After nearly two years of wait, Apple finally unveiled the AirTag at its ‘Spring Loaded‘ event. The Tile competitor from Apple has been long due. Now that it’s finally here let’s take a look at which Bluetooth tracker you should get.
AirTag marks Apple’s formal entry into the Bluetooth tracker market. AirTag boasts a lot of features, including the small and lightweight design, Apple U1 chip — which makes tracking more accurate, a user-replaceable battery, an inbuilt speaker, IP67 rating, and a lot more.
Tile is yet another popular Bluetooth tracker brand in this segment. It has been in the market for around six years now and has been fairly dominant in the Bluetooth tracking sector. But, Apple AirTag’s entry makes it difficult for users to choose between AirTag and Tile. If you’re on the market for a Bluetooth tracker and are looking to choose between Tile and AirTag, these are the key differences you need to know.
On a side note, Apple also introduced its new and improved iPad Pro and a new iMac with an M1 chip. If you’ve made up your mind about buying the new iMacs and are wondering which one to get, head over here to find out the key differences between the 24-inch M1 iMac and the 21.5-inch M1 iMac.
AirTag vs. Tile: What Are The Key Differences?
Design and Dimensions
Tile, generally, opts for a more squarish design for its Bluetooth trackers. Tile Mate is square in shape, with the dimensions of 1.4 x 1.4 x 0.24-inch. On the other hand, Apple has opted for a circular design for the AirTag and is quite small, with its diameter at only 1.26 inches.
Comparing the AirTag to Tile Pro, Tile Pro is bigger than both the Airtag and the lower-priced Tile Mate, with its dimensions at around 1.65 x 1.65 x 0.26-inch. Both the Tile Mate and Tile Pro are made out of plastic. AirTag has a combination of both of these things, with its covering made out of plastic, and the back, where the Apple logo is placed, is made out of stainless steel.
Weight-wise, AirTag falls in between the two Tile variants. AirTag is a bit heavier at 11 grams as compared to the 7 grams weight of Tile Mate. Tile Pro is 4 grams heavier than the AirTag, coming in at 15 grams.
Coming to the design, there nothing in the front of the AirTag. It has plain white plastic in the front, which can be engraved with an emoji for free of cost if purchased from Apple stores. Both Tile Mate and Tile Pro have a similar design, with the Tile logo, which is also a button in the front and a hole in the top left to attach it to objects like keys, bags, etc.
AirTag does not have any kind of hole in its design and relies on accessories to attach to things. Apple and few third-party accessory makers have already come out with a bunch of AirTag accessories like strap holders, key rings, etc. AirTag can also be thrown in a bag, wallet, or purse, and it will work just fine.
One of the key differences between the AirTag and Tile ecosystem is the way tracking works on both. AirTag, if it’s in the vicinity of the owner, relies on Bluetooth, ultra-wideband, and AR to relay its location to the iPhone. Apple has also added Precision Tracking to the AirTag, which essentially means that you can accurately see the location, the distance, and the direction you should head in to locate your AirTag. This feature is only on newer iPhones like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, though.
AirTag, if it’s not in your vicinity, uses other Apple devices around it to return its location. If your AirTag is lost, you can put it in the Lost Mode. Then, every time your AirTag comes near an Apple device, it will use the location of that Apple device and update the AirTag’s location in your Find My app. All of this location exchange takes place securely.
Tile, although it works on the same principle — where it updates a Tile’s location whenever a phone comes near it — it has one flaw. This background location update of a Tile requires other people to have the Tile app on their iOS or Android device, and only then will it update the location of your lost Tile.
Apple has added an anti-stalking feature to the AirTag. If you think someone can slip an AirTag in your bag or car to track you remotely, AirTag has an anti-stalking feature that prevents you from being tracked.
Tile has a two-way finder feature that rings your phone if you’re not able to locate it. There’s a button on every Tile device which rings the phone, even if it is on silent mode.
Water and Dust Resistance
AirTag has an IP67 dust and water resistance rating, in case you have placed it on your bag and weather conditions turn bad. Tile Mate doesn’t have an official IP rating, but Tile says that it is splashproof and should work just fine after some water is spilled on it. Tile Pro is IPX5 water-resistant, but there’s no dust resistance.
Compatability and Setup
Both AirTag and Tile connect to your smartphones via Bluetooth. However, AirTag is designed to work exclusively with Apple devices. It requires an iPhone to set up, and then the AirTag shows up on all of your Apple devices. It’s easy to set up, you just need to bring the AirTag near your iPhone, then a pop-up will show up on your iPhone (shown above), give it a name, and done.
And if your iPhone happens to have an Apple U1 chip, you can even take advantage of its Precision Tracking feature. You can also trigger an AirTag’s sound using Siri voice commands.
Tile connects to both iOS and Android devices. It requires you to download and install the Tile app from the respective app store, sign up on its service, and then configure it using the app. If you don’t have your phone around, you can also trigger Tile to ring using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Tile Premium Protect
Along with its Tile Premium subscription, Tile has also started offering Tile Premium Protect. This subscription costs $99 per year and entitles you to benefits of all the features of Tile Premium and a $1000 reimbursement if you lose an object attached to a Tile and Tile can’t find it. Apple does not offer any kind of reimbursement in case you lose your AirTag.
Apple has set a price tag of $29 on the AirTag. The company is also offering a four-pack bundle for $99. Taking a look on the other side, Tile has about four different versions of the product. Tile Pro is the costliest one and will cost you $35. Tile Mate costs $25, and the Tile tracker for wallets and passports, Tile Slim will cost you $28.
Tile also offers a four-pack bundle of the Tile Pro and Tile Mate. For $89, $10 less than what Apple charges for the AirTag bundle, you can bag a four-pack Tile Pro. A four-pack Tile Mate will cost you $62. The company also offers a pack of two, for Tile Mate, which you can get for around $50.
Tile also offers a subscription for its devices called Tile Premium. This subscription costs $29.99 a year, or $2.99 a month, and entitles you to benefits like smart alerts, free battery replacements, 30-day location history, and extended warranties. The smart alert feature sends a notification every time you leave your Tile behind.
Both Tile and AirTag have their differences. Tile proves to be an excellent choice if you have both Android and Apple devices at your home. In contrast, AirTag’s seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem makes it a no-brainer if you’re already a part of the ecosystem.
Apple AirTag is yet to hit the market. But in the hands-on videos and the early reviews that have come out, AirTags have left the major publications impressed. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself, pre-orders are already live on Apple Store with shipping starting from April 30.