Tile’s new lost item trackers have double the range, better looks

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On the heels of a $25 million funding round, connected device maker Tile is today rolling out a more premium line of lost item trackers, with the launch of its Tile Pro series. The line today includes two new devices, a dark slate-and-graphite Tile Sport and a white-and-gold Tile Style. Beyond their more fashionable look, these Pro trackers include upgraded internals, allowing the devices to be located from further away. They also offer a louder ring, better water resistance, and improved durability.

Tile is one of the most popular lost item trackers on the market. The company, to date, has now sold over 10 million of its Bluetooth-connected dongles that work with an app on your phone to help you find misplaced items, like your keys, purse, wallet, tablets, laptops, luggage and more.

And because of the way its app works, Tile can leverage its community of millions of app users to help you find your device, even when you’re out of range. That is, if another Tile user is near your missing device, an alert with the location attached is sent to your phone.

If anything, it’s this community aspect that makes Tile difficult to top, despite the availability of several other similar devices on the market. That includes the up-and-coming TrackR which just raised $50 million, but has shipped some 5 million devices to Tile’s 10 million. Tile is also partnering with other companies to integrate Tile’s hardware and software into their own products, to further expand its footprint beyond the market for the trackers – which may not be something everyone feels they need.

Previously, the company offered its standard tracker, the Tile Mate, and a thinner version ideal for wallets, the Time Slim.

With the Tile Sport and Style, the company has doubled the range of the devices from 100 feet to 200 feet – meaning you can locate your device more easily even when you’re not as close. The audio volume – the ring the Tile emits when you’re trying to find your item – is also now (optionally) twice as loud in the new devices.

Plus, the Sport and Style have improved water resistance. Earlier devices were IP67, which meant they could be sprayed with water; the Pro series has bumped up the water resistance IP68, which means they’re waterproof down to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. This could be useful for times when your keys fall into the water – something parents of toddlers might worry about, having fished their keys out of the toilet in the past.

The Tile Sport is just slightly larger than the Style, at 40mm x 40mm x 5.9 mm, compared to the Style 37.5mm x 37.5mm x 5.9mm, and it’s a little bit more durable, due to its bigger ring.

Along with the Pro Series devices, Tile is also rolling out an update to its mobile app that will support the new features, like the improved proximity and louder ring. You can now set the volume you prefer for your ring within the app, and choose from a larger collection of a half dozen ringtones. Plus, the proximity meter in the app has a revamped look, which makes it easier to find your items in the expanded 200-foot range.

In addition, Tile today is launching support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so users with smart devices like the Echo speaker or Google Home can find their items using voice commands.

For example, you can say “Alexa, ask Tile to ring my keys,” or a similar command for Google Home prefaced by the “OK Google” phrase.

Having used a Tile on my keys for a couple of years, I’ve found that its battery life delivers. Though batteries are not user-replaceable – something I first thought would be an issue – they seem to last for a year. And through reTile, the replacement process is pretty painless – you can start your reTile in the app, then just throw the old Tile in the prepaid envelope sent to you, and wait for your upgrade.

But the one complaint I have about the new devices is that they don’t come with accessories you’d need to attach them to things like backpacks, cameras, or purses. Not even a basic string or cheap clip. You’ll have to find and separately purchase a clip or strap of some kind. This feels like an oversight, given that the Pro Series Tiles are clearly designed more as fashion accessories.

Tile does sell a number of other accessories on its site, including zip straps, carry cases, luggage tags, money clips, and adhesives, but not a clip for purses. When asked, the company said that it’s not selling those yet, but should soon.

 

Tile is selling the Pro Series devices today from its website, and through major retailers including Amazon, AT&T, Best Buy and Target.

They can be purchased for $35 a piece or $60 for a two-pack containing either one of each, or two of the same. Existing customers can switch to the new devices for $25 through the company’s ReTile program, which includes recycling.