There’s no doubt that Tile is the biggest player in the world of key finders. Tile is a much younger company than TrackR but has already become the dominant force in the key tracker industry. Started in 2009, TrackR is trying their best to compete with Tile but have only sold 5 million devices compared to Tile’s 10 million. But more units sold doesn’t always mean better. In our review, we found that both devices do their core feature of finding your stuff very well! Where they differ is within their durability, extra features, and price.
If you don’t want to go through the whole review – that’s okay! For many reasons, our winner is the Tile. Click here to check the price of the Tile on Amazon.
An Overview of the TrackR and Tile
Tile has its Pro series (which we reviewed here) and has released 4 different products – the Style, Slim, Mate, and Sport. TrackR has only released two: the TrackR pixel and the TrackR bravo (which is being discontinued). This review will focus on the most popular version from each brand – the TrackR pixel and the Tile Mate.
TrackR vs. Tile: Apps
Both devices have their own apps and are required to set up and use the devices. Both apps allow you to add multiple key trackers through the app and to see on a map where each tracker is located. Both apps work on Android and iOS phones and require you to use Bluetooth.
While Tile primarily markets itself as a key tracker, TrackR’s app shows off the device’s various use cases. You can select an icon for each device you have connected with the TrackR. The icons included a cat, dog, briefcase, wallet, keys, and a camera. TrackR are really pushing the device as a way to make anything findable.
The Tile App is intuitive and works well. If you lose your keys, you simply click the green “Find” button and it rings the Tile device. Believe it or not, there’s a tiny little speaker within the Tile key finder and it’s quite loud when you click that find button! The Tile can only track your items within a 100 foot range. That means if you leave your keys at the store, you won’t be able to see them. However, the Tile App displays a map where your keys where last located. The TrackR and its app has all of these features, too, and a similar range.
Tile Proximity Meter
Another neat feature that the Tile has is its ability to crowd locate the location of your phone. Let’s use the same store scenario from before to explain this feature. You leave your keys with your Tile at the store and you go home – which is well outside the 100 foot range of the Tile. If another person with the Tile app at the store walks near your Tile, it lets them know that it’s nearby.
Here’s my own story: My Tile stopped ringing after about a year and a half. (More on the durability and replacement options later in the review) I lost my keys in my house and couldn’t find them anywhere. Even though the speaker on the Tile was out, the app still allowed me to track where my keys were. I already knew they were in my house, so the map view on the app showing my key tracker’s location really didn’t help. Instead, I used the Tile’s Proximity meter to find where they were. The green circle’s layers at the center of the app fill up based on how close you are to the keys. I narrowed it down to a corner of the garage and there they were – right on the workbench!
TrackR Proximity Meter
TrackR displays its proximity meter as bars instead of rings. We found that it was not nearly as accurate as the Tile’s proximity feature. It took more than a few seconds to fully register its location – even when we put it right next to the TrackR. Like the Tile, the TrackR’s range is about 100 feet. However, this can be impacted by barriers being in the way of the device. We found that even a backpack somewhat weakened the signal.
Size, Weight, and Durability
Both of these key trackers are nearly identical in weight. They are very light – under 0.16oz. We couldn’t tell any difference in weight when holding both devices. They are nearly the same size, too, with the TrackR being only slightly larger.
One huge contrast for us between the TrackR vs. Tile is the waterproof rating. The Tile is IP5 splash proof but the TrackR is not water resistant. Neither of the devices can be fully submerged in water. Our TrackR didn’t break during wet weather when we were using it, but it’s definitely something to think about if you are active outdoors or live in a rainy area.
We found that the TrackR felt much more durable than the Tile. Both feel like hard plastic, but for us the slightly dome-shaped TrackR pixel felt a bit more heavy-duty than the Tile Mate.
TrackR vs. Tile: Extra Features
We think the coolest extra feature between the TrackR vs. Tile is the TrackR’s light. The LED light surrounds the entire circumference of the key tracker and is quite bright! These lights flash when you use the app to find your keys. This is pretty unique because the only other GPS tracker we’ve seen that has a light attached is the Nuzzle GPS Dog Collar that we reviewed recently.
The TrackR has another feature the Tile doesn’t: a replaceable battery. Instead, the Tile has a replacement plan called reTile. It’s a way to replace your Tile Mate with a new Tile for a discounted price. The reTile program is no doubt a really cool and noble gesture by the company, but the TrackR’s replaceability really is the best option.
Lose your phone but have your TrackR or Tile nearby? Both devices allow you to press a button on the key tracker and ring your phone. Oh yeah – both the TrackR and Tile work with Alexa!
TrackR vs. Tile: Style Options
As for style, the TrackR comes in several different colors while the Tile Mate only comes in white. If you’re looking for more stylish Tile’s with the same capability as the Mate, you might want to check out the Tile Style or Tile Sport on Amazon. While they’re a bit more expensive, our previous review found the Tile Pro Series to be more durable than the average Tile Mate.
Other Uses of the TrackR and Tile
It would be tough to use these two devices as anything but key trackers. They do not have WiFi or network capability, which doesn’t make them that useful as car trackers, bike trackers, or GPS dog collars. If you’re not in Bluetooth range, you cannot use the Tile or TrackR to see devices live on a map. Instead you would have to strictly depend on the devices’ crowd locate features to notify you – both of which are lackluster.
Not water resistant
Proximity meter, button to find phone, only comes in white
Proximity meter, button to find phone, different colors, LED light
Proximity meter, button to find phone, only comes in white
Both devices functioned as advertised during our review. We recommend the Tile because it’s splash proof and has a sleek app. It usually comes in at a lower cost for a multipack, too, compared to the TrackR.
Even though the TrackR lets you replace its battery and has a cool light, the pure function of finding our keys was most important to us and that’s where the Tile shined. Its proximity meter is also much more reliable. Remember, this review took into consideration the Tile Mate specifically. To see our reviews on the Tile Pro series, which are a little fancier, click here.
As for cost, as of the time of this writing (early 2018) you can get 4 Tile Mates for the same price as a 3-pack of TrackR devices.
You can buy a 4-pack of the Tile Mate on Amazon.
You can buy a 3-pack of the TrackR on Amazon.
Do you use these devices or another brand? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below! Thanks for reading!