Train of thought aside, I generally don’t lose things. Which is why I was initially reluctant to try out the new Chipolo card when presented the opportunity to review it. Billed as the world’s thinnest wallet finder — an undersell, because it’s actually more than just that — it’s a Bluetooth connected transmitter that you attach to an item such as a keychain or slip inside your wallet. Then if you ever lose that item, you can electronically locate it through the Bluetooth on your smartphone. With limitations.
It’s a thin white plastic card — 1.45” by 2.67” and just .08” thick — with a button on the front. Maybe half the size of a credit card, at most. I downloaded the Chipolo app to my Android phone, paired it with the device and then put the card in my wallet for a week. But the entire premise was kind of pointless, as I rarely lose track of the wallet. Regardless, as long as my phone’s bluetooth is on, it can keep track of the card. But only within 200 feet. So as long as I generally know where I last left my wallet — and I’m close to it — I can set off the built-in ringer on the card (yes it’s loud enough to hear from across the house) or see on the smartphone app where it’s located on the GPS. And if I am out of range, the app will show me where and exactly when it was last located.
One thing I tried was placing it in my car while shopping. When I got out of the store, I tried using the app to find the card. I was apparently not in that Bluetooth range. I suppose it would help someone find their parking spot if they’d forgotten where they left the car – as long as they’re within that Bluetooth 200-foot range. Otherwise, forget about it.
This card, however, also works in the other direction. That is, if I can’t find my phone, I can pull the card out of my wallet and double-push the button on it. The phone will start ringing via the app — as long as I had the app open. And get this: It does so even if the phone ringer is in silent mode. That’s all great, but the problem is that to take advantage of this feature, you would always need to keep the Chipolo app running on your phone. Many people prefer to close apps that are not in use.
Chipolo also has a community feature that helps you find lost items. Say you have the card in your wallet, but left it at a coffee shop. Or so you think. You report it to the community via the app or the company website, and then other Chipolo users can notify you if they find it.
I’ve tried another like product last year from a different manufacturer that was inferior. It was actually so bad that I declined to review it. The Chipolo works way better, but I really wish it would have a built-in GPS so that I wouldn’t need to use Bluetooth and its 200-foot limitation. But for its $35 price, it’s totally worthwhile if you tend to misplace items.