This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
Life is stressful enough without the hassles of lost or misplaced keys, phones, wallets and the like. Once, my daughter dropped a little pouch containing her college room key and student ID, and what followed was 48 hours of frenzied, frustrated searching. The cost to replace those two items would have been around $175. Luckily, we found it — it had simply fallen out of her pocket on a driveway — but there was shared agony until then.
Needless to say, that pouch now contains a Tile tracker. And everyone else in the Cheapskate household now has a Tile on their keychain. If you’re thinking it might be a good idea to do likewise (and, trust me, it is), you’ll want to check out Tile’s Black Friday Sale, which is happening right now and cuts up to 30% off the various products.
Note that Amazon also has Tile discounts right now
A couple best bets: A single Tile Mate with replaceable battery for $18 (regularly $25) and Tile Sticker four-pack for $40 (regularly $60).
For those unfamiliar with these trackers, they pair via Bluetooth with your phone. When you need to find one, you just fire up the app. If it’s your phone you need to find, double-press the button on your Tile. It’ll make your phone ring, even if it’s set to silent. (This function has proven incredibly useful to Mrs. Cheapskate, who loses her phone in the house on an almost hourly basis.)
You can also enable Tile tracking on your Amazon Echo or Google Assistant device. Then you don’t need your phone or your Tile; just say, for example, “Alexa, ask Tile to find my keys.” (In my experience, this doesn’t always work consistently, though I’m not sure if it’s an Alexa issue or a Tile issue or what.)
Even better, you can share Tile locations with family members — meaning I could use my phone to help Mrs. Cheapskate find her keys or my daughter find her wallet. And there’s an especially useful community feature: Anyone using the Tile app who comes within range of your lost item can update its location.
I won’t say the devices are flawless, but they can definitely help you find lost things — and you can’t put a price on that kind of help. Today, thankfully, you can put a lower price on it.
Are you a Tile user? Tell me what you like or don’t like about it!
CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codes, eBay coupons, Samsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.