Tech review: Tile Sticker
€40 for a twin-pack, €65 for a four-pack
An ingenious solution to the problem of stolen bikes
For those who regularly lose things like phones and keys, Tile has updated its Bluetooth beep-emitting gadgets and added some new form factors.
The familiar small square shapes of both the Tile Pro and Tile Mate are retained, but the Tile Pro (€35) gets a significantly longer Bluetooth range, at up to 120 metres (400ft). Meanwhile, the Tile Mate (€25) has a still-respectable Bluetooth range of 60 metres (200ft).
Both the Pro and the Mate have replaceable batteries and are louder than the Tiles they replace.
However, those replaceable batteries (which last around a year) mean that the gadgets aren't fully waterproof. Instead, they're rainproof - capable of withstanding some spray but not much more.
The updated Tile Slim (€30) is remodelled into a rectangular shape (from the existing square shape). It's about twice the thickness of a credit card and the same outline size. It's designed to fit into your wallet and has a three-year battery life.
It's louder than the previous version and has a Bluetooth range of 60 metres.
Tile insists that it doesn't interfere with the functionality or make-up of other cards in your wallet.
The most notable new model is the Tile Sticker (€40 for a twin-pack or €65 for a four-pack). This is the smallest version of the company's beeping Bluetooth trackers.
It has the diameter of a 50-cent coin, although it's about three times as thick (though no heavier). An adhesive strip on the back lets you stick it on to things, and it has a battery life of three years.
This is aimed at a much wider variety of devices that you might mislay, or even ones that are at risk of being stolen.
Tile executives reckon that they'll be used most for things like TV remote controls, and I think they're on to something here.
Of all the gadgets to go astray in a family home, the TV remote must surely be top of the list. I once found ours in the fridge.
But other anticipated uses include things like sunglasses cases.
And because the Sticker can withstand extreme temperatures, it's safe to put it on outdoor things, like skis, suitcases or bicycles.
The latter option is possibly a killer application. This is tailor-made to stick on the underside of a bicycle seat. This effectively makes it something akin to an anti-theft device for the following reason.
One of the most intriguing features about Tiles is their lost-device detection.
If you lose something with a Tile attached and mark it as 'lost' within your app, other Tiles can detect it if they pass by it. Assuming that they're logged in, you then get a notification that your particular device has been detected, together with the estimated location.
The system is anonymised, in that the detecting Tile device owner won't know this has happened and you won't know who or what has found your missing Tile - you just know that it's been detected in a certain spot.
This is not only useful for things like keys, but also luggage or stolen bikes. Stick one under the bicycle seat and if your bike is snatched, there's a reasonable chance it will be detected by another passing Tile - possibly even the unsuspecting thief's own device.
It's a similar prospect if your luggage goes missing.
I'm sure there are data privacy implications somewhere in here, but if you're the one with the stolen bike, the missing luggage or lost keys, it's a novel solution.
The firm claims that this system results in a whopping 90pc of 'lost' Tiles being recovered. It says it measures this through data indicating a changed status from lost to not lost within the app.