It was easy to overlook the Tile Slim, the thinnest member of Tile's family of tracking devices. While the Tile Pro and Tile Mate mixed stylish designs with reliable tracking for your keys and other valuables, the Mate was a plain old plastic square that slipped into your wallet. It got the job done, though its alarm and range didn't particularly impress.
That's changed with the new version of the Tile Slim, which costs $30 and has gotten the most improvements in Tile's annual update for the company's key-tracking lineup. The latest Slim has a new shape, a better alarm and more range. It's the tracker to get if you need to keep tabs on the location of a wallet, billfold or purse.
Tile Slim specs
|Size||3.4 x 2.1 x 0.1 inches|
|Listed range||Up to 200 feet|
|Tested range||190 feet|
|Battery||Not replaceable (3 year battery life)|
Tile Slim: Design and features
Instead of a square, the Tile Slim is now a credit card-sized, 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.1-inch tracker. That means slipping the device into your wallet or purse alongside your other cards is even easier. Because the Slim spends most of its life out of view, you don't get the design flourishes you'll find on Tile's other trackers. But the stark black look is at least appealing and makes the Slim stand out from everything else in your wallet, should you ever need to fish the device out.
Because the Tile Slim is so, well, slim, there's no way to squeeze in a replaceable battery like the one featured in both the Tile Pro and Tile Mate. At least, you should be able to go three years before needing to replace your Slim, according to Tile's specs.
Like other Tile products, the Slim lets you find the location of your phone by pressing twice on the Tile logo, which doubles as a button. Your phone plays a jaunty tune until you unlock it.
The Slim's main functionality, though, is to let you keep tabs on your wallet or purse by establishing a connection over Bluetooth with your phone. Launch the Tile companion app on your iPhone or Android device, tap the button next to your Tile Slim, and an alarm will ring from the tracker if your wallet happens to be in range. The well-designed Tile app also uses circles to visually illustrate how close the Tile Slim is to your current location. If you happen to lose your wallet (and the Slim), you can mark the Tile Slim as lost, and you'll get a notification should another Tile user pass by it (a feature I've never had to test, thank goodness).
Tile Slim: How it performs
The best addition to this version of the Tile Slim is the tracker's new, louder alarm. After I buried the Slim inside a pile of laundry, I could definitely hear the tracker from within the same room; it was a bit harder to hear from the next room over. I could even make out the alarm when I tested the Slim in a park and reached the outer edges of the device's 200-foot range (though only barely). I'm pretty confident you'd be able to hear that alarm if your Slim was tucked away inside a wallet or purse.
Speaking of range, my testing, spread out over the course of a few weeks, produced varied results. On some occasions, I nearly reached the 200-foot range that Tile promises for the Slim. Other times, the connection dropped out by 40 feet and proved awfully difficult to reestablish. I was able to use the Slim to find my wallet in the living room when I stood two rooms, and several walls, away in my kitchen, and I think that's likely to be the most common use.
As with other Tile devices, you have the option of signing up for Tile Premium, a $3-a-month service ($30 annually) that adds smart alerts, location history and unlimited sharing of your Tile Slim with other family members. One of the Tile Premium perks — free battery replacement for Tiles with replaceable batteries — doesn't apply to the Slim, and the smart-alerts feature, which sends a notification when you leave an area like your home or office without your Tile-equipped wallet, doesn't offer enough benefit to justify the cost. Unless you've got a lot of Tile trackers to manage, you're fine skipping the Premium service.
If the Tile Slim performed a little more consistently, it would rival the Tile Pro for the title of best tracker in the Tile family. Even with the inconsistent connectivity, this is still a very good tracking device, thanks in large part to that much-improved alarm. Throw in a size that's perfect for wallets and purses, and you've got the most convenient way to make sure your wallet never strays too far.