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Chipolo CARD Hands-on Review: A Thin, Powerful, Unlosable Tracker

The Chipolo CARD is a Bluetooth wallet tracker that teams up with the GPS capability of your smartphone. Now you can find your wallet in your house or anywhere in the world.

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How many times have you misplaced your wallet this week? Be honest, now. For me, it’s been 3–4 times already. And I’ll bet you’re not far behind. 

For the past 6 months, I’ve been using the Chipolo CARD (2020) to find my wallet in record time. In this post, I will break down the features that make this wallet tracker worth having.

Compact and thin enough to put anywhere

At just 1.5 x 2.7 inches, the Chipolo CARD is 40% smaller than a credit card. It’s rectangular, roughly twice as long as it is wide, so it will fit into a card slot in any wallet or card holder.

I keep one inside the non-RFID-protected pocket of my Bellroy Micro Sleeve card holder and another inside a tiny slot in my camera bag. Sometimes I’ll tuck one of them into a shallow pocket in the briefcase that holds my laptop.

Bellroy Micro Sleeve card holder wallet
It tucks handily into my Bellroy Micro Sleeve card holder.

It’s remarkably thin, slightly thicker than 2 credit cards stacked together. The diminutive all-around size makes it easy to stash in any personal belongings that have a tendency to walk away. It’s not really designed as a key finder because it doesn’t have a hole to attach to a key ring. For that, you can try the Chipolo One

Bluetooth range of 200 feet

The Chipolo CARD is a Bluetooth tracker. With the Chipolo app installed on your smartphone, your phone and tracker communicate over a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth has a range of 200 feet (60 meters), but that’s a best-case scenario when there is a direct line of sight between your tracker and phone.

After using my Chipolo tracker regularly for about 6 months, I found that I can reliably ring it with my phone from anywhere in my house. No matter what room I’m in or how far I am separated from it, my phone and tracker still maintain a solid connection.  

Chipolo ring to find screen
Tap RING TO FIND and your tracker will play one of the 6 different ringtones that you’ve chosen in the Chipolo app.

In fact, the Chipolo CARD will even ring inside my car in my garage even when I ring it from the opposite end of my house. That means the signal has to travel about 75 feet, turn 3 or 4 corners and penetrate several walls and doors to connect. The Bluetooth range is amazing.

Plenty of volume

The Chipolo CARD’s volume isn’t loud enough to wake the neighbors, but the manufacturer claims it reaches 95dB. That’s equivalent to a subway train heard from 200 feet away.

Does the Chipolo sound like a southbound train? Well, no, but it’s loud enough to hear under a magazine on the coffee table or from the pocket of a winter jacket hanging in the hallway closet. The ringtones are high-pitched and electronic, designed to cut through the lower frequencies of ambient everyday sounds.

If you don’t like the default tone, you can choose from 5 others, including Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls. Pick the one that will best lead your ears to your tracker. 

You can also turn the tables and find your phone with the Chipolo CARD by double-pressing the button on the tracker.

Ring your phone by double-clicking the button on the Chipolo CARD tracker. Or put the tracker in Selfie mode from the Chipolo app and use the same button to take a remote selfie or regular photo with your phone.

If you’re like me, you’ll spend as much time ringing your phone from your tracker as your tracker from your phone. When you find your phone, double click the tracker to silence it or tap “Stop Ringing” from the Chipolo app on your phone.  

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One year of battery life

The battery inside the Chipolo CARD is not replaceable, but it is rated to last one year. Of course, the battery life depends on how often you use it. You might even squeeze more than a year out of it if you rarely ring your wallet (or your phone). 

You’ll receive a warning on the Chipolo app when your battery is nearing its drop dead date. This gives you time to order another, which Chipolo will graciously sell to you for half price. After all, they want to keep you as a customer.

It would be cool if they offered the Chipolo CARD with a replaceable battery, but unfortunately, no off-the-shelf battery is thin enough to fit inside. (This tracker is really thin.)

Chipolo does have a key tracker with replaceable batteries. You can check it out here. 

Worldwide Chipolo network

You control everything that happens between your phone and the tracker through the Chipolo app. The app not only allows you to ring your tracker from your phone (or vice versa), it also ties into the worldwide Chipolo network

Even though the Chipolo tracker has Bluetooth capability, it does not have GPS. However, your phone has worldwide GPS capability. The Chipolo app integrates Bluetooth and GPS to help you find your tracker anywhere on earth. It all works because of something called Community Find.

RELATED: These wallets have built-in tracking ability.

When you open the Chipolo app on our phone and tap the Chipolo CARD, you will see a map on your phone that shows the last known location of your tracker. If you’re within Bluetooth range (200 feet or less), it should show your tracker near the same location as you. 

If your tracker is out of range (uh-oh, did you forget it?), the app will give you the option to MARK AS LOST. When you do this, the app automatically activates Community Find.

Chipolo mark as lost screen in phone
If your phone and tracker are out of Bluetooth range, you’ll see this screen in the Chipolo app. When you tap MARK AS LOST, you’ll activate Community Find. Every phone in the world that has the Chipolo app installed will start anonymously searching for your tracker.

Every phone on the planet that has the Chipolo app installed will immediately start searching for your phone. Chipolo has sold 2 million trackers as of the end of 2019, so that’s a lot of phones to help in the hunt. This happens anonymously without any phone owner knowing that it’s happening. 

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If a smartphone somewhere at your local coffee shop or in downtown Guadalajara comes within Bluetooth range of your lost Chipolo tracker, it will send a message through the Chipolo network. You’ll receive a notification and the map on your phone will show the exact location of the lost tracker. Now, it’s up to you to go rescue it. 

The Chipolo app is so powerful that other companies use it to power their tracking devices, too. Check out the Ekster Solar-powered tracker and the Orbitkey Chipolo tracker.

Some cool extra features

1. Out of Range Alert

If you walk too far away from your tracker, you’ll get an alert notification on your phone that says something like,

“Hey knucklehead, you walked away from your tracker again.”

Out of range alert screen in phone


When you get this message, it means that you have put more than 200 feet between your phone and your Chipolo tracker. That’s when the Out of Range feature kicks in to let you know you’ve left your tracker behind.

In my experience, this feature has more of a delay in letting me know than I would like. Sometimes I can be halfway down my street before the app tells me that I have forgotten my tracker. Chipolo probably do this so that there aren’t too many false positives.

Chipolo ONE key finder

Out of Range is an optional feature, so you can turn it on or off depending on how well it works for you.

2. Selfie mode

Put your Chipolo CARD in Selfie mode in the Chipolo app and use your tracker to take a selfie or a regular photo with the front or back camera of your phone. Just double click the button on your tracker when you’re ready to shoot.

This feature works flawlessly and I use it all the time. There’s nothing like having a reliable wireless shutter release for your phone.

3. Voice activation

The Chipolo app is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. There is a quick setup process, but after that, you can use voice commands to find your tracker. I set this up likety-split with my Amazon Alexa. It’s a real lifesaver when you misplace both your tracker and your phone.

Chipolo ONE

Features:

  • Ring your Chipolo or find your phone
  • Voice activation
  • Out of Range alerts
  • Community Search
  • Selfie mode
  • Water-resistant

The Chipolo One is a round colorful tracker that’s designed to keep track of backpacks, keys, cats, suitcases, and just about anything else. One of the best features is its replaceable battery that will last up to two years.

At 0.25 inches thick and about the diameter of a golf ball, it’s way bulkier than the Chipolo CARD. That’s not saying that it’s heavy, it’s just not particularly thin. It’s designed to be more utilitarian with a handy hole that you can attach a key ring or just about any object you don’t want to lose.

Another good thing about the Chipolo One is that it shares all of the same “finder features” as the Chipolo CARD. Plus, it’s LOUDER with a ringtone that shouts at you with an impressive 120dB of volume.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bluetooth tracker?

 

A Bluetooth tracker can track anything (such as a wallet) you don’t want to lose. It communicates with a smartphone with an app over a Bluetooth connection. Because smartphones have GPS capability, the phone shows the current location of the tracked item on a map. If not connected, the map will show the last known location.

 

What is a GPS tracker?

 

A GPS tracker provides real-time location data without the need for a GPS-enabled smartphone. It is larger than a Bluetooth tracker, consumes more power, and generally requires a monthly subscription fee. For these reasons,  GPS trackers are rarely used in smart wallets.

 

What is a tracking card?

 

Tracking networks such as ChipoloTile, and Trackr all manufacture a thin, credit card size tracking card designed to fit into a wallet. The tracking card uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect with a smartphone using the tracking network’s app. It utilizes the GPS capability of the phone to track the wallet’s location.

 

 

LEARN MORE: There are other wallet trackers out there that are worth a look. I reviewed 7 of them here.

Kim is an expert in innovative wallets and MagSafe accessories. He has reviewed close to 100 different wallets and has over 500,000 video views on his Wallet Surfer YouTube channel. If you want to send Kim a quick message, then visit his contact page.

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