I’ve been a loyal Tile user since I first baked their Kickstarter project. I love the idea of being able to locate things I lose all the time, like my keys, and to keep track of stuff I might lose, like my DSLR, my GoPro, etc. I even used them to keep track of my cats when they wee indoor-outdoor cats. I at least knew when they were around even if I couldn’t find them. They’ve been a lifesaver. But I’m done with Tile. Here’s why.
I realize that $12USD – $25USD per year may not sound like a lot of money, and it really isn’t, but when I started putting Tiles on lots of things, that cost, which is per item, per year started to feel excessive. Why is that per device per year? Because Tile has no replaceable battery. And the Tile App ‘expires’ the Tile after a year, no matter what the battery life might be. So I have to replace each tile, each year.
I’m a Maker. I’m a tinkerer. I take stuff apart. I build stuff. I am a firm (and I mean very firm!) believer in the Maker’s Bill of Rights. If you’re not familiar with it, here it is from Make: Magazine issue 04 (I’d link to the original article, but the Make archives appear to be dead. Good thing I have every issue ever printed still here in my office!):
- Meaningful and specific parts lists shall be included.
- Cases shall be easy to open.
- Batteries should be replaceable.
- Special tools are allowed only for darn good reasons.
- Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse.
- Torx is OK; tamperproof is rarely OK.
- Components, not entire sub-assemblies, shall be replaceable.
- Consumables, like fuses and filters, shall be easy to access.
- Circuit boards shall be commented.
- Power from USB is good; power from proprietary power adapters is bad.
- Standard connecters shall have pinouts defined.
- If it snaps shut, it shall snap open.
- Screws better than glues.
- Docs and drivers shall have permalinks and shall reside for all perpetuity at archive.org.
- Ease of repair shall be a design ideal, not an afterthought.
- Metric or standard, not both.
- Schematics shall be included.
If you notice point #3 above, you’ll understand why I’m done with Tile. And Why I’ve moved to TrakR instead. Aside from the fact that the TrackR app has more features — like geofencing — I can replace the damned batteries! That cuts my per-year cost from about $100 to about $10, assuming I only have to replace the batteries once a year. And the up-front cost wasn’t much more. The TrackR is also more eco-friendly as I’m not throwing away the entire device every year, just disposing of a single watch battery.
So long Tile. I liked you, a lot. Backed you on Kickstarter even. But since they are ‘disposable’ devices, for cost and eco reasons, I’m moving over to TrackR effective immediately (since they arrived in today’s mail). If you want to join me, you can use this link and we’ll both get a free device!