Jim Miller, an advocate for older Americans, writes “Savvy Senior,” a weekly information column syndicated in more than 400 newspapers nationwide. Based in Norman, Oklahoma, he also offers a free senior e-news service at SavvySenior.org.
If you frequently misplace objects such as your TV remote, keys, wallet, purse, phone, laptop or tablet, there’s an easy way to find them almost instantly using a type of tracking device…
If you have a smartphone, use a device that takes advantage of the phone’s Bluetooth wireless communication capability. Small electronic tags are attached by a key-chain ring or stuck onto or slipped into items that you might lose. Then an iPhone or Android app that you install on your phone can show you where these objects are on a map or can activate an audible alarm from the tags. If it’s your phone that goes missing, you can press a button on an electronic tag to make the phone ring. The following two devices claim to have a useful range of about 100 feet, but in independent testing by consumer electronics site Wirecutter.com, Tile had about a 120-foot range versus about 65 feet for TrackR Bravo.
TrackR Bravo. You can track up to 10 items at a time with these thin, round tags that are about the size of quarters. Tag batteries last about a year and are replaced for free (you pay shipping). Cost: $29.99 for one tag…$89.99 for five…$119.99 for 10. TheTrackR.com
Tile. Track up to eight items at a time with an iPhone or four items with an Android phone. With this system, you choose small, square Tile Mate tags ($25 each…$70 for four…$130 for eight) for tracking keys, luggage, backpacks or -remote controls…or slightly larger Tile Slim tags ($30 each…$100 for four…$180 for eight), which are less likely to get lost in a wallet or purse. A combination pack including two Tile Mates and two Tile Slims costs $90. Batteries, which last about a year, are not replaceable, but the company will replace the tags for about half price. TheTileApp.com
Click ’n Dig. This tracking system uses radio signals rather than Bluetooth, so no smartphone is needed. It comes with one remote finder device, which looks like a car key fob, and either two, four or six electronic tags for attaching to or slipping into items you want to track. The tags are 2.4 inches by 1.6 inches.
The effective range is 60 feet. Batteries last up to one year, with an extra battery set included in each package. Click ’n Dig costs $19.95 for a finder with two receivers, $25.95 with four receivers and $39.95 with six. ClicknDig.com