Disclaimer: The folks at XY Find It Beacon and My Buddy Tag very kindly provided their bluetooth tags for this comparison review. As always, the opinions are my own.
Probably like many of you, I have seen banner ads all over the internet for a product called TILE. Attach these trackers to things you don’t want to lose: keys, wallet, purse, laptop bag, camera, luggage, etc. Download the app on your phone and be notified whenever the item is out of range and be able to see just about how close (or far) you are to retrieve your belongings. What a great idea!
With four, very quick, little ones I began to wonder if the TILE would work well on kids. It could be great for camping or public parks… mainly for the older children as our attention is often on the youngest one. After searching the Internet, I discovered there are a ton of companies that make this type of product. Over the past month, I’ve been able to try out the XY Find It Smart Beacon and My Buddy Tag.
What both of these do:
You attach these trackers to things you don’t want to lose: keys, wallet, purse, laptop bag, camera, luggage, TV remote…or in my case, children.
Download the tracker’s app to connect the tracker with your iPhone or Android phone. If the tracker is within Bluetooth range — about 33 feet — all is well. If you and your tracker get separated, though, your phone lets you know with a message and/or sound.
As you walk around, a graph on your phone screen shows you if you’re getting closer to the tracker or farther from it, like the old “warmer, colder” game. These products won’t tell you which direction an item is from you, just the general distance.
If your phone loses connection with one or more of your items, you will get an app notification or email with the time and map locations when your tag was last seen by the app.
Look and feel: The Buddy Tag is made specific for children so they have a variety of wristbands that you can choose from. The designs are not very good and actually call attention to themselves, where I’d rather them be as discreet as possible. You can remove the tag and attach it other ways but you’ll lose one of the unique benefits of Buddy Tag (read below). The XY Find It comes as a stand-alone tag. (They are both about 1/3″ thick and the width of a quarter)
Unique Features of Buddy Tag:
Water Alert: The Buddy Tag has a water alert feature that only works when the wristband is worn. The wristband has to be worn, and it has to be submersed into enough mass of water for the alarm to sound. We tested it out in a bathtub of water and an 8 year old. Every time his hand was submersed under water the alarm went off (it really did work!). It’s designed so you don’t get an alert to sound when the child is just washing hands.
Panic Button: Okay, this is also known as the button that you don’t want your kids to know about. Your children will be pressing the panic button non-stop just to annoy you. Ours did that, so I disabled the panic alarm feature in the app. I can see why they would want to add that feature but this would only work for older children mature enough to understand the importance of it. The XY Find It is not a product designed specifically for children so it does not have this feature.
Battery: The battery should last about a year. Because of the waterproof feature of the Buddy Tag, you cannot replace it on your own. They do guarantee at least 12 months of battery life so if a unit dies within the 12 months, the company should replace the unit.
Unique Features of XY Find It Beacon:
Built-in Speaker: Because the primary use of the XY Find It is using it for items like keys or purses, there is a speaker that you can set off in order to help find your item. However we found that it isn’t very loud. If you’re anywhere outside of your home, you may not even be able to hear it with all the background noise beyond your control.
Battery: The battery should last about six months. Unlike the Buddy Tag, you can replace the CR2032 battery on your own.
Whether you’re trying to keep tabs on your keys or your kids, these little things are pretty cool. Neither of the brands I tried drained my phone battery a ton and for $25-$50, it’s worth preventing the headache of looking for keys or panicking over “lost” children in public areas. This would have come in super handy when Elliott silently hid under a futon at Nana’s house. We did in fact panic and almost called the police by the time he made his way out.