In the soft squishy bits of my brain – the bits that have been impacted by alcohol the most – I vaguely remember similar products in the past, but this Chipolo solution is stylish and just easy to setup.
Basically it’s a small “doo-hickey” which connects to your phone via low energy Bluetooth. The Chipolo can take a couple of forms, and that “doo-hickey” can be a keyfob or a card. For this review we’ve got the card, but the classic keyfob is still available and can also now be purchased in a funky fruit design. Head to their products page to have a look at the options.
So, let’s go into the idea behind this. What items do you tend to carry on a daily basis ? Y’know, when you’re out of the house? You’ve probably got your keys, your wallet and your phone. All important stuff and usually stuff that stays together. You’ll probably be fairly close to those things right now, but what happens if you lose one of those things?
Retracing your steps is always one option, but it’s a pain and you tend to get all stressed out whilst doing it. Here, you connect either the Chipolo Classic (which is the keyfob for your keys) or the Chipolo Card (which is for your wallet or purse and I have here). They hook onto your smartphone via a Chipolo app. The app makes it easy to pair the device and then track it. Now, it’ll track your wallet / purse / keys by maintaining that connection but, if you’re too far away and that Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) connection stops, it’ll remember where that connection dropped and it’ll mark it as the “last seen location”.
With the Chipolo Plus (which is the new version of the Chipolo Classic fob, but with a sounder) and the Chipolo Card you get the ability of ringing your Chiplo by simply clicking the appropriate button in the app. Then, a fairly noisy tone will be emitted from your Chiplo and you simply find it to locate your purse, wallet, keys, bag or whatever you’ve attached / slotted the Chipolo to.
So far, this is already very good, but it also works in reverse. If your phone has no signal and you’ve lost it, you can double press the button on the Chipolo to ring your phone. Again, you just follow the sound of your phone and you’ll easily find it.
In a moment I’ll be giving you a tour around this, but first, here’s the rather-more-glossy promotional video..
OK, so let’s imagine that you’ve lost your wallet / keys / purse and you can’t hear your Chipolo. The next step is to head to the map within the app and find the “last known location”. In here you’ll then need to travel back to the place on the map and you can hopefully find the thing.
If, however, you fail, you can become part of the Chipolo Community, and click “Mark as Lost”. When you do this, the Chipolo systems will anonymously inform all the other Chipolo users to be on the lookout in the area where you last had it. So, if you can’t find it, maybe someone else can.
The Chipolo can be shared and accessed on multiple devices, which means that others can help you find your stuff quicker. Not only that, but the Chiplo Card we have here will let you take a selfie photo when you press the button. Ideal for snapping those shots without needing a selfie stick.
Don’t forget, the Chipolo itself doesn’t have GPS in it or anything like that. It relies on the phone to do all the location tracking and that, let’s not lie, will have an impact on your phone battery life somewhat. However, recent alterations to the app have reduced this. Now, on the video above you may have noticed that the app didn’t initially know where the Chipolo was. I have found that, on a couple of occasions, it took a few seconds to sort-of “wake up” and get the Bluetooth connection again, but I’ve put this down to the polling etc, and it’s worked really well. You do have to ensure that your phone – especially if you’re using this on Android (it’s available for iOS too) doesn’t initiate any power management features that could turn Bluetooth off, otherwise you’re going to get duff info.
The Chipolo Card is small, perhaps only about two-thirds the size or a credit card, and slips inside your wallet easily. I was worried that the button on the front might suffer from accidental presses and I squashed it into my wallet, but I’ve had absolutely no issues.