3-In-1 vs Tile Key Finder Review
Few things in life are as frustrating as losing important items. It's especially troublesome if you don't have a spare set. It's even worse if you keep your house or car keys and an assortment of store cards on the same keychain. Society has spent decades finding new ways to track their lost items. In the past 5 years, we've seen an increase in the number of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS enabled wireless key finders on the market. Here's a closer look at two of the best.
Table of Contents (Click To Skip Ahead):
- The Tile Mate
- Bluetooth Location
- Long Range Location
- The Raven Gadgets 3-in-1 Key Finder
- In Conclusion
The Tile Mate
The Tile Mate, or simply the Tile, is a locator that first hit markets a few years ago. The founding company was launched in 2012 and they soon began a crowdfunding campaign for their locating device. This was the sort of device that a lot of people wanted and their crowdfunding had amazing results. The company raised more than $2.6 million dollars by 2013 and had accumulated more than 50,000 backers. Over the next year, they would raise more than $16 million in additional funding.
It had several interesting features that made it a piece of cutting-edge tech deals at the time. Furthermore, it was considered relatively cheap. A single tile style locator cost less than $30 from the supplier. For that price, a person could easily track their items if lost inside their home. And if lost outside their home, it was possible to locate them, but not slightly less efficient.
While the overall concept and the device itself was great for its time, it's not quite what you would expect from a modern-day item locator. Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and the methodology used for the Tile has become somewhat outdated in comparison to competitor technology. In this tile finder review, let's consider the two primary means of location finding that the Tile gadget uses.
1. Bluetooth Location
The Tile Slim & Mate, as well as the wallet Tile, uses Bluetooth technology to find your keys within a 100-foot range. The device itself is a small, square-shaped device with a hole at the top left corner so you can attach it to whatever you want. You can attach it to your key ring so that if you lose your keys, then you can simply use the smartphone app to trigger the tile mate and slim. It then begins to play a loud alarm that registers around 88 decibels.
If you've ever lost your phone and attempted to find it by calling it with a friend's phone, then you know how difficult it can be. Even at a range of 100 feet, if your keys are buried in a cushion, under a pillow, or on the other side of a wall, it can be difficult to locate them. Nonetheless, this sort-of close range location is typical of trackers, even high-end models. The sound is certainly enough to help you locate your phone, but it may still require some digging.
2. Long Range Location
Unfortunately, this is the area where the Tile Sport and Style takes a step back from the competition. If you are outside of the Bluetooth connection range, then it cannot trigger the audio cue. Instead, you will have to label your Tile Mate as lost. If the Tile ever enters the range of your Bluetooth, then it will notify you and the alarm will begin to play.
It also relies on a crowd-funding feature. Users with the Tile Mate app are supposed to notify the system should they ever locate a device with a Tile Mate attached. The app will then notify the original tiles owner. It's an interesting idea, but one that relies on the good nature of the tile user as well as other people having the Tile app or else it won't work.
The further you stray away from large cities, the less likely it is that you'll find enough people with the Tile app to save your lost item. Chances are if you lose your item outside of the tiles Bluetooth range, then the Tile locator chip is not going to be able to help you find them at all. Your best bet will be to retrace your steps and hope that you enter a range of your keys.
To make matters worse, the Tile app only recently made its way to Android devices, prior to this they only supported ios devices. It is notoriously buggy, which can be a problem for Tile owners as well as for someone who might locate your lost item.
The various tile models available are an acceptable entry-level key locator. If you're only worried about losing your keys in your apartment, then it should be sufficient enough. But what if you want to upgrade to something more capable? What is your best option?
The Raven Gadgets 3-in-1 Key Finder
The 3-in-1 Bluetooth key finder from Raven Gadgets which can be found here: https://ravengadgets.com/products/3-in-1-bluetooth-gps-key-finder-key-tracker-phone-finder takes everything that made the Tile great and then fixes all of the flaws that the device exhibited. It is slightly more expensive but comes with a number of helpful features that are well worth the extra cost. Most notably is the ability to track your phone over great distances.
The first difference between the two is the battery life. The Tile comes with a battery that is estimated to last for a single year. The 3-in-1 can last anywhere from 6 months to a year. While it might seem like the expensive tile has the advantage, there is one huge problem. When it comes to replacing the battery, it's is impossible. You can't replace the Tile battery. Instead, you have to purchase an entirely new Tile finder every time the battery dies. You're essentially paying $30 a year to locate your keys.
The battery for the 3-in-1 tracker can be easily replaced at home. Replacement batteries for an entire three year period cost less than $6. Thus, the annual cost of owning it is roughly $2 while the annual cost of owning a tile pro series or any other model is $30 plus shipping and handling. This is one of the reasons why it has a clear advantage in this regard.
The next major difference is the inclusion of GPS tracking technology. The 3-in-1 includes a robust updated Bluetooth chip unlike the other devices available on the market. That is why it's nearly impossible to recover your keys with a Tile if they are a great distance away. The Raven app (which can also run in the background) shows you exactly where your Bluetooth tracker is and tells you just how close you are. There's no relying on other people to find it and report it to the app.
In a close proximity, it doesn't act much different than the Tile. It triggers an alarm on the tracker weve tested via Bluetooth. Both alarms sound relatively similar and will be equally difficult to spot in a crowded room. However, the 3-in-1 does include bright LEDs that flash with the alarm. This means you can turn off the lights and it will make it easier to spot your lost keys.
It also has a few other unique features that are worth mentioning. First, it can be used as a phone finder in reverse. For example, if you've lost your phone but have access to the 3-in-1 tracker. You simply press the button on it and it will trigger an alarm on your phone. It's extremely handy if you don't have a friend nearby to call your phone or if your phone is set to silent. Second, the 3-in-1 can be used as a remote control for your phone's camera.