The trip out to drop my daughter off at school this morning started the way it so often does – where are my keys? It’s a common theme among I’d guess a majority of houses in the country. Lost keys, lost bags, lost phones, lost wallet and so on. The chances are they’re not actually lost just misplaced around the house. In theory a little more care putting things down would cut back on this problem but in practice with a busy household with multiple things going on it’s difficult to do.
Enter technology to save you.
The Tile is a tiny bluetooth tracker that promises to help. It’s physically a small white plastic block with a hole in the corner to let it be attached to whatever you want to. It’s got the Tile logo and that’s it – no obvious buttons or controls. Internally it’s a bluetooth tracker and a single non-rechargable battery that the builders claim will last about a year.
So what does it let you do once it’s set up? It’s got four functions. I said that there weren’t any obvious buttons but if you press quite hard on the ‘e’ in the logo it will make your phone ring – even if the phone is on silent or do not disturb. In other words if you’ve got the Tile but have lost your phone down the back of the couch it can locate it. Secondly it works in reverse – press a button in the app and the Tile rings. These are great if you’ve lost it around the house or work but what about longer distance? The app automatically records the last time and place it saw the Tile so if you left your keys behind in the coffee shop you were just in you can see that on your phone and hopefully go back and get it.
Finally there’s something called the Tile Community. Everyone who has the Tile App installed on their phone automatically keeps an eye out for other Tiles and records those they see via the Tile servers. This means that if you lose your Tile and whatever its connected to any other user’s phone would automatically find it for you. Tile (the company) has published numerous user stories with people losing everything from luggage to bikes and recovering it using their Tile.
Price: ± € £20 for a single Tile, £50 for four tiles
Delivery costs: Free Delivery
Ships to: U.K., Europe. U.S., Canada
About Tile (The Company)
Tile was formed out of desperation with founder Mike Farley was trying to help his wife to stop losing things. The idea was a small device that people could attach to precious things to save time effort and money. They launched on Kickstarter and a couple of years later are now in 200 countries with Tiles being sold everywhere from Apple Stores to Amazon.
Environment & People
The Tiles are £20 for a single tile or £50 for 4. The integrated battery has a lifespan of around a year and its non-replaceable, meaning that it will need to be replaced after a year. After a couple of weeks on my keys it had taken a little damage – the edges weren’t quite as squared off and perfect but aside from that it seems quite tough enough to last a year.
Counteracting the year long lifespan is the fact that you’re less likely to lose your things. I lost my wallet last month and if I’d had a Tile in it the chances are that I’d have been able to find it. As it was I had to cancel and get a large number of cards reissued which took hours and had a monetary cost of much more than a Tile.
For most of us a single Tile on our keys or in a bag makes sense but I can see the utility of several of them if you are very forgetful.
Product dimensions: 3.3 x 3.3 x .5 cm
Item Weight: 9 grams
Battery: single CR2 non-removable non rechargeable battery
Water resistance: IP5 – Water jets (Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.)
The Tile needs to be attached to a compatible smartphone and supports Apple iOS 7 and 8, as well as Android 4.4 and Bluetooth 4.0. They do have a specific list of supported devices but admit that that’s only devices they’ve tested it with rather than ones it will work with.
The Tile’s offer peace of mind. The tiny device takes around 10 minutes to setup – installing the app, pairing it to your phone and you can then you can forget about it until you need it. If you’ve a severe case of “Where did I put that?” the tile will solve it for you and the for the rest of us it will actually help. Recommended.