Tile Pro and Tile Mate (2018) Review

The well-known Bluetooth trackers finally get the upgrade everyone has been waiting for – replaceable batteries.
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Verdict

The new Tile Mate and Tile Pro address the fundamental issue with Tile's original Bluetooth trackers, which makes them the best tracking gadget for anyone wanting to keep their belongings safe.

Pros

  • Now with replaceable battery
  • Louder speaker
  • Greater Bluetooth range
  • Great companion app

Cons

  • Existing Tile users get a discounted price

Key Features

  • Review Price: £20
  • Tile Mate: 1.5x louder; Tile Pro: 3x louder
  • Mate: 150ft range; Pro: 300ft range
  • iOS and Android app
  • Bluetooth LE

What are the Tile Pro and Tile Mate?

Tile makes the best-selling Bluetooth trackers on the market. They allow you to easily locate important belongings, through clever location assistance from Tile’s own community of app users. Any other person with Tile can help to anonymously locate your missing item, leading to stories of users being reunited with their lost baggage halfway across the world.

But while previous Tile devices served their function well, there was one niggling flaw: the batteries weren’t user-replaceable. As such, following a year or so of use, you had to dispose of your old Tile and buy a new one – albeit at subsidised cost, as part of a “reTile” program. Not only was this inconvenient, it was also pretty wasteful.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

With the new 2018 Tile Pro and Tile Mate, the company has finally addressed this issue, letting you swap out the standard watch batteries once they’re out of juice. This act alone instantly makes these new chips more recommendable. However, throw in welcome upgrades to the built-in speaker’s volume and Bluetooth range to make finding your stuff that much easier, and they’re a whole lot more attractive.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate – Design and features

The 2018 Tile trackers come in two models: the Pro (£30) and the Mate (£20). The latter isn’t to be confused with the older Mate, which has a non-replaceable battery. In terms of design, both are pretty similar – but there are some important differences.

First, the new Tile Pro is the larger of the two, measuring 42 x 42 x 6.5mm. It’s available in either black or white finishes, and sports a textured case. There’s a loop off which you can hang your keys; otherwise, it can just slip into a pocket. The new Mate measures a petite 35 x 35 x 6.2mm and is available in only a matte white finish, but similar to the Pro, it has a loop fastening point.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

The Pro is the larger of the two.

There’s no adhesive backing included with either, although there’s nothing to stop you sticking it to your belongings. The Mate, with its less rounded edges, is more secure when stuck to something. Neither model is really svelte enough to slip into a wallet without causing a bulge. For this purpose, you should opt for the existing Tile Slim (2.4mm thickness), but note that this older model doesn’t have a replaceable battery

Flip the two new models over and you’ll find a battery cover that simply slides off when it’s time to replace the battery. It’s worth noting that each model uses a slightly different battery: the Tile Pro uses a CR2032 and the new Mate uses a CR1632. Fortunately, both are readily available from most stores.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

The battery cover on the rear of the device now slides off easily.

I’d have happily recommended the new models based on the replaceable batteries alone, but there have been other welcome improvements. The new Pro’s speaker is 3x louder than the older Tile Slim, and it has a Bluetooth range of 90 metres. The new Tile Mate is 1.5x louder than the Slim and has a range of 45 metres. So which model you opt for will really depend on the range and volume you’re after. Otherwise, functionality is identical.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate – How well it works

Fundamentally, the Tile’s purpose is to locate your important items – be that the keys to which you have one attached to, the bag you’ve slipped a Tile into, or the laptop onto which you’ve stuck the device. How you use your Tile is up to you.

Location is found via Bluetooth, so you pair your Tile with the companion Tile app for your smartphone. You can then walk around until you’re within range of your Tile and the icon will change to green.

Once you’re within the range of your Tile, you can use your phone to make the Mate or Pro emit a chime to help you find your missing item. The new Tile devices are definitely louder than the older models, but even then – depending on where the Tile is located – the sound might still get muffled if the device is in a bag.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

If you’re in a loud environment, it will still be tricky to locate your Tile – but the app will at least let you know you’re looking in the right place.

Things get a little more sophisticated when you enlist the help of other Tile users to discover a lost item. If you list a Tile as missing in the app, any other Tile user can anonymously help to locate it by walking within range of it. You’ll then receive a notification and email to indicate the item has been found and the last known location. It’s this crowdsourcing that makes the Tile the ultimate “thing” finder.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

Of course, this functionality is limited by how many Tile members there are in a particular area, but there are countless examples of people being reunited with lost luggage in remote locations across the world.

While you can have your own Tile account, you can also share Tiles with others, such as friends and family. This is particularly handy if you have a Tile attached to something you share – a set of car keys, for example.

You can also use your Tile to locate your phone. Just double-press the discreet button behind the logo to make your phone ring, even if it’s set to silent. It’s here you have to be a little considerate; I’ve accidentally set this off by sitting on a Tile attached to my keys a few times. If you’re sat in a theatre, for example, it’s probably best to turn off your phone just in case. For anyone who always misplaces their phone, though, this is a great added function.

Tile Pro and Tile Mate – Tile Premium

The fact that you will no longer need to buy a new Tile year after year will have lost Tile repeated custom. As a result, Tile has launched Tile Premium – a subscription service that adds some extra benefits.

One is replacement batteries shipped out to you when they need changing. There are also Smart Alerts, notifying you if you leave your home without specific Tiles, and an extended warranty. You also get 30 days of location history for your Tiles. Finally, there’s unlimited sharing of your Tiles with friends – usually limited to one other person. The Tile Premium service costs £2.99 a month, or £29.99 a year.

Why buy the Tile Pro and Tile Mate?

Tile Pro and Tile Mate 2018

It’s pretty rare that an otherwise great product is hampered by a single flaw. It’s rarer still that that flaw will get fixed in a new version. But this is eaxctly the case with the new Tile Pro and Tile Mate.

The lack of a replaceable battery made recommending the old models difficult, and the built-in expiration date meant I never wanted to gift them. Now, with replaceable batteries, both models are great purchases. Which model you choose will depend entirely on your needs.

Tile Premium isn’t a necessity – I haven’t opted to extend beyond the free trial – but it does add some useful functionality. All in all, if you need to be able to locate your important items, the new Tile models prove to be excellent choices.

Verdict

The new Tile Pro and Tile Mate rectify the biggest flaw of previous models, making them a must-have “thing” finder.

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