It seems like everyone has been hitting the Tile fray lately, from Apple to AirTag to Samsung and its SmartTag. The tile is not carrying it lying down, and it has offered a fresh lineup Among the bluetooth tracker products that help you find your stuff. Tile’s advantage over its Big Tech rivals is that it has the only platform-agnostic product line. So if you’re not particularly into the Apple or Samsung ecosystem and are always losing your car keys, Tile is worth a look.
The $34.99 Tile Pro, a product from Tile with a user-replaceable battery, features a new, taller design that Tile says is modeled after a key fob. With more space, you get a better speaker and a Bluetooth range of 400 feet. This still takes A CR2032 battery (aka a.) BIOS Battery) that tile says should last a year.
Other Tile products have permanent batteries that Tile says should last for three years, and after that, you’ll need to replace them. The $24.99 Tile Mate (Tile’s inexpensive key-chain tracker), the $34.99 Tile Slim (a credit card-sized tracker for your wallet), and the $29.99 Tile Sticker (a small plastic circle with sticky tape) where there’s a loop The connector is not viable. The range of these three items has been upgraded to 250 feet, which Tile says is “a 25% increase for the Mate and Slim, and a 67% increase for the Sticker.” Every new tracker, including the Pro, has IP67 dust and water resistance, so they should survive being submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes.
There are four new trackers for sale now on the tile site.
“Tile Ultra” coming in 2022
Tile also teased a “Tile Ultra” coming in 2022. It represents the company’s leap forward in the ultra-wideband market. Tile didn’t provide pictures of the physical tracker, just a mockup of what the app interface would look like.
Traditionally, tiles help you locate an item by playing a sound. All trackers have tiny speakers, and they’ll play a cracking little ringtone when you hit the “Find” button, and you’ll go hunting for noise. Ultra-wideband (or UWB), on the other hand, is a newer radio technology that can physically detect an object in relation to your phone. The app will show an arrow interface, like a compass on your smartphone, that always points to the object you’re looking for. It also shows how far you are from the object.
Whether you want UWB or sound location depends on your situation. If you’re in the same room as your item, the sound is probably going to get louder. Most people can intuitively detect the direction and distance of the sound, and you can look for the object instead of looking for your smartphone. If you can not do Hear items—like if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, or if you leave your car keys outside in the driveway or looking for a checked bag in a busy airport—UWB’s compass interface makes sense .
Tile calls the Ultra “Tile’s best-in-class Bluetooth discovery experience,” but the company doesn’t mention whether the device also has a speaker or if it can only be located with UWB. I think an ideal device would do both: ring when it’s nearby and UWB when it’s not in earshot.
UWB support is currently hard to find. Apple has had the longest support, starting with the 2019 iPhone 11, while Samsung debuted with the 2021 Galaxy S21. Google is expected to ship UWB with the Pixel 6 next week and is only now offering the UWB API in Android 12. Tile says it will be “the first ultra-wideband tracker compatible with both Android and iOS devices.”