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Tile Pro review: The bluetooth tracker that's built to last
Retail price: $34.99$34.99 at Amazon
What we like
What we don't like
Many people recognize the original Tile Mate as a great Bluetooth tracker for its simple controls and flexible support. However, the all-plastic design doesn’t quite work for all adventures. That’s where the Tile Pro comes in. It’s supposed to ring louder, and the metal frame should be able to take more of a beating, but do those claims hold true? Find out in our Tile Pro review.
Learn more: The best Bluetooth trackers
What you need to know about the Tile Pro
- Tile Pro (1-pack): $34.99 / €34.99 / £29.99
- Tile Pro (2-pack): $59.99 / €59.99 / £49.99
The Tile Pro is a Bluetooth tracker that you can attach to your most prized possessions to keep track of them. It’s slightly larger than the original Tile Mate, yet it features a nearly identical design. It maintains the corner-mounted hole for easy attachment, but it swaps the all-plastic construction for a tougher metal frame. Like the Tile Mate, the Tile Pro received a 2020 refresh to keep up with offerings from Apple and Samsung.
As far as those competitors are concerned, the Tile Pro sits in a class slightly apart from the AirTag and the Galaxy SmartTag. It’s $5 more expensive than both offerings, yet it maintains the flexible approach that makes Tile so great. You can hook your Tile Pro up with either Android or iOS with a simple download of the Tile app.
The Tile Pro comes most readily in black or white finishes, though you can shop directly from Tile for some special edition patterns. These tend to change throughout the year, but right now you can grab options like Paradise, Spaceman, and more.
The Tile Pro sits in a class slightly apart from the AirTag and the Galaxy SmartTag.
Of course, if you want the full slate of features, you’ll have to give Tile Premium a try. The service costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 for one year. It serves as your access point for everything from Smart Alerts to free battery replacement, and Tile Premium is a must-have if you want location history data. You can always check out Tile Premium Protect for even more protection, which adds up to $1,000 in item reimbursements for a cool $99.99 per year.
The Tile Pro relies on simple controls to help you find lost items. If you ring from your phone, a simple squeeze of the tracker will silence the ringtone. On the other hand, a double-press of your Tile will ring your phone to help hunt it down.
Now that you have the basics, let’s see how the Tile Pro fares in day-to-day life.
The Tile Pro is slightly larger than the Tile Mate, but it’s still perfectly pocket-friendly. That size increase allows for a larger speaker, which helps to make the Tile Pro the loudest of any tracker I’ve tried so far. Tile did well to spread the increased size outward rather than make the Pro thicker, so it still fits comfortably with my other keys.
One of the most important changes that Tile made with the Pro model is the metal frame. It’s not that the Tile Mate ever felt flimsy, but you can feel a bit more secure putting the Tile Pro through the wringer. The Pro’s blacked-out finish also seems to handle scuffs and scratches better than the bright white of the original tracker. It does demand a CR2032 battery, but it’s as easy as ever to change with the rear panel.
The black finish may not jump out at you while you search, but you can't miss the piercing ring.
As with other models, Tile really shows its value in flexibility. While Apple and Samsung are trying to lock you into their respective ecosystems, the Tile Pro is ready to play ball with Android and iOS. Simply download the Tile app, and you can use the same credentials to log in on any device.
You can’t really navigate the world of Tile trackers without the app, but the interface makes life easy. Adding new trackers is a breeze with the Add a Tile button, and you can always hop into the map tab to view your local area. The Tile app is your home base whenever you need to update your settings, change a ringtone, or tap into Tile Premium options like Smart Alerts.
What’s not so good?
The Tile Pro offers a great experience overall. It addresses the durability questions of the Tile Mate, though it doesn’t add much in the way of water resistance. You’ll still want to avoid much more than rain and casual splashes if you hope to keep your Pro for years to come.
We can roll with the fact that the Tile Pro is no more water-resistant than any other tracker, but the reliance on Tile Premium is of more concern. This is already a $35 Bluetooth tracker, so an extra $30 per year can quickly start to add up, especially if you have a few Tiles. This is especially true when you consider other trackers like the Chipolo One, which offers similar smart alerts right out of the box at no extra cost. Free battery replacements are nice, but you won’t need them very often, and there are other affordable ways to get your hands on batteries.
$30 per year on top of a $35 tracker can add up if you have a few Tiles on your account.
Another unfortunate holdover in the Tile app is that you can’t remove Tiles after they’re activated. Sure, you can replace them or transfer them to a friend, but the Tile stays active forever. Even if you hide the Tile on your account, it’s still active in the background.
The Tile Pro also boasts a remarkable 400 feet of Bluetooth range. If that sounds too good to be true, it is. You need a clear area with no interruptions between your phone and your Tile to achieve anything near that kind of range. Unless you live in a wide-open area, you’re likely looking at a fraction of that range.
Tile uses all of its trackers to form a network that’s constantly pinging your device. It works great if you live near other users in a large town or city, but you won’t know just how many users are around you until you buy a Tile and activate it. If you live further out in the country, the odds that you’ll find more than a handful of other users become increasingly slim. The AirTag and Galaxy SmartTag hold an advantage here, as I know there are far more iPhone and Samsung Galaxy users near me than there are Tile users.
Tile’s attempt to balance out the smaller user base comes in the form of an Amazon Sidewalk integration, at least in the US. It brings Amazon Echo and Ring devices into the fold to give you a few more data points for tracking. However, Amazon users can opt out of the Sidewalk feature, so you may not see any boost to your tracking.
Although Bluetooth tracking is supposed to be a one-way street between you and your tracker, the system isn’t perfect. Tile doesn’t offer any real anti-stalking features, which means that bad apples could try to track you with enough effort. On the bright side, fewer Tile users mean that would-be stalkers have fewer data points to work with. This is where the Amazon Sidewalk integration works as a bit of a double-edged sword, as the extra tracking points mean that there are more opportunities for stalkers to tap into your location.
Tile Pro review: Should I buy it?
Despite its issues, the Tile Pro is probably the best Bluetooth tracker most people can buy. It’s loud, built tough, and offers operating system flexibility that Apple and Samsung do not. The Tile Pro is an excellent alternative to the classic Tile Mate if you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure, even if it comes at a cost. It will run you $10 more than the Mate and $5 more than either the Apple AirTag ($29) or the Galaxy SmartTag ($29), but it’s worth the extra.
See also: The best Apple AirTag alternatives
However, dedicated Apple users may want to stick to the AirTag if you’re not so worried about build quality. Even though the AirTag sacrifices the convenient hole design, it’s tough to top the massive ecosystem and pinpoint accurate tracking.
The biggest question is whether or not you want to sign up for Tile Premium. It adds some important features, but other trackers offer the same options without a $29.99 annual fee. Tile’s lack of anti-stalking support raises some questions, too.
If you float back and forth between Android and iOS, you might be down to deciding between Tile and Chipolo for your next tracker. The Tile Pro makes a very loud argument for your money, and the multi-pack discounts are tough to top.