Losing stuff isn’t an experience we forget that easily, which is why there is a wealth of Bluetooth trackers available — the most notable being from Tile.
Considering that the Tile trackers have been around for a while, it’s the further integration with the Google Assistant that makes them even more appealing than they already were. You can now directly control your trackers simply by asking for them by name, with the Google Assistant able to call your wallet, phone, keys and more to help you find them.
Being around since 2015, Tile has mindshare that many other smart Bluetooth trackers can’t claim. This already puts them near the top of the wishlists of many of you out there already.
The added bonus of a tighter and cleaner experience with your Google Home and Google Nest speakers and smart displays is just an added but very welcome bonus.
Design & Hardware
A Bluetooth tracker needs to be compact and at the same time easy to spot. Luckily, the Tile trackers happen to hit both targets and unlike many other alternatives, come in a few distinct versions designed specifically for different purposes. You can pick up Tile units in a few shapes and two distinct colors: black and white.
The Tile Slim is designed specifically to mimic a credit card, meaning that you can slip it into your wallet. It is a little thicker than two credit cards, which means you probably will notice it if you already carry quite a few. It looks really inconspicuous too, with just a small Tile logo, little three-dot speaker and matte black finish.
With a smaller size, the Tile Mate is designed to look like a basic keyring — and it succeeds. You wouldn’t necessarily notice that it is a piece of tech unless you were aware of the Tile brand. The large Tile logo button is prominent but the size is ideal when attached to a set of keys. The underside has the three-dot speaker and a battery door — should you need to replace it.
Conversely, the Tile Stickers are designed to be quite a bit more discreet. They stick on the side or inside an item using the included 3M tape. They look very much like a large jacket button and although small, are likely best used for larger items — as I feel like you could knock them off the outer shell of a laptop for instance. You can always stick on the back of a phone case if you are constantly losing track of your phone while at home too.
As for battery longevity, the Tile Slim and Stickers should last up to three years, the Mate for as long as the watch battery lasts. The Bluetooth range of the Slim and Mate is around 200-feet, whereas the Stickers have a 150-foot radius. This might change just how you use each tracker either around your home or on your tech.
It’s worth noting that the Tile Stickers are actually waterproof, making them ideal for tech you use outdoors such as headphones, or even just things like bike helmets and such. You just have to give them 24 hours for the adhesive to be fully bonded.
Installation & Set-Up
Unlike many of the other products that make up your Google-powered smart home, the Tile trackers don’t require a wall outlet to get started. Instead, you just need to download the dedicated Tile app to get going.
This guides you through the set-up process and helps you create an account if you don’t already have one. You can subscribe to the Tile Premium service at $3 per month. This gives you some more notable alerts when you might leave something behind, allows you to share Tile devices between accounts, and includes 30-day location tracking history. On top of that, Tile will also send out replacement batteries for trackers should they die.
Most of the main controls are found here too. You can set a ringtone, volume, name and assign more to each tracker itself. My advice would be to keep things simple — i.e. wallet for your wallet, car keys for your keys etc. Having a simple name makes it much easier to recall when you lose what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve followed the relatively easy set-up process, you’re now ready to tie your Tile account to your Google Home account. Simply sign in and all of your previously set up Tile devices will be added and available for voice commands. Unlike some other Google Home tech, it doesn’t appear that you need to assign a room to your Tile trackers — which makes a lot of sense.
Control & Integration
Don’t expect a ton of controls here. After all, Tile trackers are literally there to add very basic tracking to your existing tech and stuff. Instead of having to ask Google to speak to Tile, you can straight up ask where your trackers are. This speeds up the process immensely.
Here are a few example commands:
- ”Hey Google, ring my (laptop, keys)”
- “Hey Google, make my (backpack, water bottle, wallet) ring”
- “Hey Google, where is my (purse, camera, tablet)”
- “Hey Google, find my (gym bag, passport, bike)”
Just flat out asking where something is will give you audible feedback of where your Tile was last seen. I do think it would be nice to see this on a map too but, alas, this isn’t an option — hopefully soon though. For the forgetful this is such a neat thing, being able to ask Google where your wallet, keys or phone are located really helps you if you are prone to leaving things in mysterious locations. One thing to note is that setting a different ringtone for each item really helps too.
Being more tightly integrated into the Google Assistant and Google Home ecosystem means that you can add your Tile trackers into your morning routine. That means you can get the perfect audible reminder of where your wallet or keys are just before you head out of the door — reducing your morning rush stress levels.
If you manage to bury your Tile under a mountain of stuff, you might hear muffled rings but should they fall silent, you can open the Tile app and get a visual cue on how close you are. This might be helpful if you put something in a bag or similar. Double-tapping the button will also ping your smartphone, giving reverse location tracking functionality — and is pretty neat.
Of course, many of you might already have a Tile Bluetooth tracker — which is great! You can now tag your trackers into your existing Google Home ecosystem and then gain all of the voice controls that come with the recently added further integration.
It’s a little annoying that there isn’t a visual map shown on your Smart Display or Google Nest Hub of where items are, but given the range of each Tile tracker is under 250-feet, it might not be accurate enough to help. You can still load up the Tile app though and get a map view of the last location — so not too much of a major issue.
In a perfect universe, we would never need a product such as Tile. Luckily, for the forgetful or just for that extra peace of mind, Tile exists and now the integration with your Google Home speakers is even better still. For the forgetful, the array of Tile trackers have to be considered a Google Home Essential.
Where can I get a Tile tracker?
Depending on just what you want, you can get each Tile tracker individually, or in specific combo packs that offer better value. My choice would be the Tile Essentials pack, which at $69 gives you a Tile Slim, Tile Mate, and two Tile Stickers — this should be enough for most use-cases.
Alternatively, at $25, the Tile Mate is the catch-all tracker. It is probably the best to start with, as you can always slap it on your car keys or house key without issue — a 4-pack starts at $69 too. The Tile Stickers start at $40 for a two-pack. For a solitary Tile Slim, that will set you back $30.
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