What's inside Tile Bluetooth trackers
13:42

What's inside Tile Bluetooth trackers

Gadgets
[MUSIC] Hey, welcome to CNET's Cracking Open I'm Jason Hiner with my partner in crime Bill Detwiler and today we're gonna crack open the tile of bluetooth tracker that you can use keep track of your staff. Yeah. With an app. So Bill what are we gonna do? We got several tiles that we're looking at here. Why don't tell us what we gonna do with this? Which one is we're gonna crack open? Yeah, so we've got four tiles here. There are a lot of bluetooth trackers that have been out for several years now. We have the Tile Slim, we have the old Tile Mate, we have the new Tile Mate, and then we have the new Tile Pro. These have evolved over the last Five years or so, and we thought it would be interesting to see how the technology inside the devices maybe has changed a little bit. The new ones, they have a replaceable battery now. Nice. Before you had to actually, when the battery ran out you had to Send it back to Tile. They had a reTile program that you could participate in where they would send you a new one, recycle the old one. I doubt they were actually taking these apart and putting new batteries in them. As we'll probably find out today when we crack these open, they're not really made to be taken apart, so. Yeah, this has a little longer range, too, the new one, right. It does, yeah. The Pro has a little longer Bigger range. Yeah, it does, and that's something else that we thought would be really interesting to kind of find out how they're getting more range out of the same device. There's also a network effect here, right? Where if you lose this, even though it's only Bluetooth, there's no GPS in this, right, no Wi-Fi, no mobile network But you can actually potentially find something that's lost. You can yeah. Tell us how that works. So the magic here like we've seen with a lot of cloud tech, a lot of IoT tech today is really in the cloud right? So And on the app, the software that you have on your phone. These are Bluetooth, so it's not Wi-Fi, it's not GPS on the device itself. But thankfully, your phone does have cellular Wi-Fi and Bluetooth all built in. And so Through the app it can access that functionality and what happens is, if you were to lose something in your house you could go to the app on the phone it would help you, it would give you a map and tell you where it is- Help you locate it- You can make it ring, and make a sound. There's a speaker inside this things- Nice. [CROSSTALK] And you can actually have the phone ring, if the app is open to, if you lose your phone. You can click the button, little tie logo on top of the button. If I push it there you can hear it making a noise. It will actually make the app, through a notification system on our phone ring Start making a noise To start making noice Okay On most phones even if it is on silence depending on the version of andriod you have So it's really cool. And if you lose your devices, too, this is what you were talking about with the community, right? So if you lose your device, and it's out of range of your phone? You might be thinking, well, how in the world am I going to find it? Well, what Tile's done Is basically if you can put your device using the app, or using their web portal into lost mode. What that does is it allows the tracker to be detected by everyone else who has the Tile app running on their phone right? Cuz they have a lot of customers worldwide. They have a lot of customers. So as someone else, as other people who are using the app on their phones are at a restaurant, are at an airport, or at a hotel, and they detect your Tile, that location, the time and the date of that detection will be sent back up to Tile's cloud service. You can hear it turning off. Yeah And then you can, they will report that to, to you. You can log in and see see where your device is. It's clever. Yeah. Really clever. So we're going to take a look at, at the technology that makes this work. Yeah. All right, let's get started. Let's get started. Let's take a look. You know, one of the things when we take these Tiles apart, what's really interesting is we don't use many tools as I usually do on our cracking opens Where basically there's no screws inside these, we're just going to pry them apart. And one we're gonna start with is the 2016 Mate. I'm gonna try to do this without stabbing myself in the hand, but basically we can put a small tool here in between the top and the bottom And just kind of pry it loose. Now, I don't expect these to go back together, so it's okay. Trying to show this on a close-up shot so you kind of see what's getting inside. Now that we're inside, I can kinda separate the two halves, and I'm actually gonna switch to a little larger screwdriver. Which we usually don't use on Cracking Open but it gives us a little bit more leverage here. And since I'm not worried about putting these back together, then it's okay. You can kinda hear the Plastic and the glue separating. All right, so there we go. This is the 2016 Tile Mate, we can see the circuit board in here. Pop this out, and there we go. The next one we're gonna take apart is Tile slim. [BLANK_AUDIO] So again, I don't know, go in, start popping them loose. So you can see we've already managed to Get in between the top and bottom layer. [MUSIC] All right, so we peeled the top off of our Tile. We cracked the plastic a little bit. We're not worried about that. And here's the inside of the Tile. Slim. [BLANK_AUDIO] So, we'll come back to that. We're gonna keep going and now we're gonna look at the two new 2018. This is the 2018 Tile Mate with the replaceable battery. So, we'll replace the battery. We can pop the back off. And then it has one of these little buttons, cell batteries in it. We'll pop the battery out. We're gonna use a tool. We're gonna separate the top and the bottom halves. Now that I got it loose, we'll move in to our large screwdriver here that gives me a bit more leverage. Makes it a little easier to separate the two halves, [BLANK_AUDIO] Boom, and with that we can see inside the new 2018 made here. We'll set that aside so we don't get it mixed up And then lastly we are going to take apart the tile pro. This one has the longest range at 300 feet and it has a metal ring, a metal frame around the outside of it. And designed to be a little more rugged. Unfortunately the back On this one has a tendency to stick. It's a little more difficult to remove. Pop it loose and there's the battery. The battery cover. I'm gonna remove the battery here. [BLANK_AUDIO] Cracking this one open is a little different than the Mate. We're going to remove the metal ring first then separate the two halves. [MUSIC] Okay. Well. You see the metal ring and then we hardly separate our two halves. And here we have the circuit board. Now that we have them all taken apart let's look at the internal hardware and see what it tells. [UNKNOWN] you've got everything apart. Tell us what are some of the differences between the different tile product. Yeah, so we have the 2016 Tile Mate here. We have the Tile Slim. This is the new 2018 Tile Mate, with a replaceable battery. And the new Tile Pro. All right. Now some of the interesting things that we saw in the internal hardware, right off the bat, is between the Slim and the other Tile Mate products. All right. The Slim was a little more difficult to crack open. I'm gonna hold this so that we can get a Tight shot of it with the camera. Yeah, there's a lot of glue [CROSSTALK] isn't there? Yes it is. There's a ton of glue. So this is the circuit board and the insides for the 2016 mate, and this is the tile slim. And so you can see, number one, there's this glue, there is this rubber like plastic sort of coting or that surrounds This flexible circuit board. Yeah. That's in there. There's also no button cell battery. Okay. This has a thin, this litium ion cell here where you can see. That is thin. We can also see, and you see this on all four products. These little piezoelectric elements or membranes, basically. So these function as the speaker here. You can see there's a metal outer ring and then that sort of makes contact with a couple contacts on the circuit board here. And it vibrates. It's a little noise maker. Yeah, it's a noise maker. So it's multi-tonal. Similar to like the 1980s watch. Yeah, yeah. The beeps and boops that you get out of a watches, old PDA's, things like that Okay. Have these little puzzle electric elements in them. The same is true on the old made. All of them have this type of speakers on them. Other things that are kind of interesting to talk about. Right here you can see the antenna for the bluetooth connectivity. We can see a button contact there. I'm gonna switch over and I'm gonna grab the old Mate. What you see here on the board, and this is something that we see across all of the Tiles which is really important. Is this the large IC here, this large chip. That's the bluetooth sock. And so, basically, within that sock, and you have a- System on a chip. Yeah, system on a chip, you have a processor. So these are usually arm based processors and a Bluetooth, the tranceiver, the radios inside them as well. So this is handling all those processing functions You have this larger chip right here. From what I've been able to find from the markings, this is the piso-electric element driver. So this is the speaker driver chip. This is the chip that actually controls the tones that come out. And then you have the antenna Which is right here. It's built into the motherboard of the circuit board, there's no daughter board on this one. It's a force of habit calling a circuit board a motherboard. Yeah. And then you have Button contact which is right there on the back. That was the 2016 make and the slim, so let's look at some of the differences between that and maybe the pro- The new stuff. And the new, so again I'm gonna put all the circuit boards sort of back to back, and they are very similar, this is The 2018 Mate. Same sort of configuration, basically. You have an antenna here, just like we have on the Pro. Again, an antenna there. The large Bluetooth socks. I believe, from what I can determine, these are both Toshiba chips. And They contain, like I said, an arm, a processor in them. And then you have the other large chips, the one here, the one here. These are those piezoelectric drivers. Powering the sound. Powering the sound too. One of the things that we were looking at that we wanted to see was, like I said, how this technology has changed. And one of the things we can see is the batteries Have definitely changed. And so I'm gonna put this next to their main, the boards here. The board they go with. The board they go with. Right? So these are little button cell lithium ion batteries, right? Yeah. And so, what's unique about that and one of the things that could contribute to the longer range of the newer models. Could be the batteries. Puyshing more power? They're all three volt batteries, but because some of them are larger they have a higher capacity, so on the top end you have a capacity, I believe, that's around 160 milliamp hours. On the Low end you have a capacity that's around 120 or so milliamp hours right? And so you're getting a little higher capacity out of the newer products. That could contribute to the range. Okay. If you're going to buy one of these whether you're gonna use it to just find your car keys, or whether you're gonna use it to find your wallet or to find whatever it is, definitely I recommend getting the newer models. Making sure that whatever you buy, you get the new one with replaceable batteries in the description. With the replaceable battery. Otherwise, cuz they look very similar, so you might actually buy one of the old ones By mistake if you're just not careful. All right, that's it for this episode of cracking open if there are other devices you would like to see cracked open leave us a note in the comments. Hey you can find all of our cracking open videos in CNET, you can find all of the photos on Tech Republic, and we'll be coming to you next time with a another Cracking Open until then thanks for watching and we'll see you soon

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