Replacing last year’s Sport and Style, Tile has revealed a new version of the Mate, as well as a Pro series tracking device.
Both the new Mate and Pro include louder volume levels, extended Bluetooth range and more importantly, replaceable batteries — a first for Tile trackers.
The new Mate and Pro feature one-year battery life, though now that the devices include replaceable batteries, getting the tracker running again doesn’t require purchasing an entirely new Tile. The Tile Mate uses a relatively common CR1632 battery, while the slightly larger Tile Pro runs off a CR2032 battery.
Although Tile is far from the first company to release a tracking device with a replaceable battery, the accessory maker put a significant amount of effort into testing a wide range of battery doors to ensure the enclosure doesn’t accidentally pop open.
“We tested so many different versions of this [the replaceable battery door]. You put your fingernail in it and out it comes, and then you also need a pen, a pin or a paperclip to pop the battery in… If you make this flimsy enough, people like to play with it, so we wanted to dissuade people from doing that,” said Tile’s Toronto-born chief marketing officer, Simon Fleming-Wood, during a recent interview with MobileSyrup.
Even if the sliding rear battery panel were to pop off, which would be difficult to happen by accident, the battery can only be popped out of the Tile Mate or Pro with a pin and is locked firmly in place otherwise. Concerning specific range improvements, the Tile Mate includes Bluetooth connectivity of up to 45 metres (150 feet), with the Tile Pro coming in at a lengthy 91 metres (300 feet).
Regarding design, the new Mate and Pro, unfortunately, don’t retain the same solid, durable feel as their predecessors. They still feel like premium devices, particularly the Mate, but lack the weight and overall build quality that made the Sport and Style so impressive.
That said, this trade-off in the quality department is worthwhile if only for the convenience of replaceable batteries. Both trackers still feature a useful hole in their top right corner that allows them to be attached to a keychain easily, though I found that the Tile Mate’s plastic ring scratches easily when sliding it onto a keychain.
It always felt like a waste that after roughly a year of use older Tile devices became expensive paperweights after their batteries depleted. That problem, which has been a common complaint regarding Tile’s products since the company launched its first tracking device, is now a thing of the past. According to Tile, it will discontinue the Sport and Style. Tile says it will still sell the Tile Slim along with the new Mate and Pro.
“The previous line is going to be phased out. You’ll still be able to find them for a couple months. But on October 2nd, we’re switching over to the new products,” said Fleming-Wood.
Both the Tile Mate and the Tile Pro feature Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri Shortcut integration, which is a welcome addition to the already impressive tracking devices.
Tile has also launched Tile Premium, a subscription service that offers free battery replacements, smart alerts, 30-day location history and various other services. Other Tile Premium features include a new ‘Smart Alerts’ system designed to help users keep track of their valuables proactively.
For example, if you leave your home without your keys and happen to have a Tile Mate attached to them, you’ll receive a notification reminding you to grab them once you’re out of range of the tracker.
The subscription service also includes unlimited sharing, allowing multiple users to share the same tile devices, location history, which displays the 30-day history of each connected Tile device, an extended warranty lasting three years and what Tile calls, ‘Premium Customer Care.’
A Tile Premium subscription costs $34.99 CAD annually or $3.39 a month. The service is also available with a one-month free trial.
The new Tile Mate is set to retail for $29.99, with the Tile Pro coming in at $39.99 CAD. Both the Tile Mate and the Tile Pro are available at Best Buy, Amazon, Staples and other major retailers. A white version of the Tile Pro is set to be exclusively available on Tile’s website. Tile’s tracking devices are compatible with both Android an iOS devices.