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

Chipolo has been making Bluetooth trackers for some time, but its latest tracking beacon benefits from association with Apple AirTag. Instead of the usual company-specific Bluetooth networks used by other beacons like Tile and even other Chipolo products, this one works with Apple. Find my network, which recruits the millions of iOS devices to help you locate your device.

So what makes the One Dot different from AirTags? The price, but hardly. The Chipolo One Spot costs $ 28, while Apple’s labels cost $ 29. The innocuous feature that sets the One Spot apart from AirTags is that it already has a hole, which means it can go straight to your key fob without a mandatory accessory purchase.

The One Spot doesn’t look like an AirTag at all. It doesn’t look as high-end as Apple’s shiny metallic tracking tag. Made of matte black plastic, the One Spot looks like a token that you insert to unlock a shopping cart. But I prefer it – it’s more subtle, unpretentious. I don’t want to signal that I’ll be able to follow something that I lose, or maybe get robbed.

Mat Smith / Engadget

The AirTag may appear a little too much visible, twinkling in the light with a screaming Apple logo. Chipolo’s still circular iteration could be mistaken for a simple keychain or token – something even Tile couldn’t quite claim. Tile’s square design is the de facto appearance of a tracking label. The One Spot, like the AirTag, has a user-replaceable battery that should last around a year, depending on whether you forget it.

The handling of the One Spot is identical to the AirTag experience, which is nice to see from a third-party device. Remove the protective label from the battery, tap the label, and use your iPhone’s Find My app (yes, it’s only iOS) to add the new item. It will appear on the screen and you are good to go. Once you’ve tagged it, it will show up in your Articles tab. From there, you can stream audio alerts from the One Spot, put it in Lost Mode, or see where it was last detected.

The One Spot sounds louder than any AirTag – although Apple’s recent update equalized that a bit. And while you don’t get the finer location tracking that the AirTag can do with its U1 chip, in my shallow testing in my building, the Chipolo tracker had a stronger Bluetooth signal. One Spot is an interesting proposition. When your main rival has the infrastructure to tap into, you benefit, but not all.

Chipolo One Spot

Mat Smith / Engadget

Is the One Spot better than Apple’s AirTag? The annoying answer is that it depends. Strangely enough, the price difference is so small that it doesn’t make any difference. The keychain hole ensures that the Chipolo version is a better tracker for your keys, but AirTags are more durable, able to withstand more water and dust based abuse.

If you’re leaning towards the One Spot, you might want to rush to Chipolo’s online store, as they’re currently taking orders for shipments in August. It seems a lot of people want to track their keys – and they didn’t want to involve a drill to do it.

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