Tile Mate review: How much will you pay to deal with carelessness?

  • It’s a poker chip-sized square pellet that can be attached to your keys, bags or other things you tend to misplace
  • The Tile Mate was evidently designed for countries that aren’t as loud as India and that might be a slight problem

New Delhi: Products that come up through crowdfunding campaigns often go into oblivion, but every so often, a few make it big. Tile is one such name.

While the brand will perhaps only be familiar to gadget lovers, Tile is a well known name globally in the world of Bluetooth trackers. Having kept away from India for quite a while, the company recently launched its first official product here, called the Tile Mate.

It’s a poker chip-sized square pellet that can be attached to your keys, bags or other things you tend to misplace. It connects to your phone through Tile’s app and then lets you ring the device when you can’t find the thing it’s attached to. You can also use it the other way around, pressing the Tile logo on the Mate twice to ring your phone when you can’t find it.

You can also check the location of the Tile Mate (and hence the utility it is attached to) through the app. It saves the GPS location periodically, showing you the last saved location when you need it. Tile’s app also works with select headphones, like Bose’s Soundsport headphones, Sennheiser’s Momentum wireless and more, making it easier to find them when you need to.

There’s a slight problem here though. The Tile Mate was evidently designed for countries that aren’t as loud as India. I’ve used it for about three weeks now, and eight out of 10 times, I’ve not been able to hear the Tile Mate’s alarm when I’m outdoors. That’s because even at its loudest, traffic and other noises in Delhi drown out the Tile’s noise. In fact, even indoors, I’ve been unable to hear the Mate’s alarm when the television is on etc. It’s fine if you’re finding your phone using the Tile Mate, but the other way around is somewhat underwhelming at times.

Essentially, as long as you don’t lose your keys outdoor or leave them buried under a pile of clothes or pillows, you should be able to hear the alarm.

On the other hand, a good thing is that there’s a replaceable battery inside the Tile Mate, a notable change from older versions. While the company guarantees that the battery on this will last at least a full year, you can simply buy a button cell from the market when you need to replace it. If you subscribe to the Pro version, the company extends the warranty on Tile products with replaceable batteries to three years.

The Pro version also offers you Smart Alerts, where Tile will notify you if you leave it behind. It also lets you share your Tile with as many people as you want, check location history for a Tile product and the company’s “premium" customer care, which is a text helpline.

However, Tile’s pricing both in terms of the tracker and its Pro subscription is suspect. At 2,499 for a single Tile Mate (and 7,999 for a pack of 4) you’re already paying about double of what a Panasonic Seekit costs. While the Seekit doesn’t have many of the features (or the community support) a Tile Mate does, Panasonic is more of a household name in India than Tile.

In addition, the Pro features will cost you an additional 191.58 per month for a yearly subscription and 219 per month for a monthly subscription, which many might consider too much money for a product that deals with forgetfulness or carelessness.

In sum, the Tile Mate comes off as a premium product in a segment that is already niche for markets like India. That’s not a bad thing, but it may make it more difficult for the company to ramp up volumes in India.