Bottom line: Chipolo CARD Spot is the ideal tracker for any Apple user's wallet. It benefits from Find My integration, a loud speaker, and a card-shaped design, though the lack of Precision Finding and a replaceable battery are considerable drawbacks when compared to AirTag.
Find My support
Slim, wallet-focused design
No U1 chip or Precision Finding
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When it comes to item trackers, Apple's AirTag has set a pretty high bar when it comes to the ability to actually find your lost property. AirTag does have its foibles though and its main strength is actually the Find My network it is built on top of that enables it to work so well.
That Find My network is something third-party item trackers can also tap into, however, which means that various products can fill niches that AirTag might not. One such niche is the wallet, somewhere the Chipolo CARD Spot slides into just fine.
Chipolo CARD Spot: Price and availability
Chipolo's CARD Spot was only recently announced, having been unveiled at CES 2022. The device has been available for pre-order for a little while directly at Chipolo and at Nomad with the first pre-orders shipping in February. It retails for $35.
That being said, if you haven't already pre-ordered, you might be waiting a couple of months to get one in your wallet with April shipping estimates now showing at Chipolo's site right now.
Chipolo CARD Spot: What's good
Though you can throw an AirTag into your wallet or replace your wallet whole hog for an AirTag wallet, these aren't ideal solutions for everyone.
The main reason to buy the Chipolo CARD Spot over an AirTag or other tracker is its eponymous card shape. Unlike most coin-sized trackers, the CARD Spot is designed to be essentially the same size as a regular credit card so that it can slip into an unused card slot. It's about twice as thick as a standard card, but it's still slim enough that you'd barely notice a difference over adding a regular card to your wallet.
Before using the CARD Spot, I had previously kept an AirTag in my wallet's coin pocket but, since I use a pretty minimal bi-fold wallet, it added a considerable bulge to the side. With the CARD Spot in a card slot, that's no longer a problem.
Being larger than a standard AirTag, the CARD Spot has room for a louder speaker. Chipolo rates it at 105dB compared to the roughly 65dB of AirTag, so it's a noticeable difference (though still less than Chipolo's ONE Spot).
When finding the CARD Spot, the ringing sound it makes also lasts for longer (until you manually stop it, in fact) than the AirTag giving you a longer amount of time to find it. Since the Chipolo CARD Spot relies on Bluetooth and audible pings to make its presence known, it's good that the speaker rings for longer.
Beyond the hardware, the other main benefit of using Chiplo's CARD Spot over other Bluetooth trackers on the market is its Find My compatibility. While more third-party Find My accessories are coming to market, you've only got a couple of options when it comes to item trackers right now.
Integrating with Find My means that the Chipolo CARD Spot can take advantage of the hundreds of millions of devices in the Find My network, making it much more likely that you'll be able to track a lost wallet down. It also means that the device has the same anti-stalking features as the AirTag or other first-party Apple accessories, like notifying a person's iPhone if a tracker that is not theirs is moving with them and making an audible sound. Apple has announced future AirTag privacy changes, though Chipolo confirmed to me that these updates are not yet applied to third-part accessories.
It's also very easy to set up the Chipolo CARD Spot, requiring only the Find My app and no manufacturer-specific app. Simply click the button on the card (semi-hidden beneath the subtle spot on the front) and add it as an "Other Item" within Find My. Once set up, you'll get "left behind" notifications like AirTag as well as the ability to set up Lost Mode so you'll be contactable if someone finds your wallet.
Chipolo CARD Spot: What's not good
Though the Chipolo CARD Spot is actually a tad more expensive than the AirTag, it lacks a key technology that sets AirTag apart: the U1 chip. Apple's ultra-wideband chip in the AirTag enables compatible iPhones to figure out the exact location of an AirTag using Precision Finding. Since that tech is not available in the CARD Spot, you'll get more of an approximate location and then need to rely on audible pinging to track it down exactly.
Also unlike the AirTag and Chipolo's own ONE Spot, the CARD Spot does not feature a replaceable battery. That's a significant drawback as this product is doomed to die at some point. Chipolo says it will get up to two years of usage, and you can send it back once it runs out of juice and get 50% off a replacement, but I personally would have traded a few more millimeters of thickness for a CR2032 coin slot.
Design-wise, the Chipolo CARD Spot is not as premium feeling as Apple's AirTag. There's no shiny white finish, stainless steel, or emoji engraving here; just a rather uninspiring plasticky black card. It's not the biggest deal in the world since it's going to live hidden away in your wallet, but a range of colors would have been a bonus.
Chipolo CARD Spot: Competition
There are a ton of Bluetooth item trackers available on the market so Chipolo has some stiff competition. Basically, any tag-style tracker could be used in a wallet, as could Apple's own AirTag, so those wanting to keep tabs on their cash and cards have plenty of options for doing so.
That being said, there is a sub-group of trackers aimed more squarely at the wallet like Chipolo's CARD Spot. The Tile Slim tracker is perhaps the most well-known alternative and offers a similar credit card-sized shape and thin profile. It doesn't work with Apple's Find My network and instead relies on Tile's own system, however.
On the Find My side, Rolling Square's AirCard looks to be some potential competition — and even has replaceable batteries — but it's yet to launch. There's also a cottage industry of card-shaped AirTag holders and AirTag wallets offering an alternative.
Chipolo CARD Spot: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a tracker for your wallet
- You prefer to use Apple's Find My network
- You find AirTag's speaker to be too quiet
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't have an iPhone
- You want to use Precision Finding
- You want a cheaper alternative to AirTag
If you're done with using an AirTag as a clunky tracking solution for your wallet, the Chipolo CARD Spot is a no-brainer buy. It's thin and light meaning it won't add noticeable bulk to your daily carry while still benefitting from the global Find My network.
Though it has a louder speaker and a shape more well-suited to a wallet, not having a U1 chip and Precision Finding means that it may be harder to find your lost wallet than if you had an AirTag in there, though.
Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.