3 Stars By Hart on 2017-09-06
Brilliant system, horrible Terms Of Service agreement
I apologize for the length of this review, I wanted to be thorough and not cut any corners.
I’d like to get something straightened out right up front. This is not a GPS powered device that reports its location to the app on your phone. There seems to be some confusion or misunderstanding where people think they can track their dog or child. Unless the Tile which is attached to either the dog or child is within range of a phone running the app all Tile devices are useless. The Tile does not report location information, that’s done by a phone running the app that has it’s GPS receiver turned on. The app takes the GPS location from the phone where it sees the Tile and sends that to the system servers. The alternative is to attach a Tile and phone to the dog or child with the app running… That said, if the phone doesn’t have it’s location service turned on the Tile app can’t send in any information on where the Tile is.
TL;DR – Great idea that works very well with enough phones around running the app but extremely intrusive and Tile says they will share your demographic info even though you paid for the Tile.
The way all Tile devices operate is to report through ANY phone running the app. The app then transmits the Tile ID, any Tile, along with the phone GPS location information to the servers which then allow you to locate X (purse, keys, back pack). From a technical perspective this is a brilliant idea, the umbrella becomes huge but it’s only deployed wherever there are phones running the app. Without these phones/app combinations the devices are useless pieces of plastic with a battery. You could be in an open field with 400 phones, if none of them have the app installed and running the Tile is useless.
In metropolitan areas where many people use phones with the app running it almost offers blanket coverage. While a Tile will report through someone else’s phone they will not be able to see it. This transaction of your Tile working through their phone works in the background. In this way there is security, other people can’t see your Tile or it’s location.
In rural areas where there are no phones with the app running all Tile devices are useless. Your dog could be 100 feet away from you on the other side of a metal building and your phone can’t communicate with it. This is a simple RF technology limitation. The 200 foot range stated is under the best possible conditions and is reliant on your phones BT transceiver. In my testing I was able to get about 120 feet, in the open, from the Tile and still make it ring. This can be and is compromised, if either the phone or Tile, have or are near things like metal backed phones cases, metal items in a purse, and especially if up against your body. So yes the range is much better than previous versions but still susceptible to the same things that limit range on any device that uses radio signals (Bluetooth is a radio signal device, this is how wireless operation is achieved).
The above is simply an outline of how the Tile system works and its limitations. Once data reaches the Tile service there is good stuff that happens, like being able to locate your lost keys.
Where I have a problem with this set up is the TOS that Tile makes you agree too. Yes all social media tracks your demographic information, but none to the exact extent that Tile does and none of them charge you. The difference here is that you PAY to buy the Tile so you are in effect paying them to access your demographic information and use it anyway they see fit as per the TOS which includes selling it to third parties. Don’t believe me, install the app and then before just clicking through everything, read it from start to finish. They spread things out through the various sections so read the whole thing. There are so many screen shots that they can’t all be posted here. So, when you use Facebook or any social media app you're doing so for free. It could be argued by them that giving access to where you live, work, go to church, walk the dog, eat most frequently, or shop for groceries is payback for you using their services. Tile makes you pay to give them that information.
Their TOS states that they can and will sell your demographic info to third parties. Again the difference here is that they get pin point GPS info on your comings and goings, something that Facebook can be shut out of if you don’t give the app access to your location information. This is the same for all social media apps. The Tile service can give far greater location info. In 3 minutes my BlackBerry with DTEK security detected 89 requests for location info, that’s a lot. With this and a good GPS signal on your phone they could tell which part of your property you spend the most amount of time in.
On the up side:
The app is nice and fluid, easy to set up and use. It’s been well designed and looks good. To locate your phone by using the Tile the app does have to be running in the background which does use up a little more battery power. The Tile Sport itself does ring a lot louder than the other Tiles I have when you go looking for it in the app. It is somewhat thicker than previous versions but it also looks a lot less like a Tile, more of a key fob design, I happen to like the look.
The location information provided is fairly accurate, as accurate as something can be that could theoretically be up to 200 feet from the device marking its location. This means that when you reach the point where your keys should be you will still need to search a good sized area but at least you have a chance to find the keys, kids, back pack, or whatever its attached to.
The Tile will function for about a year on one battery which is great but you can’t replace it. You need to take part of their program when you BUY a replacement albeit for less than a new device.
End result is that this is a brilliant idea that can and has helped many people locate lost items, no doubt saving a lot of money. Anyone who purchases a Tile device has to decide of this service is worth it in regards to giving away all that very personal information.
So before you buy or use the system make sure you understand just how invasive the service is and what can be done with your information.
3 Stars By ninibugs on 2017-08-31
I love how it works
I love how it works, but what sucks is that once the battery goes out you have to buy another one and they are pretty expensive. I am going to look for a similar product that gives you the option to replace the battery.
1 Stars By Tommy on 2017-09-17
Don't spend your money with such a consumer unfriendly company
The price of up keeping up with this product is a joke. At over $20 each/year you can be spending hundreds of dollars/year to keep track of your items.
It's cheaper just to replace an item on the rare occasion you actually loose it.
It's a joke that they don't make a replaceable battery.
I will no longer support a company that is so consumer unfriendly.
They know exactly what they are doing by not making a Tile with a user replaceable battery. It is easier for them to justify the yearly replacement fee of $25 per Tile.
The reason on the Tile website for not includeing a replaceable battery is insulting... or they think we are stupid.
2 Stars By Francis Tapon on 2017-08-18
It would be a 5-star product if its battery was replaceable
This Bluetooth device is nearly perfect, but it has one fatal flaw: it lacks a user-replaceable battery.
So what are you supposed to do when the battery dies a year after you bought it?
Buy a new one.
Tile claims that you can get a new one for "up to 40% off" the price, as a "member."
First, notice the "up to." So maybe you get it only for 25% off.
However, let's just assume that it's 40%.
That's still a whopping $21!!!
For a battery?
Yes, they will give you a completely new unit and they claim to "recycle" your used Tile, but I'm skeptical about how much "recycling" is really going on or how eco-friendly it is. The cost of melting down the metal and reusing it is expensive and consumes energy.
Wouldn't it be more environmentally sound to let people replace it on their own for less than $3?
A Tile rep justified their product by writing, "by keeping the battery sealed, we remove any sort of issues that come with poking and prying out the battery. That way, it works all year round with no hiccups. The last thing we want is for you to worry about small inconveniences like replacing or recharging coin-cell batteries. Simply, set it up and go. When the one year is approaching, we’ll proactively tell you and give you member pricing to reTile."
I have had Suunto waterproof watches, which have user-replaceable batteries. They have an O-ring and tough seal. Although it is slightly tricky to replace them, I appreciate that I can do it myself and avoid having to ship the product back to the manufacturer (even if it's free shipping).
I adore the performance and ease of use of Tile. However, the lifetime total cost of ownership is way too high.
EDIT: I initially gave the Tile a 1 star. I've raised it to 2 stars to be fairer. I'd raise it to 5 stars if they made the battery replacable.
Below I copied what's on the reTile website. It is useful for understanding the reTile process and "logic."
Are the batteries replaceable?
We designed Tile to run a full year with zero upkeep - no battery replacement, no charging. Our goal is to promote:
PEACE OF MIND: We guarantee Tile's battery for a full year so that you don't have to worry. Legacy trackers with replaceable batteries often die within a few months and are more prone to failure since they have moving parts. This decreases reliability when you need it most. We make sure you always have a reliable and working Tile.
ECO-FRIENDLY OPTIONS: When you reTile, your new Tile will come with a prepaid envelope so that you can send back the old ones for us to recycle! For international Tilers, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center. Tiles are 99% recyclable and only use 1 battery a year, which means we're keeping batteries out of landfills.
SAFETY FIRST: You can trust that your Tile is water-resistant, durable, and safe around children and pets. By enclosing the battery within the Tile, we've made it safe from electric shock and small parts or choking hazards.
How long do Tiles last?
Tiles are guaranteed to last for one year, and could even last longer. To always ensure Tile is always on and operational when you need it most, we recommend reTiling as soon as your Tile hits 12 months. We'll send you a notification around 11 months so there will be plenty of time for your new and updated Tile to arrive.
How do I replace my Tile?
Tiles are eligible to be renewed 11 months after you activated your first Tile. We’ll send you a friendly reminder to re-order and upgrade to our newest model of Tiles. You’ll receive a pre-paid envelope if you choose to return your old Tiles for recycling. For international Tilers, you can drop off your old Tile at your local e-recycling center.
You can also take your expired Tile to your local Best Buy to instantly upgrade and recycle your Tile.
Once you receive your new Tiles follow these instructions to replace your Tile in the app.
How many Tiles can I purchase through reTile?
The reTile program was designed to act as a sustainable replacement system for the current Tiles in your account. For example, if you have 4 active Tiles in your account, you can reTile up to 4 Tiles at the discounted price. You'll have the option to choose between Tile Mate, Tile Slim, Tile Style and Tile Sport. You’re only eligible to reTile 1 time/year, so we encourage you to buy as many Tiles as you think you’ll need at this great rate.
Will the price change?
As Tile continues to grow some adjustments in pricing may occur; however, we guarantee that by purchasing through reTile, our loyal customers will always get the best price available.
1 Stars By uncas on 2017-12-10
Tile has let me down every time.
For starters, I work in the field of wireless communications so I have a sense for what the acceptable limits are for any product like this. However, this item loses the connection to some tiles and not others even if the lost tile happens to be three feet away from my iPhone. The manufacturer suggest that you simply reboot your phone when this happens. What?!! Restarting the app, turning blue tooth on and off don't work. You have to reboot your phone when you are trying to find your car keys or wallet in the morning?! It seems to always have a connection to what isn't lost, but never fails to be unable to communicate to what is lost. disconnected. Even after I've found the item and am holding it in the same hand as the iPhone.
Skip this frustrating product. If you can suggest a similar item that works let me know.
4 Stars By Mike Farwell on 2017-11-29
After Connection Delay, Works Every Time
One of my four Tiles arrived DOA but Tile customer service took care of me and exchanged it with no fuss, covering shipping both ways.
After using a standard RF locator and having to replace the batteries every week or two, the 1+ year battery life was the main reason I choose Tile to replace it. I can't speak much to the battery life claims yet, but it has lasted more than twice as long as my previous one so far and is still working great. The only issue I've run into is that sometimes my phone takes a few seconds/minutes to connect, but after that short delay, they have all worked every time.
4 Stars By Kenya Wiggin on 2017-11-27
Works well. I end up mostly using it to ...
Works well. I end up mostly using it to find my phone or to find my car in the parking lot. I've had issues where I've had to re-pair them. Being that they aren't GPS trackers, I really wish they were more affordable.
1 Stars By Linda on 2017-12-05
not good !!!
not reliable outside of your house. range is very limited.
5 Stars By Jill on 2017-12-02
gift for my son to put with his Diabetes kit! -
1 Stars By Cameron on 2017-11-23
Junk only worked for 2 days