Chipolo CARD Spot
Chipolo CARD Spot Review
CES 2022 showcased a number of new products. They continue to trickle into the review queue. One of the latest, the Chipolo CARD Spot, slips quietly into a wallet to help recover or rediscover it when lost or misplaced.
The thin design doesn’t bulk up a wallet. It just snuggles in among all the other flatness—an investment in potential. Like all insurance-related products, the Chipolo Card Spot doesn’t need to do anything most of the time—but when it does need to do its thing, it can be worth your reputation, your credit rating, perhaps even your ability to leave another country with ease. Not a bad investment for $35.
What we like
The thin black Chipolo CARD Spot does exactly what it promises. Using FindMy on iOS the massive network of iPhones triangulates on the Chipolo CARD Spot as it does an AirTag enhanced backpack misplaced in chemistry class and moved to lost and found. Apple’s AirTags offer an Apple ecosystem-specific alternative to Tile. Chipolo delivers an early example of a device that leverages Apple’s proprietary FindMy to extend the device-finding features that originated with the iPhone and extended to its other devices, eventually landing on the little AirTag dots.
Simple. Thin. Water-resistant (IPX5). 2-years of battery. Tap the Chipolo CARD Spot on the FindMy screen, play the sound, and the sound plays. The great global network of Apple devices will track it should it fall somewhere in the vicinity of civilization. What’s not to like. A device that does what it does simply and elegantly.
What could be improved
An iPhone case does not fit an Android phone. AirPods behave differently with iOS than they do when connected to anything else. Their magic movement among Apple devices works only for Apple devices. The unique Apple experience is a key reason people buy Apple-everything.
The major mobile ecosystems purposefully diverge in design language, even as they share many technological commonalities like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Some complain that the Card Spot does not work with Android. I don’t see that as an issue. Apple’s coupling of tracking with its U1 chip delivers differentiation in the market. Apple has every right to leverage its proprietary technology prowess to enhance the experience of those who choose its ecosystem over Google’s Android.
That said, Apple provides Tracker Detect on Android to help find AirTags signal up when lost. Chipolo offers its own, more universal Chipolo CARD. Tile offers an alternative, but Tile works only in proximity, not across the world of interconnected devices playing seek-and-find.
Could the battery life be improved to match the Tile Slim’s 3-years, sure? But some of your credit cards probably expire within two years, so when you replace those, check your Chipolo CARD Spot’s batteries—and by then, there will likely be a thinner, longer-lasting, perhaps even flexible alternative. Two years in technology is an eternity (I write as I install macOS Monterey 12.3 on a 12-inch MacBook at its aging Intel i5 powered compute environment).
Chipolo CARD Spot: The Bottom Line
Technology becomes increasingly invisible. The Chipolo CARD Spot emerges from its box and slides effortlessly among Credit Cards, Library Cards, Loyalty Cards, Universal Life Church credentials, and insurance identification. I don’t even think about it being there. It is just there. I have never lost a wallet. Should I mislay my billfold at some point in the future, I will be happy that my Chipolo CARD Spot can help me locate it.
In the meantime, the CARD Spot will remain, like so many items in my wallet, stacked and buried until called upon. Of course, Apple plans to do away with the wallet altogether between iPhones and Apple Watches, so the Chipolo Card Spot may end up pocketed with my Passport rather than my wallet before its batteries run down. It will work just as effectively protecting my international identification as it does my Half Price Books Educator’s Discount Card.
Chipolo provided the Chipolo Card Spot for review. Images courtesy of Chipolo.
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