For those of us who have a hard time remembering things, item trackers are a godsend. I can never remember where I left my iPhone without using my Apple Watch to ping it. In order to access the Find My app and locate my keys, I frequently use this feature. This is the third time I’ve lost my phone, my wallet, and my passport in the course of a single day. A small card-shaped Bluetooth tracker that integrates with Apple’s Find My Network intrigued me, so I ordered the $35 Chipolo Card Spot.
Like you, I was apprehensive. There are so many recent stories of people learning that they’ve been monitored by AirTags that Find My’s accuracy borders on spooky. An issue that Apple has acknowledged and recently claimed it would improve AirTag safety features has been addressed. It’s not an AirTag, either. As an outsider utilizing Apple’s network, I was unsure of how this would operate in practice.
The Card Spot isn’t reinventing the wheel when it comes to Chipolo. It doesn’t use any cutting-edge technology. As far as the company’s Find My trackers are concerned, the Chipolo One Spot was the first. The Card Spot, which was announced at CES 2022, is only a repackaging of an existing technology. The Card Spot and the Tile Slim are essentially identical in terms of appearance.
The two trackers looked so similar that it was difficult for me to tell them apart. There isn’t much of a difference in their height or width. All of them have a similar pricing and feature set. Neither is significantly louder than the other. 105 decibels for the Card Spot, and 108 dB for the Slim model. When compared to the AirTag’s chime at 60 decibels, that’s about the volume of a power tool. Under some cushions in a closet, I was able to hear both trackers clearly from the opposite side of my home. In comparison to the Card Spot’s IPX5 rating, the Slim has somewhat greater IP67 water resistance. As for battery life, the Card Spot is predicted to last two years less than the Slim. As long as the gadget is located or left behind, you’ll receive notifications.
- Setup was a breeze
- Leverages My network is here
- Provides protection against stalking
- Alerts with a high-pitched tone
- No ultra-wideband
- Not all notifications are sent on time
- Not compatible with Android
NOT MUCH CAN BE SAID ABOUT THE HARDWARE OF THE CARD SPOT
The hardware of the Card Spot isn’t much to talk about. Keeping this in mind is the one caution I have regarding thinner wallets. My Bandolier case holds my ID, credit card, and MetroCard. Despite the fact that this is a small amount, it was difficult to fit in the Card Spot between everything else. Also, I have a wallet in the form of a card holder; I was able to fit the tracker inside, but had to remove a few cards in order to do so. A more classic tri- or bi-fold wallet will serve you better.
That being said, if the Card Spot was all about the hardware, there would be no point in discussing it at all. What makes the CardSpot unique is that it functions more like an AirTag, albeit with some limits. To begin with, it lacks ultra-wideband capability. A 200-foot Bluetooth range is all that separates you from the rest of the world. Because of this, you’ll still have to rely on the sound of your belongings to locate them rather than relying on AR arrows to point you in the right direction. Card Spot, unlike Tile, can use Apple’s Find My network when you’re outside the range of its trackers.
Quick review: Find My relies on other Apple devices to transmit the location of your item so that you may access it from anywhere. As a result, any iPhone with Find My iPhone functionality serves as a type of beacon for you. In densely populated areas, AirTags are extremely precise. Because there aren’t as many Tile devices out there, their network is less effective.
A recent set of tests compared the accuracy of a Tile tracker and an AirTag when used outside of Bluetooth range, for example. The Tile’s location could take hours to become apparent, even when I could see the AirTag’s location in real-time. It’s hard to say exactly where the Chipolo fits in.
My spouse put the Card Spot in his wallet as we rode the train into town (with his consent, of course). It took me about two stops to realize that I had “left the tracker behind” after getting off several stations before him. My spouse had gotten off at the last known position of the Card Spot, but that was all I could see. As a result, even though I received notification immediately, it was of little use to me in that particular situation.
There are many other possibilities. I also received lots of notices that were left behind in time. If you leave your bag at a coffee shop or in a friend’s car, these notifications are most useful. You have the same option with Lost Mode as you have with AirTags. Once the Card Spot is located, you’ll receive a notification and can leave a phone number or note for anyone who discovers it to get in touch with you. It will also prevent anyone else from pairing the Card Spot with your Apple ID.
Card Spot’s lower accuracy was actually a plus for me. Off-label uses, such as unwanted tracking, are less appealing as a result. Having my husband wear the tracker allowed me to at times monitor his location. Other times, it’s not quite so. The day we rode the same train to work? For hours, he was stuck in the subway station because of it. However, this does not imply that the Card Spot is completely secure. A terrible actor would still have access to important information—just not as quickly or in real-time as someone who is a good actor. It’s not up to Chipolo to solve this problem all by itself. Because it’s an industry-wide issue, Apple would have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for improving Find My.
AirTag, on the other hand, provides similar anti-stalking features to the Card Spot because it uses the Find My network. For the Find My iPhone program, these precautions are a “requirement,” according to Chipolo CEO Primo Zelenek, but Apple’s recent changes to strengthen up AirTag safety haven’t yet been implemented on third-party peripherals.
In reality, if an unidentified Card Spot or One Spot has been traveling with an iPhone user for a period of time, the user will receive a notification. If you don’t have Apple’s Tracker Detect app, you’re out of luck. There were a lot of them for my hubby in a short period of time. Each of them provided him with a map showing where the tracker had first been spotted with him. He may also play a sound to see if it helped him locate the tracker. If you can acquire a good Bluetooth signal, the Card Spot will be easy to locate.
Compared to Tile’s latest rollout, which required users to manually scan their surroundings, this is a vast improvement. However, unlike the AirTag, you won’t receive any proactive sound alarms. Not that my spouse and I have ever encountered such a thing.
In addition to accuracy and anti-stalking features, Find My integration has other advantages. The Card Spot is a breeze to set up and maintain. Open the Find My app, select “Add Other Item,” and then push the tiny button on the Card Spot to get started. It was over in a flash. Compared to Tile, the best aspect was that I didn’t have to install yet another app on my phone. As a gadget reviewer, I have more companion applications than I like to admit. It was a tremendous win for me to make use of what was already on my phone.
However, there is a basic shortcoming to Find My: This app is only available for iPhone users. Chipolo’s non-Find My trackers and Tile are the only options for Android users. If you need to find something that’s been misplaced outside of your house, these are still excellent trackers. Because the Card Spot does not require a separate subscription to receive left-behind alerts, this is a real shame. In order to use this feature, you’ll need to pay Tile Premium ($29.99 per year) or Tile Protect ($99 per year).
I like the Card Spot to the Tile Slim. In a few instances, the Card Spot loses to the Slim. Up until now, I’ve been fairly content with it. The precision of the Find My network, on the other hand, is more intriguing to me as an iPhone owner who frequently misplaces valuables.
Finally, this tracker is an excellent alternative to AirTag. Card Spots are only $5 more expensive than AirTags, but their increased volume and less accuracy make up for these advantages. If you want to keep tabs on where your money is going, this is the way to go. AirTags are overly round and thick, and they easily fall out of your pocket or bag. Chipolo’s One Spot, on the other hand, includes a built-in hole for keys, making it more cost-effective. There’s no need to obtain additional equipment to use these tools right out of the gate.
There is nothing new about the Chipolo Card Spot. Not even the finest at what it does is good enough for it. The greatest of the best may not always be what you desire. In the end, all you care about is getting the task done quickly and easily. And that, my friends, is the Card Spot.
THE CHIPOLO CARD SPOT
In order to use any smart device, you now have to agree to a litany of terms and conditions that no one reads. Each and every one of these agreements is beyond our capacity to read and comprehend. As a result, we started keeping track of the number of times you have to agree to use a gadget when we were reviewing them because these are agreements that most people do not understand and can’t negotiate.
Your iPhone must be compatible with the Chipolo Card Spot in order to make use of it. To do so, you’ll have to accept Apple’s terms of service and regulations on privacy. You’ll be logging into Apple’s Find My iPhone app with your iCloud account in this case. In order to do so, you must accept Apple’s iCloud use agreement.
There are now three legally binding agreements.
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