A few weeks ago, I published a review of the new Tile Pro trackers - dubbed Style and Sport. I have one attached to my car keys and the other to my house keys. I also have a Tile Slim, that I tuck into my backpack or satchel, depending on which bag I'm using while I travel. But a warning message that appeared in my Tile app yesterday has me rethinking these handy devices.
The effectiveness of the various Tiles I use is not in question - they do precisely what they are designed to do. That is, they broadcast their location over Bluetooth to my smartphone and I can use the app to make the Tile beep, so I can find my keys or bag, or I can press a button on the Tile to locate my phone.
The trouble is, my Tile Slim is nearing the end of its life. At just a year old, the battery is about to die and there is no way to either replace the battery or send the device in for recycling.
I regret that I didn't think about this in my initial review. It is unfathomable to me that in 2017 someone is making a device that has a finite life with no recycling program.
I can imagine a lot of these devices ending up in landfill. In contrast, the Chipolo tracker I was given to review a couple of years ago can be easily snapped open to receive a new battery. It's not as pretty but passes the "just works" test when it comes to finding my keys.
The new Tile Pro devices I reviewed are not super thin - adding two small screws so the body that can be opened to replace the battery would not be impossible. But I suspect part of the reason the devices can't be serviced is so you buy new ones each year.
Looking at YouTube, it may be possible to replace the battery but Tile has chosen to solder batteries in place making user replacements a very complex operation that I suspect very few people will bother with.
I hope someone at Tile thinks about this. Making devices that are made to fail and be replaced every year or so is reprehensible in my opinion.
Until Tile makes a model with a user replaceable battery, I can't recommend them.