The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Tile mate vs Tile pro: Which Bluetooth key finder is right for you?

Here’s how the company’s latest two possession trackers stack up

Alistair Charlton
Thursday 14 April 2022 16:34
<p>The trackers have a differing design, feature set and price </p>

The trackers have a differing design, feature set and price

The Apple AirTag may have brought possession trackers and key finders into the spotlight since its arrival in 2021. But these devices have actually existed for years, with market leader Tile arriving on the scene back in 2012, almost a decade before Apple’s arrival.

There have been many generations of Tile over the years, and the company has expanded its product line to include Tiles that stick onto your possessions, plus credit card-sized Tiles designed to slip into your wallet or purse.

The size and shape of these trackers vary, with more expensive Tiles blessed with louder speakers and more powerful Bluetooth. Some have replaceable batteries, and others don’t, with the latter consigned to the recycling bin after a few years.

We’ve been testing the Tile pro (£24.99, Tile.com) and it’s cheaper alternative, the Tile mate (£14.99, Amazon.co.uk), which are both new for 2022. But which is better? We pitted the two Tiles against each other to help you decide which is best for you.

Before we get started, it’s worth reminding readers that Tile trackers work with both iOS and Android handsets, unlike the Apple AirTag which is only compatible with the California company’s own devices.

Read more:

How we tested

Instead of intentionally losing our keys, we attached them to each of the Tile trackers tested here. We then used the app to find them and tested how well the Bluetooth connection worked, and how loud each speaker was. We then put each of the Tiles in our car and parked a few streets away from home – and away from our smartphone – in a bid to test the abilities of the Tile network. We can also confirm that both the Tile mate and Tile pro survived being dunked into clean water.

Want to see which one prevails in our eyes and gain some insight into which tracker you should invest in? Check out our comparison below.

Tile mate

Buy now £14.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Bluetooth range: Up to 76m
  • Battery: Up to three years, non-replaceable
  • Colour options: Black and white
  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Dimensions: 37.8 x 37.8 x 7.1mm

Being a small, square device with a button on its front and a hole for attaching to your keys or bag, the current-generation mate is closest to the original Tile device. It has rounded edges and a matte finish that looks smart, but be warned, it scratches quite easily. That said, this is a product designed to spend its entire life attached to your keys, so the reality is that it is going to get scratched and there’s not much you can do about it.

The integrated hole is a small detail, and an obvious feature, but something that elevates Tile trackers above the Apple AirTag, which doesn’t have a hole – instead, you would have to purchase a holder, which then attaches to your keys or bag. It’s clear that Tile puts function ahead of form, and the mate is all the better for it.

As with the brands other products, this has a single button on its front. This is first used during the setup process, and once that is complete a double-press of the button rings your Bluetooth-connected smartphone via the Tile app, helping you locate it. Even if your phone is on silent, it’ll ring loudly with its own ringtone.

Read more: Chipolo one spot key tracker review

This device has also has a Bluetooth range of up to 76 metres in open space. In other words, this is the maximum distance from which the Tile app will still connect to the mate and activate its speaker to help you find it. If the Tile mate is lost beyond that distance, the app will show where it was last connected to your smartphone. You can then hunt it down that way, or call upon the Tile community for help, where you’ll be shown the mate’s location when it next comes within Bluetooth range of a fellow Tile user passing by.

In terms of battery life, it has a claimed three years (depending on how often you activate the speaker, of course). But we should note that the battery is not replaceable, so when it runs out the device can no longer be used. This is a shame, but for less than £20 it’s not a total dealbreaker. It’s also got an IP67 water resistance rating which means the Tile mate is entirely protected against dust, and will survive being dunked into one metre of water for up to 30 minutes.

As with all Tile products, the mate works with iOS and Android smartphones, and you can call upon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri to help find it. Just say something like: “Ask Tile to find my keys” to your voice assistant of choice and, providing you called the Tile mate “keys” when you set it up, the speaker will play its tune.

Read our full review of the Tile mate

Tile pro

Buy now £24.99, Tile.com

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Bluetooth range: Up to 120m
  • Battery: Up to one year, replaceable
  • Colour options: Black and white
  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Dimensions: 58 x 32 x 7.5mm

The Tile pro is a fair bit larger than the mate (£14.99, Amazon.co.uk), and more expensive too. But those compromises are made up for by a louder speaker, greater Bluetooth range, and a battery that can be replaced when it runs dry.

As well as better battery life, the pricier pro also benefits from a sturdy metal chassis that feels more robust than the Tile mate. And don’t worry, it too has an integrated hole stamped through the metal frame of the product. Not that the mate feels at all fragile, but the pro’s metal build makes it more suitable for life outside, perhaps strapped to the rucksack you take mountain biking, or a suitcase subjected to anything baggage handlers can throw at it.

It’s not only tougher though, the pro is also more powerful. It has Bluetooth antenna with a range of up to 120 metres, which means you can be further away from the pro, yet still connected via Bluetooth and able to activate the speaker in a bid to locate it. Speaking of which, Tile describes the pro’s speaker as its “loudest product yet”. And while there’s no specific figure to prove this, in our testing we found the pro to be significantly louder than the mate. So much so, it could easily be heard from a different room of our home.

Read more: 16 best Bluetooth speakers for every budget

Water and dust resistance are also the same as on the mate, at IP67. And while the mate only comes in black and white, the pro comes in both of these and also has a handful of special editions, like a patterned finish called spring frost.

Hardware aside, the pro works exactly like the mate. The app is used to help find the device when it goes missing, and both models can be used with the smart alerts system included with Tile’s subscription service, Tile Premium. That said, the £2.99 fee for premium is better value for pro users as it includes free battery replacements – something the Tile mate can’t take advantage of.

Read our full review of the Tile pro key finder

The verdict: Tile mate vs Tile pro

These two products fundamentally do the same thing; they attach to your things, like keys and bags, then use Bluetooth, a speaker and the anonymous location of other Tile users, to help you find them when they go missing. But there are some important differences, from the design and build to their performance, toughness, capabilities and longevity.

For us, the make or break difference is how the battery. While the mate can last much longer – a claimed three years compared to one – its lack of a replaceable battery means it can no longer function once it’s out of juice. That’s why we think the Tile pro’s replaceable coin-style battery feels like it is worth the extra £10.

If, for you, price is a main consideration then the Tile Mate will still be better in your eyes. It usually costs £20 while the Tile pro comes in at £30, but there are discounts to be had on both if you buy more than one at a time. And, of course, right not both devices have £5 off. So if you’re in the market it might be worth investing sooner rather than later.

Voucher codes

For the latest computer, laptop and tablet discounts, try the links below:

What to find out how Tile trackers compare to the Apple AirTag? Why not check out our comparison

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in