Chipolo’s One Spot isn’t quite an AirTag, but at least it has a hole

Chipolo has been making Bluetooth trackers for a while, but its latest tracking tag benefits by association with Apple’s AirTag. Instead of the usual company-specific Bluetooth networks used by other tags like Tile even Chipolo’s other products, this one works with Apple’s Find My network, which recruits the literal millions of iOS devices out there to help locate your device.

So what makes the One Dot different to AirTags? The price, but only barely. The Chipolo One Spot is $28, while Apple’s tags cost $29. The innocuous feature that sets the One Spot apart from AirTags is that it already has a hole, meaning it can go straight on your keyring without a mandatory accessory purchase.

The One Spot doesn’t look remotely like an AirTag. It doesn’t look as premium as Apple’s shiny, metallic tracker tag. In matte black plastic, the One Spot looks like a token you’d insert to unlock a shopping cart. But I prefer it — it’s more subtle, unassuming. I don’t want to signpost that I’ll be able to track something I lose, or perhaps, get stolen. 

Mat Smith/ Engadget

The AirTag can appear a little too conspicuous, glinting in the light with an Apple logo screaming out. Chipolo’s iteration, still circular, could be mistaken for a simple key chain or token — something even Tile couldn’t really lay claim to. Tile’s squarish design is the de facto look for a tracker tag. The One Spot, like the AirTag, has a user-replaceable battery that should last roughly a year, dependent on how forgetful you are.

Getting started with the One Spot is identical to the AirTag experience, which is nice to see from a third-party device. Pull the battery protecting tag out, press the tag use your iPhone’s Find My app (yes, it’s iOS only) to add the new item. It’ll pop up on screen you’re good to go. Once you’ve labeled it, it’ll show up in your Items tab. From there, you can play audible alerts from the One Spot, put it into Lost Mode or see where it was last detected.

The One Spot rings out louder than any AirTag — although Apple’s recent update has evened this out a little. And while you won’t get the finer-grain location tracking that the AirTag can do with its U1 chip, in my cursory testing in my apartment block, the Chipolo tracker had a stronger Bluetooth signal. One Spot is an interesting proposition. When your chief rival owns the infrastructure you’re tapping into, you’ll get the benefits, but not all of them.

Chipolo One Spot

Mat Smith/ Engadget

Is the One Spot better than Apple’s AirTag? The boring answer is that it depends. Oddly, the price difference is so small as to make no difference. The keyring hole ensures that Chipolo’s version is a better tracker for your keys, but AirTags are hardier, able to take more water- dust-based abuse.

If you’re leaning towards the One Spot, you might want to hurry to Chipolo’s online store, as it’s currently taking orders for shipments in August. It looks like many people want to track their keys — they didn’t want to involve a drill to do it.

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