About a year ago, I reviewed a couple of Tile's latest trackers and, while I liked the products and the way they worked, I was disappointed at how they were really a hardware subscription product. As the batteries in those units weren't replaceable, once they were dead, they either became landfill or could be traded back, for a fee, against new units. Tile has listened to that criticism and offered up new devices with user-replaceable batteries.
Quite a few commenters agreed with my assessment at the time. And the Tile devices I had which have since suffered dead batteries are sitting in a drawer as I couldn't bear to put them into the regular rubbish. So I was pleased to see Tile has released new models.
At the time I wrote my original story, Tile responded saying "A product’s design is a reflection of priorities and values. We made this choice because we feel it gives the most benefits to users. By not having a replaceable battery, we’re also making Tiles safer and more durable. When you minimize the number of moving parts, there’s much less chance it will break, which also means kids and pets can’t get to the battery".
Apparently, those challenges have been addressed with these models.
The updated Tile Mate and Tile Pro replace the previous models. So, every Tile on the market, other than the Slim, has a replaceable coin battery that should last a year. The Tile Mate takes a CR1632 with the Pro runs off a CR2032.
The Pro comes in black and white versions while the Mate comes in any colour you like - as long as its white. The Pro also boasts a more powerful Bluetooth radio with a 90m range while the Mate maxes out at half that. That's an increase of 50% for both models. The Pro is also larger with a 42 by 42 by 6.5mm footprint while the Mate is 35 by 35 x 6.2mm. That larger size also weighs more at 15.5g as apposed to 7g for the Mate.
The trackers also work with Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant so you can use your preferred tool to find you keys or whatever else you attach the Tile to. The mobile Tile app works with iOS 10.x or newer and Android Marshmallow (6.x), Nougat (7.x), Oreo (8.x) or newer.
Pricing is US$35 for the Tile Pro and US$25 for the Tile Mate. There are also two and four packs that bring the price per unit down. When local pricing is available, we'll update this story.