Chipolo Card Spot reviewon May 18, 2023 at 15:44 Tech Advisor
Super-thin trackerSupports Apple’s giant Find My networkLoud alert sound
Apple users shouldn’t restrict themselves to the AirTag when it comes to choosing the best tracker. The Chipolo Card Spot boasts nearly all the location-finding benefits of the AirTag but in a slimmed down, flattened-out design that better slips into a card wallet or purse than fatter rivals from Apple and Tile.
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From finding keys left on a bus or dropped from a pocket in the park to bleeping the tracker’s audible alert to locate your remote control, Apple’s AirTag and rival trackers have helped millions of users find objects as varied as keys, luggage, vehicles and pets using their Bluetooth wireless technology tied to connected networks of users.
the Apple AirTag tracker is incredibly popular, but while small and compact it is, not to be rude, quite fat.
Stuff one in your wallet and it will introduce an ugly and possibly uncomfortable bulge.
Chipolo, maker of the popular ONE tracker, has a new Card Spot tracker that is designed in a super-thin-form factor specifically to fit inside a wallet.
You can buy wallets with an integrated AirTag holder but even these can’t avoid the AirTag’s unattractive bulge.
The Card Spot is 2.4mm thick, a third of the height of Apple’s 8mm tracker. The AirTag’s 32mm diameter makes it shorter than the credit-card-sized Card Spot (85-x-54mm) but it’s the slimness not the length that makes the Card Spot special.
Weighing 8.7g, the Card Spot is slightly lighter than the 11g AirTag—but you won’t notice the difference away from a set of super-accurate scales.
Dutch design firm Secrid, which sells wallets that protect against NFC/RFID skimming, has joined forces with Chipolo to sell the Card Spot alongside its smart Cardprotector wallets, but the Chipolo Card Spot will fit any card-holding wallet.
It’s about as thick as two credit cards placed together so the tracker does take up some space—although nothing as obvious as you get stuffing in an AirTag.
Some AirTag users have complained that the Apple tracker, at around 60 decibels, isn’t loud enough, when you Play Sound to locate it. At very close quarters, its speaker is fine but at 30m it’s not always loud enough—especially if the tracker is slipped into a bag.
The Card Spot’s integrated speaker is much louder at 105dB. It’s not the loudest tracker—that honor goes to the 128dB Tile Pro—but it’s noticeably louder than the AirTag alert sound.
The Card Spot’s battery lasts twice as long as the AirTag’s, but it isn’t replaceable like Apple’s tracker battery. Instead, Chipolo has a Recycle & Renew service that means the old card will be recycled at the same time you can buy a new one for half price if you register your tracker at the time of purchase.
Rated at IP67, the AirTag is fully waterproof and dustproof. Rated lower at IPX5, the Card Spot is less water resistant (fine in a light shower) and less resistant to dust and other solid particles—but placed in a wallet or purse this shouldn’t be a problem unless you throw your it into the sea or a sandpit. IPX5 is considered water-resistant, sweat/rain/splashproof but not fully waterproof.
Otherwise, the Bluetooth Chipolo Card Spot operates in the same way as Apple’s AirTag—added to and managed in the Find My app under the Items tab, with its location displayed on a map in the Find My app.
It’s officially certified by Apple, featuring a “Works with Apple Find My” badge on the packaging. It therefore connects to the Apple Find My network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use secure end-to-end encrypted Bluetooth technology to detect items nearby and report their approximate location back to their owner.
So, even if the tracker is thousands of miles away, locked into your lost suitcase, the Find My app will locate it as long as the tracker gets close to a compatible device within Bluetooth range. If you leave an AirTag in a restaurant on another continent, you will be able to see its location once it is close enough to someone else’s iPhone or MacBook.
As with the AirTag, you will receive a notification when you leave your item behind or when Find My network locates your missing item.
Despite the certification, Apple usually reserves at least one advantage over its tech partners, and with the trackers, it’s a feature called Precise Finding that you don’t get with the Chipolo trackers.
The AirTag boasts Apple’s U1 chip, which uses ultra-wide band technology to precisely locate and communicate with other U1-equipped devices, such as any model of iPhone 11 or later. It uses input from the iPhone’s camera, Apple’s augmented reality platform ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope to guide you to a lost AirTag using sound, haptics, and visual feedback.
From July, Chipolo will have a version of the Card Spot that is compatible with Google’s Find My Device Network for Android users.
The rival Tile Slim tracker is a similar size to the Card Spot but isn’t certified to work with Apple’s Find My app or network.
Apple users shouldn’t restrict themselves to the AirTag when it comes to choosing the best Bluetooth tracker. The Chipolo Card Spot boasts nearly all the location-finding benefits of the AirTag but in a slimmed down, flattened-out design that better slips into a card wallet or purse than fatter rivals from Apple and Tile.