Review: Tile (Gen 2) - Does What You Expect, and More

Losing your car keys used to be annoying. 

That said, it wasn't financially crippling. If you dropped your key into a sewer grate, you could get new keys made for a few dollars. 

But, time marches on. Today's "smart keys" cost hundreds of dollars to replace. 

Which is why you should invest in a Tile. 
We went on vacation to Florida over the holidays last year. And at some point, I managed to misplace one of the keys to our Prius. 

The dealer would replace the key... for $400. That's almost twice our car payment!

I looked into DIY solutions -- and it's complicated. You need to acquire the correct key fob, and it CANNOT have been previously used. (In my case, they run for about $99 on eBay.)

Then, a locksmith can use a certain computer to match the key fob to your particular vehicle. (Expect another $99 at least.) It's possible to DIY this second step, but it seems to be very difficult. 

So, replacing that second key was probably a non-starter.

Which makes the remaining key almost priceless. If we'd lost both keys, replacement would require us to change out the car's onboard computer - we'd be spending well over $1,000.

We simply can't afford to lose the last car key. 

Which is why we've acquired a Tile. 

What is a Tile?

Tile is, essentially, a Bluetooth keychain. 

They're $25 at retail, although I was able to get one on Amazon for about $20.

It's about an inch and a half square, and probably a quarter-inch thick.  

It works with the Tile App on the iPhone. 

Finding Lost Items

If you lose your keys, you can "call" them with the app - and the Tile will start playing a ringtone. 

(That works the other way around, too - if you have your keys and have lost your phone, pressing the "E" in the word "Tile" will cause your phone to ring.)

The Tile uses Bluetooth, not GPS. So it can only work if you're within 100 feet of your iPhone. 

In most cases, your keys are within range, even if you can't find them.  

But if you REALLY lose your keys, the Tile app will show you (on a map) where you last saw them - or more accurately, where they were the LAST time you were within 100 feet.

For my lost Prius keys, I imagine that the map would show "Security line, O'Hare Airport Terminal 3". I'll bet that I left them in the bin. Still, that would have been useful information!

Leveraging the Tile Community

And there's one more feature if you can't find your missing item - you can make your Tile visible to ALL of the phones with Tile Apps in the world. 

No one else knows that you're looking for your keys, or gets info about their location - but if someone with a Tile app walks within 100 feet of your super-duper-lost keys, you'll get the location information.

A Little Bit of Reassurance

I'm still a bit bummed out about losing those Prius keys. 

But the Tile should help us avoid the abject disaster that losing the last keyfob would mean. 

The battery lasts about a year - at which point you can buy a replacement for (allegedly) less than retail. I'll go through that process and report back. 


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