Reasons to Stick with Tile

By Gabrielle Whelan

Tile is the beloved and original creator of clever tracking devices that prevent you from losing your expensive, essential, or sentimental belongings. When any groundbreaking product idea goes to market, however, it isn’t long before copycat versions emerge. Well, Tile recently launched a refreshed line of Whipsaw-designed products containing even more useful features while expanding on the best aspects of the classic line people have grown to love. As Tile’s design team, we’d like to share the upgrades of the new line and give our (albeit slightly biased) opinion on why we think you should stick with Tile.

Whipsaw’s Design Team for Tile:
Cole Derby, Director of Industrial Design
Daniel Cheung, Industrial Designer
Carlos Terminel, Industrial Designer

1. Better Finding Power

If you’re in the market for a device that will quickly locate your beloved possessions, it really boils down to which product is actually better at doing its job. In this case, that’s Tile. The Tile Mate, Sticker, and Slim now feature a 250 foot finding range—3x the Bluetooth range of Apple Airtags—and the Tile Pro boasts a whopping 400 foot finding range. Tile also offers voice-enabled tracking through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and allows you to create a Siri shortcut.

The biggest X factor is that Tile devices simply perform better since the range is better.

Carlos Terminel

2. Finds Your Submerged Possessions

The upgraded Tile Mate, Pro, Sticker, and Slim can all be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This might not seem like a big deal, but when your keys fall into a pool drain, you’ll appreciate it.

3. Two-Way Finder Feature

Tile’s two-way finder rings your phone at the press of a button. The new line also features a significantly louder ringtone which greatly increase your odds of finding your missing items around the house.

4. Works with Android and iOS Phone Models

Airtag’s biggest incentive is that it connects with other iPhones to find your missing possessions, but Airtags only work with iPhones 11 and up. Tile, alternatively, is not part of the “Apple-only” ecosystem and it works with both Android and iOS phone models.

Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Airtags are only compatible with other Apple devices. Tile is for everybody. Each Tile device employs a ‘form follows function’ design.

Cole Derby

5. Lost & Found Feature

Tile’s “notify when found” function has been extended in this new line. In addition to the Tile Network searching for your lost item, now anyone with a smartphone can also help you locate your device. The upgraded Mate, Pro, and Slim all have a QR code on the back, so if you come across an item with a Tile attached to it, simply scan the Tile with your smartphone. The owner’s contact information will then pop up (if they chose to enter it), and you can help to reunite them with their lost belongings.

6. 3x the Battery Life

One of the main variables to consider when purchasing a tracking device is battery life, and Tile’s got Airtags beat, three times over. The Tile Mate, Slim, and Sticker models all have up to three years of battery life. Your Airtag, alternatively, will need a battery replacement after just one year.

7. Protects Against Unwanted Tracking

Do you want to track your possessions without the fear of being tracked yourself? Well, Tile will soon also offer a “Scan and Secure” safety feature that will help to prevent unwanted tracking. In early 2022, this feature will be available to Android and iOS users. Just open your Tile App to scan for and detect nearby Tile devices. You’ll then be able to see if an unknown device is nearby. Tile will also offer resources to victims and tips on how to stay safe.

8. More Bang for Your Buck

We designed Tile in several forms, including variations with keychain options. This means you aren’t reliant on buying extra accessories to keep track of your belonging. Airtags, however, are all about upselling. You will need to purchase multiple accessories to use them in the same ways you can use Tile. Compared to Airtags, Tile is simply the affordable and ready to roll option.

Airtags are also more precious, so to speak. You can spend $100 on a four pack of Airtags, and another hundred just for the case. Psychologically, when you buy something expensive, you also might not feel as comfortable actually using it.

Carlos Terminel

9. Premo Premium Plan

Tile now has a richer feature set to help you keep track of your cherished items, including Reverse Ring and a Premium offering. The Premium plan also alerts you if you’ve left an item behind, includes a free battery replacement, lets you share an item’s location with your friends, and displays a 30-day location history.

10. The Customizable Design Factor

Our design challenge was to create a novel design for each Tile device that was tailored towards its intended use case. We also needed to ensure that each device appeared to belong to the same family of products.

This entire line represented an evolution in which we took the DNA of previous products and simply evolved them. We strove to preserve the best elements of that line, while at the same time converging them into a single aesthetic.

Carlos Terminel

To get started, it was essential for us to get a full picture of the user experience. “We worked with Tile’s research team to figure out the exact needs and use cases of existing and new users. This helped us understand what was most important to them. We discovered that the most common use cases were as follows: Keys, then purses, then technology (laptops, cameras, and remotes), then cars, then bikes. We also found that a lot of people were putting them on their kids’ backpacks…and even their pets!” —Daniel Cheung

Tile’s upgraded line also offers a bunch of cool color choices, including limited-edition options with patterns. AirTags, however, consist of a single model with minimal options for Apple-branded customization.

Tile’s specialty trackers come in several different styles and shapes, including: 
  • Tile Mate
    The redesigned Mate, available in white and black, features a sleeker and more modern look while maintaining its approachable aesthetic. “Mate is Tile’s flagship product. It’s what comes to mind when people think of a Tile tracker. Once we found a new design language for Mate, it really dictated the aesthetic direction for the rest of the line.” —Daniel Cheung
  • Tile Pro
    The ruggedly-designed Pro is intended to withstand daily wear and tear. It now features improved water resistance and an impressive 400 foot finding range. Its lighter and more slender form now resembles a key fob in keeping with its most common use case: keys. Just attach Pro to your keychain and you’ll never lose your keys again. It hangs nicely on bags and purses as well.

When it came to redesigning the new Tile Pro, we sought to find a balance between the language of the new Mate, and the previous version of Pro. We kept the functional metal chassis from the previous iteration, but it now intersects an elongated pillow form. The result is that it’s now softer in your pocket, and more comfortable in your hand.

Daniel Cheung

  • Tile Slim
    The Slim’s 2.5 mm wafer-thin design is similar to a credit card and easily slots into wallets, purses, passport holders, and luggage tags. The new Slim offers a 250 foot range, a louder ring, and improved water resistance.

Our design challenge was taking different devices that do slightly different things and making them feel cohesive. The Pro is designed for durability. The Sticker was designed to disappear. The Mate is friendly. Tile is just more purpose-oriented for all its different use cases. Each device doesn’t cannibalize the other because the use cases are all so specific.

Cole Derby

  • Tile Sticker
    Airtags don’t offer an adhesive option, whereas you can conveniently stick the Tile Sticker to pretty much anything. The Sticker is the smallest tracker in Tile’s line. Its tiny disc-like form bonds to most metal and plastic surfaces, including laptops, phones, you name it. The new Sticker also has an increased 250 foot range, a louder ring, and improved water resistance, so you can slap it on your bike or skateboard before you hit the road.

When you purchase an Airtag, you’re just buying into the Apple ecosystem and demonstrating that you care about that more than you care about specs and performance. Performance and cost-wise…Tile is King.

Carlos Terminel

Tile was recently ranked #5 on Fast Company’s list of “Most Innovative Consumer Electronics Companies.” Tile is set to launch the Tile Ultra, the first UWB tracker that will be available for both Android and iOS, in early 2022.