Tile review: meh

“Tile” is a gadget+app+service for locating keys and other valuables. The concept had an explosive start on Kickstarter, and then the company was painfully slow to deliver — most of a year late I think, bad enough that it finally got hard to forgive. I was annoyed before I even received the product. Not a great start.

They basically seem to do the job. I have used them to find my semi-lost keys and wallet a couple of times per week.

The tiles are a bit too thick for comfort, and the noise they make seems inspired by electronics from the 1980s. The Tile iPhone app isn’t awful, but it’s not great… and it should be polished enough for more trust. I’ve noticed several dubious design choices and glitches. My first Tile setup failed in the usual way we now take for granted as part of modern living: futile stabbing and cranky muttering of things like “Why is it doing that?” and “It’s right there, you stupid fucking piece of shit!

After a bit of thrashing around, I got it going. It’s a mystery. It always is these days, isn’t it? Welcome to The Future, where apps and gadgets and services awkwardly solve some of our minor 1st world problems…and make brand new ones like this…

But the lamest thing…

So I dropped and broke my iPhone (damn!), and then replaced the phone. But then I was stuck logged into Tile on the old device, which caused completely unnecessary problems with trying to set up Tile again on the new phone…

They fixed it. But!

Condescending tech support

They fixed it, but they also included this hilariously insufferable warning:

To avoid this in the future, please remember to sign out of your Tile app account.

Noooo. No, I absolutely will not “please remember”! Here’s my horrified reply (yes, I wasted several more minutes of my life on this, because I am a writer, and that’s just how I do things):

You created this hassle for me with POOR DESIGN. It did not happen because I “forgot” something I literally could not do...and had no reason to think I NEEDED to do, because I should NOT need to do it.

So how about not telling your customers to “please remember” to do the often impossible and definitely unreasonable? Because, news flash, YOU CAN’T SIGN OUT OF THE TILE APP ON A BROKEN IPHONE. Assuming you had the slightest reason to suspect that there was even a stupid need to do so in the first place!

How many apps do you have on YOUR phone? How many services are you signed into? A dozen? Three dozen? How many of them REQUIRE you to sign out of them before breaking your phone, or else you will end up with a hassle when you try to get going with that service on the replacement device? What if they ALL took a half hour? Do you see the problem here?

They politely conceded my point, which was good of them — but it doesn’t give me my time back.