Tile is in a bit of a tough spot. Recently, the company started facing the mother of all competition — Apple. Apple is not only expanding the reach of its Find My network, but it has also released AirTags Bluetooth trackers, and has built features into the system that others just can’t match. But Tile still has some advantages. Tile’s latest trackers are available in a range of different form factors, and new for 2021, they offer louder volume, improved water resistance, and a better range.
But they still have an uphill battle ahead of them. There’s one way in which Tile just can’t compete. Reach. Apple’s Find My network uses Apple’s massive network of iPhones to keep track of your lost items — and let’s be frank: If you’ve lost something, you probably want the most accurate and built-out network at your disposal to help find it.
Of course, that still leaves Android users. Can Tile’s new trackers compete with AirTags? And should Android users buy them, or go for something else? I’ve been using the new range of Tile trackers for a while now to find out.
The Tile Mate is Tile’s entry-level tracker. It’s relatively small, fits easily on a keychain, and offers a range of up to around 250 feet. It’s definitely a little larger than an AirTag, but it also has a keyhole built into it — so you don’t have to use other holders like you do an AirTag. The tracker is available in black or white, and is very lightweight.
The button on the Tile Mate is located under the Tile logo in the middle of the tracker. It’s pretty easy to press, and pressing it twice will cause your phone to ring, if your phone’s in range.
The speaker on the Tile Mate is relatively loud, though not as loud as that on the Tile Pro. I found I was easily able to hear it upstairs from downstairs in my home. On the back, the Tile Mate has a QR code that a person can scan if they find your item. Scanning the code will result in contact information being shown to the person that found the device.
The Tile Mate is a solid choice for those who want something to attach to their keys or another backpack. It has IP67 water resistance, and the battery should last up to three years. Unfortunately, that battery is non-replaceable, so after the three years you’ll need to buy a new tracker. It comes at $24.99 for one tracker.
The next step up in price is the Tile Sticker, which is built for a slightly different purpose. The Tile Sticker is aimed at those who want to semi-permanently attach a Tile to an object, like a remote or a bike.
The device is small and puck-shaped, and has a much smaller footprint than the Tile Mate, though it is a bit thicker. It has an adhesive back, and it’s only available in black. That adhesive seemed to be very strong in my testing, and I never worried about the tracker detaching on its own.
Like the Tile Mate, the Sticker has a non-replaceable battery, which is a little frustrating to see. The battery should, however, last around three years, which isn’t bad.
The Tile Sticker does not have a QR code on it. Generally, it seems as though the tracker is more built for around-the-home use, but a small QR code on the top still would have been nice.
The button on the Tile Stick is located on the side, and it’s much trickier to press than the button on other Tile Trackers. You’ll need to press down pretty hard to press the button twice to ring your phone. The speaker is about as loud as the Tile Mate, which is to say it’s loud enough for most situations. Again, I was able to hear the speaker from another floor in my house.
The Tile Sticker comes at $29.99.
Next is the Tile Slim, which is built to fit inside your wallet. The Tile Slim really lives up to its name — it’s a very thin tracker, and honestly felt like it could be snapped in half pretty easily. Safely inside your wallet, however, that shouldn’t be much of an issue. It is a little thicker than an average credit card, but will still fit snugly in any wallet.
The Tile Slim also has a range of up to 250 feet, and the non-replaceable battery should last up to three years. The button on the Slim is located under the Tile logo, and it’s the easiest to press out of all the new Tile trackers. The speaker on the device is about as loud as the Sticker and Mate trackers too. And, on the back of the slim can be found the QR code.
The Tile Slim costs $34.99, making it the second most expensive Tile tracker.
The Tile Pro is built to be Tile’s best tracker. Unlike the other trackers on the list, the Pro has up to a 400 foot range. It also has a louder speaker than the other trackers. Indeed, the speaker on the Pro does sound louder than the other trackers, but it’s not so much louder that it makes a real difference in day-to-day use. The speaker shouldn’t be the reason you spend more for the Tile Pro.
The Tile Pro is the only tracker to offer a replaceable battery. The battery should last up to a year on a charge, and you can replace it simply by opening the door on the back of the tracker.
Like the Tile Mate, the Tile Pro is available in black and white colors. It’s the most expensive model, coming at $34.99.
The Tile app
You’ll interact with all your Tile trackers through the Tile app, and thankfully, it’s pretty easy to use. The Tile app allows you to see all your trackers at a glance, and add a new tracker if you get one. Through the main tab, you can quickly and easily trigger your Tile trackers to emit a sound, and then dive into each one individually to see its location history, to select the ringtone, and more. There’s also a tab to see all your Tile devices on a map, and a separate tab for notifications.
Tile now also offers a Tile Premium subscription, which costs $29.99 per year, and offers features like a 30-day location history, unlimited location sharing, Smart Alerts, and more. Smart Alerts may come in handy for those that regularly lose things — as you’ll get a notification when you get out of range of one of your items. That’s a feature that AirTags offer too, though — and with AirTags, it’s free.
Bluetooth trackers are only as good as their network, and as far as Bluetooth tracker companies go, Tile’s is the biggest. That means that Tile will update the location of your devices when other users with the Tile app installed are in range. It’s a cool feature.
But there’s one company that can easily outdo that — Apple. Setting aside issues around competition, the fact is that the location of AirTags update whenever an iPhone is in range of them. There are a whole lot more iPhones than Tile users — and the result is that you’ll likely get much more accurate location information with an AirTag than with a Tile tracker.
If you’re an Android user, Tile trackers have no competition. They’re available in a range of form factors, work decently well, and come with some super handy features to help you not only lose your objects, but your phone too.
But there are some meaningful ways in which Tile could improve. For example, the non-Slim trackers should really offer a replaceable battery. And, Tile trackers are a little expensive, with a starting price of $24.99.
The biggest competition comes from Apple, and if you’re an Apple user, AirTags are still the way to go. AirTags come at a similar price, but integrate better with your Apple devices, offer some Tile paid features for free, and rely on a much larger network. It’s a bit of a shame that Tile can’t compete — but it simply can’t.
There isn’t much competition in the Android world — if you’re looking for Bluetooth trackers, go for a tile.
Should I buy a Tile tracker?
Yes, but only if you’re an Android user, or you need a form factor that only Tile comes in. Keep in mind, even an AirTag should fit in your wallet.