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Mobile Accessories

Tile Pro, Tile Mate smart trackers get replaceable batteries, improved range

The company adds a subscription service and fixes one of the biggest issues with its original where-did-I-leave-it tracking tags.

tile-pro

Tile Pro

Tile

With the upgrade to the Tile Mate and Tile Pro, the company is addressing a big complaint about its older smart trackers.

Tile has improved its smart tracking tags by making the batteries replaceable, increasing the Bluetooth range, bumping up the volume and adding a new Tile Premium subscription that provides extra services. Earlier versions of the trackers didn't have replaceable batteries. Once the built-in battery -- good for about a year, according to Tile -- gave out, you'd have to replace the unit

Tile's popular smart trackers compete in a crowded field -- the latest includes Samsung's SmartThings tracker -- but because they're limited to Bluetooth, with its lesser range, they're cheaper than those that offer LTE and GPS at $25 for the Mate and $35 for the Pro. Tile Premium costs $30 a year or $3 a month. At the moment, it only supports iOS apps. Android is "coming soon."

Most of the additional capabilities come via the subscription plan, including free battery replacements, the ability to manage a single Tile from multiple accounts, a 30-day location history for retracing your steps, and extended three-year warranty and text access to customer service. 

But the new devices also bump up the system's Bluetooth ranges to 150 feet (45.7 meters) for the Tile Mate and 300 ft (91.4 meters) for the Tile Pro. (The limit for Bluetooth 4.x LE is 328 ft.) They can still make your phone chirp remotely, even if the sound's off, and you can still crowdsource the location of a missing item out of range with other users.

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