Review: New Tile Mate and Tile Pro with replaceable batteries, premium subscription plan

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2018
Tile on Tuesday released a pair of Bluetooth trackers, the Pro and updated Mate, with designs that -- finally -- accommodate user-replaceable batteries. AppleInsider got its hands on the products and takes them, as well as the new Tile premium subscription plan, for a spin.

Tile Mate and Tile ProTile Mate and Tile Pro


The new device duo is the culmination of years of work, and for many customers fulfills a long-standing request. Tile has a tendency to iterate on past designs, which is what it has done here, but the company's latest releases appear to have tackled some oft-requested features in both hardware and software.

While form and capability have changed, function has not. Tile physically attaches to any item and pairs with an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth to monitor its location. Once activated, users can ping a Tile tracker remotely to find a lost pair of keys, for example, or locate a dropped wallet with Tile's unique crowd-sourced Community Find feature. Tracking goes both ways, as tapping Tile's button prompts a host device to sound if it's within range, useful for finding a misplaced iPhone.




Tile Pro

The Tile Pro's aesthetic is similar to that of the Tile Sport. Both models have a dark exterior with metal frame wrapping around a textured plastic center. The new model clarifies the design with a thinner metal chassis that integrates nicely with its central housing.

Tile Pro will now work from 300 feet away, 50 percent farther than the Tile Sport and Tile Style. The ring volume is also louder, which makes the two most important parts of the Bluetooth tracker better than ever.

Tile Pro
Tile Pro


Tile has finally embraced replaceable batteries, meaning users no longer have to pick up a new model when their old one inevitably dies after a year's use. With a standard CR2032 cell-style battery inside, Tile's serviceable lifespan has greatly increased.

Another small tweak we appreciate is the integrated key ring loop. The metal around this area is thinner, and the hole itself is larger, making it easier to get the Tile on or off.

We will say that the new model feels a little lighter -- cheaper -- compared to the Tile Sport, though it does feel just as solid.

Compared to the Mate, Tile Pro is louder, more durable, better designed and works from farther away. Those extra features will run you $35, $10 more than the Style and Sport.

Tile Mate

From the exterior, the new Mate is a spitting image of its predecessor. It is still small, thin and mostly white. The differences are quickly apparent when turning the device over to view its back, where three speaker ports and new battery access door are located.

To accommodate the replaceable battery, and possibly the louder speaker, Tile was forced to increase the size of the device. It is a hair larger in all dimensions. Though noticeable when compared side-by-side with the older Mate, the chunky size won't be a deal breaker.

Tile Mate and Tile Pro
Tile Mate and Tile Pro


The updated version of the Tile Mate now has a range of 150 feet, up 50 percent from the last generation. Like the Pro, the speaker is much louder, a plus for finding items buried in piles of clothes or stuck in the sofa.

Tile Mate costs $5 more than the last generation, running $25 for a single unit. The price increase is more than worth it with a replaceable battery, as the tracker will last much longer than a year.

Tile Premium

In the past, Tile batteries were non-replaceable, meaning the entire tracker had to be replaced on an almost yearly cycle. This recurring business model undoubtedly provided Tile with additional revenue.

With the move to replaceable batteries, Tile is looking to supplement lost profits with Tile Premium, a new subscription service that provides users with a pile of bonus features for a subscription fee of $2.99 a month or $29.99 a year.

All Tiles are covered under the subscription, which gets them two additional years of warranty protection. A limited number of free battery replacements is available for supported trackers, so you don't have to worry about picking up spares.

Tile Premium Options
Tile Premium Options


On the software side, subscribers get access to Smart Alerts that notify users when they leave an area without their Tile, unlimited sharing of owned Tiles and 30 days of saved location history.

The best Bluetooth trackers

We've used Tiles for years, as well as other Bluetooth trackers. Tile has been hands down the most reliable out of the bunch, but it has always been hampered by a high price tag and non-replaceable batteries.

This year, Tile has solved at least one of those problems. Even though the price still trends toward the high side when compared to the rest of the market, user-replaceable batteries significantly extends the product's lifespan.

Tile Mate with Siri Shortcuts
Tile Mate with Siri Shortcuts


Of all the enhancements, our favorite feature isn't even exclusive to the new devices. With Siri Shortcuts, you can now ask Siri whenever you need to find your keys, remote, bag, wallet, camera or anything else that might be misplaced. With iCloud synchronization, Shortcuts works from your iPhone, iPad and even your HomePod.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to buy

Tile's line of Bluetooth trackers is widely available, with the new models available on Amazon and from Tile directly.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    JustAnotherLonelyVoiceJustAnotherLonelyVoice Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    considering the praise and the video, why only 3.5 out of 5?
    svanstromtoysandmebluefire1stevejollyjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    You don’t mention it requires tile users nearby to locate your tile.  When I visit my in-laws in LA their are so many tiles compared to Chicago where I live.   Of course tile doesn’t tell you how many are nearby,  When I got my first tile many years ago I couldn’t even find another tile user nearby.  Just like when in-laws had me switch to Waze years ago - incredible in LA traffic and Chicago traffic terrible not much use.  Both much better now but still many more users in CA in my opinion.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    You don’t mention it requires tile users nearby to locate your tile.  When I visit my in-laws in LA their are so many tiles compared to Chicago where I live.   Of course tile doesn’t tell you how many are nearby,  When I got my first tile many years ago I couldn’t even find another tile user nearby.  Just like when in-laws had me switch to Waze years ago - incredible in LA traffic and Chicago traffic terrible not much use.  Both much better now but still many more users in CA in my opinion.
    As relevant as that is, isn't the most important feature knowing where you last had your own device?

    I mean, if I've lost my [anything] I find that I'm always able to track it down just by figuring out when and where I last had it; or someone's stolen it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    Replaceable batteries!  YAY!  Definitely buying into this new line.  My last 'old' models are in use now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    considering the praise and the video, why only 3.5 out of 5?
    This is exactly what I was going to say! I was expecting a 4.5 rating. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Do these have Bluetooth 5 yet? If not I would wait.  No investigative journalism at AI to tell us the version used, just pumping out news releases.  :(
  • Reply 7 of 21
    Do these have Bluetooth 5 yet? If not I would wait.  No investigative journalism at AI to tell us the version used, just pumping out news releases.  :(
    Why does that matter, besides it being a number higher than another number that is lower…?

    I get the tech behind it all, and I just don't see any logical reasoning for going without a tracker (if you need one) just based on whether or not it's Bluetooth 5 or not?
    StrangeDaysjbdragontoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 253member, editor
    considering the praise and the video, why only 3.5 out of 5?
    Hey there! Just giving some color to my 3.5 review rating.

    Compared to the previous Sport and Style, the new Pro feels quite a bit cheaper and lighter. They are also slightly bigger than the past models.

    Many features that other trackers include for free are now behind the paywall of a subscription.

    Lastly, they are still somewhat expensive, actually raising prices over the older modes (which is slightly compensated for with replaceable batteries).

    In short, they are excellent Bluetooth trackers -- probably the best you can get -- but they have their downsides. Totally worth picking up, but not a slam dunk.
    toysandmesvanstromjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 253member, editor
    Do these have Bluetooth 5 yet? If not I would wait.  No investigative journalism at AI to tell us the version used, just pumping out news releases.  :(
    Most likely no. Tile says Bluetooth LE, which is going to be part of Bluetooth 4.2.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,304member
    Do these have Bluetooth 5 yet? If not I would wait.  No investigative journalism at AI to tell us the version used, just pumping out news releases.  :(
    Most likely no. Tile says Bluetooth LE, which is going to be part of Bluetooth 4.2.
    Call em up and ask em before going to press? When I used to write reviews for the paper I found the media relations people were more than happy to get me info for my review. 
    edited October 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    I have the current Tile Pro, and will consider upgrading when the battery needs to be replaced.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,961member
    Has everybody developed early onset Alzheimer's?

    What is so hard about keeping track of your keys?
    Or, to put another way, if you can't remember where you put your car keys, it may be best if they stay lost.
    atomic101
  • Reply 13 of 21
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,275member
    When Apple finishes it’s car codes in watch/iPhone function, 50% of Tile’s raison d’etre will disappear. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 21
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    When Apple finishes it’s car codes in watch/iPhone function, 50% of Tile’s raison d’etre will disappear. 
    How will that help track my suitcases or find my car keys etc.?  I must be missing something.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    fred1fred1 Posts: 331member
    Has everybody developed early onset Alzheimer's?

    What is so hard about keeping track of your keys?
    Or, to put another way, if you can't remember where you put your car keys, it may be best if they stay lost.
    Thank you! I’ve never understood the need for this, unless it’s to find something that was just stolen, but only that will work if the thief is still less than 300 (or 150) feet away. How about being the least bit proactive: always put your keys and wallet in the same place at home/work. Put your purse in a visible place. Etc. 
    GeorgeBMacatomic101
  • Reply 16 of 21
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    fred1 said:
    Has everybody developed early onset Alzheimer's?

    What is so hard about keeping track of your keys?
    Or, to put another way, if you can't remember where you put your car keys, it may be best if they stay lost.
    Thank you! I’ve never understood the need for this, unless it’s to find something that was just stolen, but only that will work if the thief is still less than 300 (or 150) feet away. How about being the least bit proactive: always put your keys and wallet in the same place at home/work. Put your purse in a visible place. Etc. 
    I don't think you are understanding how Tile works.  This from their website:  "Tile connects you to the world’s largest search party so everyone using the app within range of your lost item can update its location for you." ... and I will add, for clarification, even if your lost item is 3,000 miles away.


    edited October 2018 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    I've had Tile since they started and I've hated having to rebuy every year. Now that they've got a recurring service they can get revenue from why don't they just put in a battery system that will charge on a Qi Pad? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 21
    MacPro said:
    Replaceable batteries!  YAY!  Definitely buying into this new line.  My last 'old' models are in use now.

    At last! The _only_ feature that I have missed since my first Tiles arrived (I was one of the crowd-funders for the Tiles development project, long ago). Replaceable batteries! Yo!

    A few ornery owners of first-generation Tiles did replace our batteries with secret voodoo knowledge, but it wasn't worth it -- it spoiled the Tiles' neat appearance and certainly made them anything but water-resistent. I swapped out the "non-replaceable" batteries a couple of times just to be stubborn, and after that I replaced my expiring Tiles with new ones like a good doggie. Tile needed that semi-predictable stream of income to survive and grow, and they certainly offered existing owners enough opportunities for special pricing that periodically replacing my Tiles was not that much of a burden. FYI, there was in fact a design flaw with their first-generation products (from Tile's perspective): the first ones actually lasted two years or more before you had to replace them. That must have played hell with the business model.

    No question that Tiles are the best small "thing-finder" that I've found.  I've tried a few of the alternative trackers and I've been disappointed by them.

    Thus, back to the question from several other posters:
    Why the 3.5 rating? I would definitely give it a 4.5 or perhaps a bit higher, considering the replaceable batteries. Given Tile's quality and its popularity (which constantly improves its lost-object crowd-driven finding capabilities) -- and, in general, the continuing improvements in its apps and software and the high satisfaction level of its owners -- 4.5 seems a reasonable number. So, is there something that we don't know? Halitosis? Sending the locations of our car keys to the Russians?
  • Reply 19 of 21
    kayesskayess Posts: 27member
    So I can stick a Tile in a flat cap but I think glasses will be impossible - and unaesthetic too - but can anyone contradict that? 

    I keep my keys in my pocket.  The only thing I’d want Tiles for is my glasses and my cap.  Both vital items lose themselves at every opportunity for reasons known only to themselves.  I wonder if that’s worth £29 a year (assuming it’ll be pounds for dollars as often happens) (indeed is the coverage any good in UK?) 


    edited October 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    fred1fred1 Posts: 331member
    MacPro said:
    fred1 said:
    Has everybody developed early onset Alzheimer's?

    What is so hard about keeping track of your keys?
    Or, to put another way, if you can't remember where you put your car keys, it may be best if they stay lost.
    Thank you! I’ve never understood the need for this, unless it’s to find something that was just stolen, but only that will work if the thief is still less than 300 (or 150) feet away. How about being the least bit proactive: always put your keys and wallet in the same place at home/work. Put your purse in a visible place. Etc. 
    I don't think you are understanding how Tile works.  This from their website:  "Tile connects you to the world’s largest search party so everyone using the app within range of your lost item can update its location for you." ... and I will add, for clarification, even if your lost item is 3,000 miles away.


    I guess not. So “the world’s largest search party” is going to help me find my wallet or keys? In my house? And if it’s, say, a bicycle, why wouldn’t a thief just remove the Tile? 
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.