One of the reasons I’ve yet to leap head first into the AirTag world is the design of the bloody things. Obviously, as gorgeous as the little white-and-silver discs are, they’re hardly practical unless you’re splashing out on a fancy key fob. The dodgier corners of Amazon, meanwhile, are full of awkward AirTag wallets, with an awkward bulge on one side. So designed to hold the pill shaped AirTag close to your credit cards and only your credit cards, since tech bros never, ever need to carry around loose change.
It’s also the reason that I was excited to try Chipolo’s Card Spot, which offers the benefits of an AirTag in a much more sensible package. Announced back at CES, it’s Chipolo’s second device that can pair with Apple’s Find My Network. That means it will give you the same reach, pinging every iPhone in the vicinity with its location, without the quirkiness of Apple’s design. It’s as if the team at Apple decided to just design something for normal people to use normally for once.
Measuring the thickness of about two credit cards stacked on top of one another, and only a little shorter than one, it’s not going to make your wallet bulge too much when inserted. The speaker is pretty loud, too, although I don’t have a meter to hand to check if it hit the promised 105dB. The tune is pretty good, which was a surprise, given that normally shrill beeps are the order of the day for device-finders.
To say this thing is easy to set up is almost a comical understatement, it took me longer to get it out of the box than to pair it. You just have to open up Find My on your iOS device, add a new item, and press the dimple on the Card Spot. The longest job was choosing the emoji I wanted to use to denote my wallet on the app’s map screen. (I went for the back of a gold credit card, not because I’m gauche but because it seemed silly, as a Brit, to use a stack of dollar bills.)
Much like the OneSpot that preceded it, Chipolo gets some, but not all, of the perks that come with hitching its wagon to Apple’s tractor. There’s no U1 chip for precise location finding and you can’t use it independently of the (Apple-exclusive) Find My network. Android users and folks looking for more local tracking will need to pick one of Chipolo’s standard finders instead.
Chipolo says that the battery inside the Card Spot will last for two years, after which point it stops working entirely. But, buyers can get a replacement device for 50 percent off, and can send in the old, non-functional unit with a pre-paid envelope. There’s even a little card in the packaging which reminds you to register, ensuring you’ll get a reminder to swap when your device is ready to expire.
Fundamentally, the Chipolo Card Spot feels very much like the sort of no-brainer gadget that solves more problems than it causes. And while $35 makes it a little pricier than your standard AirTag, for twice as much battery life and a sensible form factor, I’m not nitpicking.