Tile's Slim and Sticker trackers are affordable and provide peace of mind

Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored
Tue November 26, 2019

I misplace my keys or wallet on a daily basis. Sometimes multiple times a day. No matter how many times I promise myself when I set down my wallet that I'll remember where I put it, an hour later, I end up wandering aimlessly around the house asking if anyone has seen my it.

Heck, one time I lost my shoes in my own house for four days. Don't ask me how, but it happened and I still hear about it.

Over the years, I've used Tile's small Bluetooth accessories to try and keep tabs on my misplaced belongings. But the one Tile accessory I've wanted for years didn't exist. Until now.

The company recently announced the $30 Tile Slim, a small credit card shaped tracker that slides into your wallet and will play a sound on demand. Tile also announced the $40 Sticker — a round accessory sold in a two-pack that you can stick to nearly anything and track in the Tile app on your phone.

I've been using Slim and Sticker, along with the upgraded $25 Mate and $35 Pro, for the past couple of weeks. And let me tell you, I have yet to lose my wallet during that time. Well, technically I have lost it a few times. But I also found it quicker than ever.

Slim and Sticker design

Tile Slim is roughly the same thickness of two credit cards and has an internal battery that will last up to three years. You can't replace the battery yourself, so once it dies, you'll need to purchase a new Slim. But if Tile's estimated battery life lives up to its claim, Tile should have an improved version of Slim at that time.

The all-black design has the Tile logo that doubles as a button on the front, along with three holes that serve as a spot for the speaker to emit a sound to help in finding it. The button is used to silence the alert or find your phone with a double press.

The Slim feels sturdy, with a little bit of flex that alleviated any fears I had that it would break in my wallet whenever I sat on it.

The Sticker is a small circular device with adhesive on one side, and the Tile logo, a small button and a trio of holes for the speaker on the front. The adhesive is strong enough that after putting a Sticker on my Apple TV remote, I can't pry it off with my fingers. Both the Slim and Sticker are waterproof.

I expected Sticker to be thinner, with its thickness being roughly the same as an iPhone (7.3 millimeters). Like Slim, the Sticker's battery can't be replaced, but it's supposed to last three years.

Setup

The initial setup of the Tile Slim and Sticker took just a few minutes. After opening the box and removing each accessory, I opened the Tile app and tapped the + icon. I selected the type of device I was going to add to my account and then pressed the button on the respective Tile. It played a short jingle, and a few seconds later, my phone had found the device and added it to my Tile account.

I was then asked to pick a name for the Tile, which should correspond with what you're attaching it to. For me, that was my wallet for the Slim and remote for the Sticker.

The same process is used to set up Mate and Pro. It's a streamlined, intuitive process that Tile has nailed.

Siri, find my stuff!

My favorite part of the Tile app on the iPhone is that it works with Siri. Meaning, I can say, "Hey, Siri, find my wallet" and it will trigger Slim to start playing a jingle so I can track it down.

You have to set up each Tile device and provide Siri with a specific command, but the Tile app walks you through it.

If you don't like Siri or use an Android phone, you can use the Tile app to view the last known location of your Tile, how far away it is from you at that moment and even trigger the device to play a sound. The range between your phone and Tile at which the device can be found varies from 150 feet with the Sticker, 200 feet for the Slim and Mate to 400 feet with the Pro.

I didn't measure those ranges, but I had no trouble finding any of the devices from the opposite end of my home, or even when I was in my office that's roughly 70 feet from my home.

I have experienced delay between when I tap the Find button in the Tile app and when the device started playing sound. Normally, it's just a few seconds, however, on more than one occasion, the Slim took over a minute before it began playing a sound. To rule out interference, I tested it several times with the Tile just a few feet away from me on the counter and it still happened.

Even with the delay, the app has consistently worked and found the devices when asked.

Stop asking me if I want to join Tile Premium

Tile offers a premium service that costs $30 if you pay for a year up front. The subscription service includes smart alerts for when you walk away from one of your Tiles, free battery replacement for the Mate (2018) and new Pro, along with location history of your Tile devices, unlimited sharing, an extended warranty and premium customer service. All of these are useful features, but not required to use the Tile app.

My loudest complaint about the Tile app is the number of times I've been asked and prompted to sign up for Tile Premium. It happens randomly after finding a Tile or as I try out different features on the app.

There should be a way to hide the premium features from the list of options and indicate that a user is not interested in Premium, or at the very least, wants to quit being asked about it.

New Tiles, same reliable experience

It's funny. I put the Sticker on our Apple TV remote because we would lose that thing at least once a day. But since putting the Tile on it, we haven't lost it once. It's as if adding a Tile to it made us more aware of where it is at all times and less likely to fall into the couch cushions.

I make jokes about how easily I misplaced my wallet and the ease of being able to find it with a Tile Slim inside it — but losing something like a wallet or your keys can have a huge impact on your daily life. And when you ask to be notified when one of your lost Tiles is found, the app will crowdsource finding it. Whenever another Tile user gets within range of your lost Tile, the app will anonymously send you an email giving you its current location.

That peace of mind and reassurance is worth the $25 or $40 for a Tile device, even if you have to replace it in a couple of years.

You can order any of the new Tiles right now.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.