15 January 2015

REVIEW: Chipolo

Chip off the old block.

Keys, tablet, wallet; these are things that, when you’re in a hurry, seem to want to hide themselves about your home. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to open an app on your phone, tap a button, and then listen out for a ringing sound that gives up the location of your precious item. Now that is possible, and it’s all thanks to a tiny little gadget called Chipolo.

Chipolo is essentially a very small, coin-sized gadget with Bluetooth connectivity and an on-board battery. Designed to be clipped, stuck and generally secreted about your most important stuff (or pets, we suppose) it allows you to immediately find your lost things with the free supporting app, as long as the item is within the Chipolo’s 60 metre range.

Coming in nine colours, the Chipolo is wonderfully light and easy to use. Set up is as simple as downloading the app (available for iOS, Android AND Windows Phone 8.1 – yes, it works on Windows Phone!) dropping the Chipolo on to the screen to connect with your phone, and then naming it with whatever thing you will be attaching it too. This means that you can have multiple Chipolos attached to multiple important things, and Chipolo wants to help you to do this by offering discounts for bulk orders on their website.

Running off a slim-line battery, you can expect to get six months of use from the Chipolo before a change is required. Fortunately you also get a replacement battery included in the box, so each Chipolo is set for a whole year. Changing the battery is a simple case of prising the smooth plastic casing open, so no need for that Mechanical Engineering manual. You also get a little key chain hoop included, to make it even easier to attach to your most lost possessions, your keys.

That’s just what we did with the car keys, an item bound to suddenly disappear just as you need to leave the house. On the key chain the Chipolo is unassuming and subtle (despite ours being bright orange) and once it is on and synced to your Chipolo app, you really do forget it is there. The 60 metre search range is perfect for most homes (unless you are royalty and live in an expansive palace) and once summoned the Chipolo responds in seconds with an audible (but too loud) chirp.

As well as being located by the sound it emits, Chipolo can also be found by using your phone’s location service. A map will spring to life inside the app, pinpointing the Chipolo in question’s exact position. This is very handy if you’ve lost your item in a noisy environment, such as out in public, or if it is so completely buried within a bag or under clothing that you wouldn’t be able to hear that cheeky chirp. Either way, we found that the location finder worked fairly well, with it usually displaying the Chipolo’s position to within about five metres – enough to then hear the noise being emitted.

We really love Chipolo and have, even in the brief time it has been with us, used it several times and found it extremely useful. Basically we’ve got that panicked five minutes of car key searching time back each morning. Thanks for that.

£27 each

© The Test Pit

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