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Tile Mate (2022) review: A lower-cost key finder sees big improvements

The Tile Mate offers the best value among top key finders

Tile Mate 2022 review with key finder in hand
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

Get the Tile Mate (2022) if you want a key finder with 200 feet or so of range and a good set of features but you don't want to pay $35 for the Tile Pro. iPhone users may appreciate the Ultra Wideband connectivity offered by Apple's AirTag, but the Tile Mate offers a lower price without too many compromises.

For

  • Costs less than many comparable key finders
  • Better range than previous edition
  • Two-way finding feature for locating your phone
  • Easy-to-use app

Against

  • Battery isn't replaceable
  • No Ultra Wideband connectivity

Tom's Guide Verdict

Get the Tile Mate (2022) if you want a key finder with 200 feet or so of range and a good set of features but you don't want to pay $35 for the Tile Pro. iPhone users may appreciate the Ultra Wideband connectivity offered by Apple's AirTag, but the Tile Mate offers a lower price without too many compromises.

Pros

  • + Costs less than many comparable key finders
  • + Better range than previous edition
  • + Two-way finding feature for locating your phone
  • + Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • - Battery isn't replaceable
  • - No Ultra Wideband connectivity
Tile Mate 2022 specs

Size: 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.3 inches
Listed range: Up to 250 feet
Tested range: 200 feet
Water resistance? IP67
Battery: Non-replaceable/3 years
Colors: Black, white

The previous version of the Tile Mate felt like a big step back for the company's lower-priced key finder. But the new Tile Mate (2022) rights all the wrongs, while taking things a step further by increasing range and adding better water resistance. 

The Tile Pro (2022) remains the best key finder around, but if you don't want to pay $35 for that device, the $25 Tile Mate is a great alternative, given all the improvements made in this 2022 edition.

Tile Mate review: Price and availability

At $25, the Tile Mate costs $10 less than the Tile Pro, with the principal trade-offs being range — the Tile Pro can stay connected to your phone up to 400 feet, while the Mate tops out at 250 feet — and the loudness of the alarm. For many users, those trade-offs will be worth saving the $10, though some may balk at the non-replaceable battery that powers the Mate. (More on that in a moment.)

The Tile Mate's $25 price also compares favorably to other top key finders. Samsung's Galaxy SmartTag starts at $30, which is the same price as Apple's AirTag. Apple's key finder includes Ultra Wideband connectivity for more precise finding — a feature lacking from Tile's trackers until the Tile Ultra arrives in 2022.

Tile Mate review: Design and features

Unlike the Tile Pro, which gets a design revamp for its 2022 edition, the Tile Mate (2022) looks a lot like its predecessor. You get the same square design as before, though the newer Mate is a little bigger all around. Tile has tried to unify the look of its key finders, which means a Tile logo in the middle of the Tile Mate that you can press if you ever need to find your phone. (Which will happen frequently if you're like me.)

Tile Mate 2022 next to Tile Pro 2022

From left to right, Tile Mate (2022) and Tile Pro (2022) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Easily the biggest change to the Tile Mate (2022) is Tile's decision to do away with the replaceable battery on this model. Instead, like the latest versions of the Tile Slim and Tile Sticker, the Mate runs on a non-replaceable battery that should last for three years. (Our Tile Pro vs. Tile Mate vs. Tile Slim vs. Tile Sticker face-off has a full look at the differences in these various trackers.) That's going to raise the hackles of environmentally minded users who won't care for the thought of replacing their tracker in three year's time, though the Tile app can point you to e-waste locations where you can dispose of old Tiles.

If it's any comfort, the Tile Mate now offers IP67 water resistance, after the previous edition could merely withstand splashes. That makes the new Mate more durable and puts it on par with the rest of the Tile lineup.

Tile Mate 2022 held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Using the new Tile Mate is the same as before. You attach the tracker to whatever you want to monitor and pair the device with your Android phone or iPhone over Bluetooth. The Tile app lets you manage your Tile Mate, with a button for sounding an alarm when you can't find your keys (or whatever it is you've attached to your Tile). As noted, Tile's trackers have a two-way find feature that let you buzz your phone — a capability missing from Apple's AirTag, we should add.

Tile Mate review: Performance

The Tile Pro (2022) is the tracker to go for if you want Tile's loudest alarm. But the alarm on the Mate is still loud enough in most cases. I could hear the key finder's alarm when it was stashed in a coat pocket inside a closet from a room away in my house. In a public park with a lot of ambient noise, the Tile Mate's alarm was still every audible up until I was more than 100 feet away. For context, I could still hear the Tile Pro at around 150 feet.

As for range, Tile has increased the distance you can stay connected to the new Tile Mate, boosting its listed range from 200 feet to 250 feet. When testing the Tile Mate (2022), I was able to get 200 feet away with no problem, which is a definite improvement over the previous Tile Mate, where I struggled to reach 100 feet. It's worth noting that performance can vary based on physical obstructions and signal interference. I also tested the Tile Mate (2022) at a nearby ferry depot, where range was significantly shorter for the key finder. Of course, that was the case for all the key finders I tested there, which says more about the vagaries of Bluetooth connectivity than it does the Tile Mate.

Tile Mate 2022 key finder app

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like the other new editions of Tile's trackers, the Mate has a QR code embedded on its back that's supposed to make it easier for other people to relay your Tile Mate's location should you lose it. (They scan the code and can send a message to you via the contact info you store in Tile's app.) A Scan and Secure feature aimed at detecting unfamiliar Tiles trying to track your location is coming in 2022.

Tile continues to offer a $2.99/month subscription service that tacks on extra features like alerts when you leave your home without your Tile Mate and the ability to share the tracker with an unlimited number of people. But the Tile Mate's core features don't require a subscription, and I think you can get the most out of the device without paying up for Tile Premium.

Tile Mate review: Verdict

While there's no matching the Tile Pro's range, you could make the argument that a 400-foot range is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. The 250 feet the Tile Mate (2022) promises will be enough range for most people and the alarm is loud enough to be heard at a distance. Those are some pretty acceptable trade-offs for a $10 discount, particularly if you're not troubled by the lack of a replaceable battery.

Apple's AirTag offers more features for just $5 more than the Tile Mate, and the Chipolo One sports a more colorful look and a disposable battery at the same price as the Mate. But it's hard to top the value the Tile Mate delivers given the improvements to this latest version.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.