Review: Tile—a tool for finding lost stuff

Like most homes, our house has a back door. The back door has a deadbolt lock that is keyed separately from our other doors. We use this door several times a day to let our two golden retrievers outside.

For convenience, we used to keep the key to the back door on the countertop next to it. Sometimes that key would end up on the kitchen table near the back door if we had to clean off muddy paws or something like that. Having the key on the table would create a minor delay while one or both dogs were anxiously awaiting the chance to go outside. On some occasions, however, the key would end up somewhere else entirely. In another room. Across the kitchen. In a drawer. Oddly enough, this began happening right around the time that our child was tall enough to reach things on the counter. He denied all liability, however, so I have to assume this was merely a case of correlation rather than cause-and-effect.

Last year, my wife decided to pledge to a Kickstarter project called Tile. This project developed a small square tile with an RFID chip inside that could be detected by an app running on a smart phone. If you attach the Tile to an object, you can find that object using your phone. After the Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded, we received our Tiles. My wife immediately put the key to our back door on a key ring with a Tile. She also noted that our Apple TV remote often disappears (it’s small enough to slip between cushions on a couch), so she affixed a Tile to that as well.

Several months later, I am prepared to say that Tile works perfectly. Neither the key to the back door nor the Apple TV remote have gone missing since being Tiled. This may not have been what the folks at Tile had in mind, but it is certainly working well regardless.

In all seriousness, we have tested the devices and iPhone app, and Tile works very well. It’s impressive that the app lets you home in on the RFID signal with accuracy.

At $20 per Tile, it is money well spent keeping track of those things in your home that seem to wander off.

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