The search(ing) is over.
At the beginning of this year we reviewed a handy little gadget that helps you to find that which is lost – the Chipolo. At the time we thought it was great, and have actually used it on our car keys ever since. However, we couldn't help thinking that this remarkable piece of portable technology could go even further. Coincidentally it was just then that we received an email from the Chipolo team in Slovenia informing us of a brand new and updated version. Extremely privileged to be one of the first tech sites to get our hands on one, we review the Chipolo 2.0.
That was basically all the original Chipolo and app could do – direct you toward your missing item as long as you were within the 60 metre Bluetooth range. Which was great (trust us – car keys know how to hide really well) but it always left us wanting more – more features and more functionality. Which is just what we've got in the updated version.
Still weighing in at about the size of a 50p coin, the new Chipolo comes in a choice of nine bright colours (which helps in the finding process we assume), an included keyring and also an extra replaceable battery. With the preinstalled battery lasting up to six months, this means you're set for the next year with just one purchase. One thing to note there: although we've only had the new Chipolo for a few days, the older version's battery lasted more like eight month before we had to swap it, so the life of it really will depend on how much you use it.
Setting up the new Chipolo is even easier and quicker than before. Create an account (no credit card info is needed, just your email address) then 'Add Chipolo'. Place the disk on your phone's screen until the Bluetooth finds it (ours took just one second) then give it a name. We called ours after what device we intended to clip it to – the Roku player remote. That bloody thing always goes missing.
And that's basically it... until you discover all the extra features within the new app. For a start you can use the device in reverse, using the Chipolo itself to find your phone. So long as this feature has already been activated on the phone, you can shake the Chipolo to make your phone ring, helping you to find it. You can also use it to lock the phone and even – via the Chipolo website – write a lock screen message that whoever finds the phone can read.
You can also use the Chipolo like a selfie remote. Pose before your phone, shake the Chipolo, and the camera's timer will start, giving you time to get your sexy pout perfected. Of course you could also take a selfie to show how damn happy you are to have found your keys, or your remote, or your laptop, or your children... whatever it is you've stuck a Chipolo to!
To test the new Chipolo we had one of our number hide the Roku remote somewhere in the house. Once concealed it was a quick case of opening the app, making sure both Bluetooth and Location Services were on, then waiting a second or two for the phone to find the Chipolo in question. It will give a reading of the device's distance, saying something along the lines of 'very near' or 'not far' while showing approximate distance on a dotted bar. Knowing roughly how far the Chipolo is before you ring it is very useful as it gives you an idea of how hard you have to listen out for it, or even that you should move somewhere closer to it.
The Chipolo's location will even show up on a map, and it seems that the app is fully integrated with Google Maps. However, as the Chipolo will be within a 60 metre range we found it was best just to to hit that call button. Suddenly, from the depths of the house, there came a faint ringing. It was faint only because the cheeky hider had stashed the remote in the damn attic, but even from two floors away we could hear it. The Chipolo will give a short sharp chirp, allowing you to get a bit closer before hitting the button again to get closer still. Our item was intentionally well hidden, but as you'd normally be using this to find keys and bags – something that won't have been tucked away in the attic on purpose – you should find it on the first ring.
We love the improvements made to Chipolo as now it feels like a more rounded (pun intended) and useful gadget. It's pretty too, and feels nice to both hold and to have it dangling away on what ever item you're most precious about. Well done guys.
€24 each (approx £18)