If you are someone who often misplaces your keys or other items, the Chipolo Plus could just save you a lot of trouble, but does it?
In the box
With the Chipolo you get the device itself and the documentations and that is pretty much it. But that is all you need to the Chipolo up and running. A nice addition would have been the inclusion of a keyring split ring to attach onto your keys if you don’t already have one. These are really inexpensive and it would have made it a more well rounded package. The lack of one is not a deal breaker, but it would have been nice.
Design and Build
The Chipolo is a small and compact circular disk which features a small hole to allow you to attach it onto a set of keys or other items. The hole is large enough to fit a good size split ring and also a clasp like what I have done.
The Plus model comes in a variety of different colours that includes White, Yellow, Red, Blue, Green and Black. So if the the Blue is not to your taste, then I’m sure one of the other options will be.
On the front there is some branding that is engraved into the face. This section also acts as a push button which I will cover in a later section of the review.
Round the back is the model number, CE mark, FCC and IC numbers. There is also 3 small holes that allow the Chipolo to ring, but again more on that further down in the review.
The build quality is okay, its all plastic and feels decent. The plastic is a little on the cheap feeling side but the finish hides marks and scuffs pretty well.
The Plus model also has an IPX5 water resistance standard, this means that it can survive a rain shower but it can’t be submerged into water.
Overall the design is clean, simple and its quite well built, especially the join and seal between the two halves.
Using the Chipolo daily has been a nice experience. The button I mentioned above is easy to press and offers a nice audible click when being pressed. The Chipolo is also very lightweight (10g approx) and not too bulky (37 x 5.9mm) so that it will easily fit into your pocket, purse, bag etc and not take up much room.
To get the Chipolo to work you will need to download the Chipolo app which is available for Android devices above 4.4 and iOS 9 and above. The app is simple and straight forward to use. The first stage is to setup the Chipolo with the app.
Step 1 – You are first greeted with a prompt to log in or sign up. Being a probable new used you’d opt of the sign up. Whats nice about this is that you can use your existing Facebook or Google accounts to log in. Alternatively you can make a different email or use another one if you so choose.
Step 2 – Is to connect your Chipolo to your device. You’ll have to enable a few permissions for the Chipolo to work correctly otherwise it won’t function as intended. The next part is to follow the on screen prompts to being the pairing process. This doesn’t take long at all. You then get the option to choose what you want to track, name your Chipolo and to begin the next step.
Step 3 – This is the final step as it shows you that you’re all connected, the list of Chipolos you have and the device that they are paired with. You also can swipe to access some more information as well locations, settings and the ability to buy a Chipolo straight from the app. The settings are pretty basic and essentially only consists of permissions to help the device work to its full potential.
Once the steps above have been done you’re free to use the Chipolo and start putting it to work. Speaking of I did have an initial blip during the first use. Essentially all I did is went downstairs away from it and it lost connection, I then brought the phone back upstairs and it still wouldn’t connect. Even placing my phone next to the Chipolo did nothing and it was still marked down as lost.
I tried double pressing to re-connect and it still wouldn’t. Eventually after a few minutes it did re-connect but still that isn’t that good. This however only happened once and didn’t happen again, but its something that could possibly happen in the future. You can see from the images below that after it disconnected it took 5 minutes to re-connect.
Using the Chipolo to track your item is easy. All you have to do is tap the Chipolo item you want to track and it brings up a screen (See image above) and from there you can access the map. Here you can see the last known location of the Chipolo. The map is reasonably accurate and it even gives you an approximate area and address to where it is. This isn’t 100% accurate as my testing revealed it to bring up a different address on the street where I was testing it. However if you tap the map it brings up Google Maps which uses more accurate means of locating your Chipolo. With Google Maps I found that the accuracy greatly improved and I could see the exact address where the Chipolo was. Its a shame that the stock tracking isn’t that impressive, but the Google integration does improve things.
Keep in mind that to track it when away from home you’ll need your data on and location to more accurately locate the Chipolo. So be sure that you have a decent data plan.
Round the house its great, if you misplace your keys you can ring the Chipolo and it will emit a loud 100dB tone to help you find it. This works vice versa with your phone too. If you’ve misplaced that you can use the Chipolo to ring your mobile even if its on silent. The range is impressive too, it has a working max distance of 60m which is 200ft. This means that once you’re in that range you can use your phone to ring the Chipolo. My testing revealed that this did work well, I can’t say if the 60m is accurate as I have no way to measure that far, but it did work from quite a distance away.
This is both impressive and not. The battery is stated to last up to a year and then after that you are left with a dead unit. I did try to access the inside to get to the battery but its very well sealed and breaking it would likely damage the Chipolo and ruin its IPX rating. On the plus side there is something called the “Renewal program”. This program gives you a discount price of up to 50% off a replacement Chipolo Plus. To use this you have to sign up and you should get a discount code for your new Chipolo. After the order is placed you then wait for the new one to arrive and replace the old ones in the app. You then have to send the old Chiplolo back to the company for recycling.
To be honest I don’t like this idea at all. I think they should have stuck with what they did with the Classic variant and make the battery interchangeable. What they are offering is a hassle and much more costly than simply buying a replacement button cell battery. They could still keep the IPX rating with clever design and give us the option to have the removable battery. But what they are offering is not ideal at all and will cost more in the long term.
If you think I’m being harsh consider that a new CR2025 battery costs £4.40 for four of them and each of those will give you up to 9 months use. Then look at the renewal program which will cost £11.50 every year and you can see that its considerably more expensive.
Another thing it impacts is your phones battery. For the Chipolo to work it requires your Bluetooth to be on at all times, even when you are nowhere near it. This is better with newer devices as Bluetooth is quite efficient but it still consumes a fair amount when its on all the time.
So does the Chipolo Plus save you a lot of trouble, well, yes. Round the house its great and apart from the initial hiccup its worked great since. I can place my keys down and can now really easily find them. Before, (you’ve probably been there too) where you put your keys down but the magically disappear, you can ring it and pin point its location. It works the other way round too, so if you lose your phone you can use the Chipolo to dial it and help you find it.
Using it out and about is great too, the ultimate test would be taking it abroad but that is something I could not test. My testing did show that with the Google Maps integration it worked very well at tracking my keys whilst I was out. Its just a shame the stock tracker couldn’t more accurately pin point its location.
Overall its a great product and for the price of £25 (Amazon) or £23 direct from Chipolo its good value and can save a lot of frustration if you’re constantly misplacing items. Is it the best, I couldn’t say, but its been pretty good and saved me a bit of time to boot.
Pick one up here via Amazon UK
Chipolo Plus GPS Tracker – Coral Red
You can also pick one up directly from Chipolo www.uk.chipolo.net/plus-variant