Tile Sticker: No more losers weepers with this bluetooth tracker
Review: The Tile Sticker will find remote controls, bikes, toys or anything you lose
Product name: Tile Sticker twinpack
Where to buy: https://www.thetileapp.com
I seem to spend half my day looking for things. Keys. My ID badge. Remote controls – so many remote controls. My phone. I’d hate to tot up all the time I spend trying to hunt down these things, because it’s significant.
As has been documented on these pages before, I’m a big fan of bluetooth trackers, precisely because they eliminate the daily hunt. Chipolo was a favourite for a while simply because it had a replaceable battery, but there are other options.
Tile is probably the most popular device in this area – and that is important, for reasons I will get into. Since its launch, the company has added a few new devices to its line-up. The Tile now has the Tile Mate, with a replaceable battery, and the Pro, which has a replaceable battery and a longer range of 400ft.
There is the Tile Slim, which is thin enough to fit in your wallet, and the Sticker, a small round tile that you can attach to remote controls, bikes, children’s toys – anything you want to keep track of. These two don’t have replaceable batteries, but Tile says they will last around three years before they need to be replaced. That is a conservative estimate, though; it will all depend on how often you have to “ring” your Tile to find it.
The Tile Sticker is versatile. It’s small enough to fit on the back of the remote control, and, considering that is the thing I spend most of my days and evenings hunting for, it seemed like a sensible use for it.
Despite its small size, the Sticker is quite loud. It’s not quite on the level of the Tile Pro, or even the Mate, but it is loud enough to be able to locate it even when it is firmly wedged down the side of the sofa. That’s important, because that’s usually where it ends up, if it’s not buried down the back of a toy box or, on one memorable occasion, wedged down the back of the radiator.
The Sticker comes in a twin pack, so there was a spare to sort out the upstairs TV remote, which has met similar fates on several occasions (the original has yet to be located, but the replacement is now tagged).
Adding the tiles to your account is a simple process. Open the app, press the plus sign to add a new Tile, choose your tracker and then follow the instructions to activate it. You can give it a custom name and avatar, and when you need to find it, you simply choose it from the app. If you are in range, it will play a tune to help you locate it; if not, you can turn it over to the community to help find it.
Particularly for items that are leaving the house, the strength of Tile lies in its community. I’ve tried multiple trackers, from Tile to Chipolo and a few others in between. They’re all great while you are within bluetooth range of your device, but go outside of that and you are relying on the Tile community to find your lost item. Anyone with the Tile app on their phone who passes by the location of your lost Tile can help relay its location. There is no effort on the community’s part; all they need to do is pass close by. The key thing is that no account or personal information passes to the item’s owner when you play a part in finding an item – it’s all anonymous.
But obviously, the more popular the device is, the more likely it is you will track down your lost item. It’s a numbers game, and Tile, to be frank, is winning.
The app shows you how many people around you are using Tile; it was consistently above 1,000 in my local area and 1,500 in the city centre. Twice I marked an object left at home or in the office as lost; twice it was “found” by the community. And when my Tile account was used to find someone else’s lost item, I got a notification to say I’d been of some use, even though I was unaware of it at the time.
If you want you can sign up for a premium membership, which gives you some extras. Want alerts when you leave the house without your wallet? How about your work ID badge? Premium does that, plus gives a location history for your item, and battery replacements for the Tiles on your account that have swappable batteries.
Stick it to anything you want to find, and it will stay attached. I tried to knock it off – it didn’t budge. I tried pulling it away from the remote and it still stayed stuck fast. It’s not permanent, and if you really want to get it off you can lever it off, but it won’t accidentally fall off and leave you with a sticker attached to a sofa cushion. Plus you can customise the tunes for each Tile through the app.
The not so good
The Sticker isn’t quite as low-profile as you would think, so putting it on a remote control will give you a definite bump on the back.
Tile is also branching out. When I got a set of Skullcandy headphones, they came with the option to add them to my Tile account so I could figure out their location. It took a few minutes to add the headphones to my account, and then I could pinpoint their location. Lose your phone? Double press the button on the Tile and it will force your phone to play a tune through the Tile app, even if it is in silent mode.
I’m buying these and sticking them to everything I lose on a regular basis.