Man, I really enjoy reviewing new tech!
A week and a half ago, I got one of these in the mail. Shipped in a normal envelope, the initial packaging reminded me of a what a Square card reader comes in. Breaking the tape, it looked like this:
There was also a sticker that I thought was an NFC tag till I flipped it over (and realized it was an adhesive sticker).
So what is Tile exactly? It’s a Bluetooth (4.0, to be exact) based locator technology. By pairing a Tile with an iOS or Android phone (the Android app was just released), you can use the Tile app to locate your Tile within 100 feet. The thought is that the Tile would be attached to whatever you want to keep track of. That is what was the fun part was for me- how would I apply this technology to photography*?
One of the easiest use cases would be for lens caps (as those suckers always have a tendency to wander off). However, I felt it might be better suited for more high value items that you: either carry more than one and/or swap out frequently. One thought was to attach these to all of my camera bodies (as an extra layer of security when I’m out and about).
Or even directly attaching them to the camera body themselves:
There are plenty of other places I would end up attaching a Tile. Since I was only sent one for review, I’ve tried out different places to see what really makes sense when I order more. Another idea was to attach one to my portable hard drive where my photo library resides.
Beyond that, this would be great for certain accessories that I use all the time. From my speedlight, to a multiport USB charger (which I take everywhere), to even clipping onto a Grid-It to make sure I don’t leave that behind, there are plenty of places that I could put a Tile to help me find my things.
One of the things I really like about Tile is it’s very simple interface. At the time of the writing, I set up the Tile app on my iPad Mini to test out since you can only pair a Tile with one device at a time. Hopefully, support for multiple devices comes soon ( the way Bluetooth 4.0 works, it won’t be the easiest thing to do) but having this on a device I have with me all the time makes sense. You literally place the Tile (in pairing mode- press the “e” till you hear a sound) on the device to pair it. After that, you can see where the Tile is on the map and if it’s in range to be located (another limitation of Bluetooth), it will play music till you find it! One thing to note, they have a sealed battery- so you are looking at a year or so of battery life for one of them (as of now).
Once I am able to review the Android app, if there are major differences, I’ll update this review. Overall, I’m really happy with Tile and I think it can offer a great layer of additional security. For us forgetful types, it can also make our lives easier if we leave our photo stuff and forget where it is**. I definitely recommend it. Check out thetileapp.com to order one (or a few).
*Tile graciously provided me a unit for review. Thanks guys- you rock!
**Really trying to be better with this.