bluetooth trackers

Bluetooth Trackers: Is Tile The Only Player?

Bluetooth trackers are pocket-sized devices you can attach to items you don’t want to lose, such as your wallet, keys, phone, tablet, purse, luggage, or backpack.

After seeing Tile ads for years, I finally caved and bought Tile Slim last year.

Here’s what I wrote in my review: “Tile definitely isn’t for me. Tile couldn’t pick a worse customer if they tried. I don’t carry much in my wallet, and this may not be the norm. But we’re moving toward a wallet-less and keyless society. It’s likely we’ll have fully digital wallets available in the not-too-distant future. If you like the idea of Tile for finding a tech device (i.e., phone or laptop), there are easier ways to do that too.”

In retrospect, my thinking was flawed:

  • Technology isn’t moving as fast I want it to.
  • If digital wallets and keyless cars are universal in five years (which is highly unlikely), what are people going to do in the interim? What about things that will never be trackable? How about finding something that’s buried at the bottom of your bag?
  • I touted Apple’s device tracking, assuming everyone uses Apple products.
  • Bluetooth trackers are improving in range and volume.
  • I assumed Tile wouldn’t gain enough traction for Community Find to be useful. But it has over 10 million users, was granted an additional $25 million in funding, and anecdotally, there are more Tile users in my town now.

While Bluetooth trackers have their flaws, there is a need for them.

I’ve had Tile for a year.

I liked it! It saved me in a situation where my wallet was jammed between the wall and dresser. I’m still not sure how it got there, but there’s no way I would’ve found it without Tile.

Last week, the app warned me it was time to replace my Tile. I decided to take this opportunity to find the best Bluetooth tracker.

What am I comparing?

Chipolo CARD isn’t ready for primetime because of its small network. It doesn’t have a competitive advantage compared to the big names.

Pixie is the only tracker that uses visual navigation through Augmented Reality to help find your items. Rather than guessing where your item is or trying to get close enough for it to beep, you can to track it on a map.

However, Pixie’s visual navigation comes with one HUGE caveat (a deal-breaker): you need the tracker on your phone and the item you’re tracking. Pixie is interesting, but with the 200ft Bluetooth range and the loudest volume of the newest trackers on the market, it’s more gimmick than substance.

Tile is the best non-replaceable battery brand and TrackR is the best replaceable battery brand.

I’m keeping Tile Style on my keys and keeping TrackR Bravo tapped to my wallet. I’d prefer not to keep TrackR, but I want to test its longevity for this post.