two ways, one via crowdsourcing, and the other with location history.
With crowdsourcing they tap into all the other Tile users to try and find your device, it is a clever concept, but the chances of success will be minimal, albeit better than not using this method. For me, there are 304 tile members nearby with Blackpool having an estimated population of 139,720. If I lived in London, with a greater population density the chances of finding someone would be a bit better.
The other option is with location history, which costs £2.99 per month or £30 per year. This then allows you to track your Tile for up to 30 days, set geofences, and get free battery replacements for the Mate and Pro. For someone like myself, with two Tiles, I would say this is a bit too expensive, but a family of four or five, with multiple tiles each then things become a lot more reasonable.
Tile is not doing anything revolutionary with the Tile Mate, or even any of their products, but they do have a system that works exceptionally well and at a reasonable price especially for the Mate.
With the Sticker and Slim, you have a versatile range of devices that can suit all your needs. Most recently my partner lost her Airpods, you can’t track them when they are in the case, which is moronic, but we eventually found them, however, the Sticker would have saved several days of stress.
The range of tracking devices, combined with an app that just works well are what make Tile the stand out company in this niche.
Tile Mate 2019 Review Score
Overall - 85%
The most effective Bluetooth tracker I have used, with an easy to use app, and reasonably priced hardware.