Bottom line: Chipolo ONE Spot has a long Bluetooth range, a louder speaker, a more rugged design with a built-in keyhole, uses a replaceable battery, and works with Find My. However, it lacks the NFC chip and U1 ultra-wideband for Precision Finding.
Louder speaker with longer Bluetooth range
Slightly cheaper than AirTag
Durable plastic shell with replaceable battery
Uses the Find My network
No NFC chip
No U1 ultra-wideband
Only one color
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While item trackers have been around for a few years now, it seems to have really taken off now that Apple has AirTag out in the wild. It leverages the entire Find My network to help users track down their lost and misplaced items. It definitely has an advantage over competitors like Tile and Chipolo.
However, Chipolo has released the ONE Spot, which utilizes Apple's Find My network rather than the traditional Chipolo community. This is currently the only other Bluetooth tracker that leverages the Find My network with hundreds of millions of Apple devices. So how does the Chipolo ONE Spot compare with Apple's own AirTag? Let's dive in.
Chipolo ONE Spot: Price and availability
The Chipolo ONE Spot is currently only available to purchase directly from Chipolo's website as a pre-order. The first batch of units will ship sometime in June, and if you place a pre-order now, your ONE Spot will ship sometime in August 2021. The Chipolo ONE Spot only comes in the "Almost Black" color (it's just black). You can purchase one Chipolo ONE Spot for $28 or get a four-pack for $90.
Chipolo ONE Spot: No accessories needed and comes with a louder ring
Design-wise, the Chipolo ONE Spot looks exactly like the Chipolo ONE. It's a round, plastic disc, and it even comes with a keyhole so you can attach it to your keychain or bag. The Chipolo logo is stamped right in the front, so it's hard to miss. Since it's made with plastic, it's fairly lightweight, similar to the Tile Mate. It also has an IPX5 standard rating, so it is splash-proof. In terms of size, it's slightly larger than an AirTag, but remember — you get a hole, so no accessories are needed!
The Chipolo ONE Spot, unlike the other Chipolo trackers, is the first third-party tracker that supports Apple's Find My network. This means that if you lose your item with a Chipolo ONE Spot, you're able to leverage a network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices (iPhones, iPads, and Macs) to locate it. This also means you don't even need the separate Chipolo app because you can set it up and track it directly from the Find My app on your best iPhone.
Setting up the Chipolo ONE Spot is less elegant than setting up an AirTag, but it's still super easy. Just open the Find My app, go to the Items tab, and tap "Add New Item." You'll just pick "Other Supported Item" and then push the center of the Chipolo ONE Spot (it'll beep), and then tap "Connect." Give it a name and assign an emoji to it, and you're good to go. The Chipolo ONE Spot shows up in your Items tab, along with the rest of your AirTags and other supported items. You can play audible alerts from the ONE Spot to locate your item, put it into Lost Mode, and even see the last known location right from the Find My app. You can also rename the Chipolo ONE Spot at any time from Find My and remove it entirely if need be.
During my testing, I found the audible alert on the Chipolo ONE Spot to be much louder than pinging one of my AirTags. I don't have a tool to measure the exact decibels of each, but from other reports, the Chipolo ONE Spot can reach up to around 120dB, while the AirTag is less than 90dB. The Chipolo ONE Spot can also continuously ring until you turn it off, while the AirTag will ping for less than 10 seconds before it stops. Since the Chipolo ONE solely relies on Bluetooth and audible pinging, it makes it much easier to find if you constantly misplace your keys or other items around the house.
Like the AirTag and other similar Tile trackers, the Chipolo ONE Spot battery is replaceable, and it uses a standard CR2032 coin battery. There is a small slot opening in the middle of the edges, and you'd just need to pry it open to pop it off and replace the battery.
If you put the Chipolo ONE Spot into Lost Mode, you'll get a notification once another Apple device locates it. You can also leave a phone number or email so that someone can contact you if they find the tracker and use an iPhone. While the ONE Spot is in Lost Mode, it activates Pairing Lock — since it is linked to your Apple ID, no one else can pair to it.
While I could not test the features out myself, I confirmed with Chipolo that the ONE Spot has the same anti-stalking security features as an AirTag. So if there is an unknown Chipolo ONE Spot that is separated from its owner traveling with you, you'll get an alert on your iPhone informing you of such. The reason that the ONE Spot is able to support these features is because the anti-stalking safety features are part of the Find My app itself, not just with AirTags or the ONE Spot. With this in mind, any future third-party tracker that also uses the Find My network should also have those safety features as well.
Chipolo ONE Spot: There's no NFC or U1 chip
For the most part, the Chipolo ONE Spot is like a slightly cheaper AirTag (it undercuts Apple's tracker by $1 for one or $9 for four). However, it is also missing some of the key components of an AirTag, which would explain the price difference.
The Chipolo ONE Spot solely utilizes Bluetooth, so it does not have the U1 ultra-wideband chip in the AirTag. This means the ONE Spot does not have the Precision Finding feature that provides exact distance and visual and audio guidance towards your tracker. However, keep in mind that the Precision Finding feature on AirTag only works with iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 devices. If you don't have a compatible phone, you wouldn't have been able to use that functionality anyways.
The other big difference is that the Chipolo ONE Spot does not have an NFC chip like AirTag. So if someone finds your ONE Spot (in Lost Mode), if they use an Android device or even an iPhone, they won't be able to simply tap it to learn how to reach you to return the item. If they have an iPhone, the finder will need to manually go into the Find My app and choose the "Identify Found Item" to learn how to reach you.
It's also not a big deal, but considering that the ONE Spot looks very much like the other Chipolo ONE trackers, it's a little disappointing that it only comes in a single "almost black" color. Hopefully, more colors are added in the future.
And since the Chipolo ONE Spot uses Find My, rather than Chipolo's own network, you won't get the "leave behind" alerts like Chipolo's other trackers. Find My does not have this feature, so maybe Apple can add it later down the line.
Chipolo ONE Spot: Competition
The biggest competitor for the Chipolo ONE Spot is the AirTag, of course. The AirTag costs $29 versus $28, but you get the NFC chip and U1 ultra-wideband that allows for the Precision Finding feature with iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. However, Apple did not include a built-in keyhole on the AirTag, so you will need to purchase separate AirTag accessories if you want to hang an AirTag from your keys or bag zippers, which means spending more money.
Chipolo ONE Spot: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want an item tracker with a keyhole
- You prefer using Apple's Find My network
- You need a louder audible ring
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want Precision Finding
- You want more colors besides black
- You want Android users to be able to contact you if they find your tracker
The Chipolo ONE Spot is a good alternative to the AirTag in a few ways. Obviously, it comes with an integrated keyhole, so you don't have to go purchase a separate accessory just to hang it off of your keys or bag, which would be the most common use case. It also has a louder audible alert that also rings continuously until you turn it off, making it easier to find misplaced items. And since it uses the Find My network, it can be easier to locate lost items than having to rely on other Chipolo users.
However, while the Chipolo ONE Spot undercuts Apple's AirTag slightly, it misses those extra features like the NFC and U1 ultra-wideband chips. So you won't be able to use Precision Finding with newer iPhone models, and Android users who find your ONE Spot won't be able to tap their device to figure out how to contact you. And since the ONE Spot uses the Find My network, you won't be able to get the "Leave Behind" alerts that come free with other Chipolo trackers, as this is not yet a feature in Find My.
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
You note as a reason not to buy 'You want more colors besides black.' For the Airtag though it would be 'You want more colors besides white.' If the Chipolo One continues to only be in black, as opposed to their regular colorful line, I bet there will be third part covers, or at least dBrand skins.
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