My quest to find out the best lost item Bluetooth tracker began with writing the first comparison of TrackR Vs Tile Mate Vs Chipolo Classic Vs Cube make of BT key finders. I decided to review each tracker separately and procured the first Chipolo Plus Bluetooth tracker.
As of now I am using one Chipolo tracker with my Android phone and the other with IPhone 6, after functional evaluation, both of them will be put-on to End-Of-Life test, which includes Scratch test, Water splash tests, Vibration durability test, Repeated Floor drop test, Repeated Sofa/Bed drop test, Remaining battery life etc. which shall be conducted by end April 2017 [I shall update this post with results]
First I shall begin with comparison of Chipolo Plus and Chipolo Classic
|Tracker||Chipolo Classic||Chipolo Plus|
|Best Buy Price||Best Buy||Best Buy|
|Color||Black, White||7 Vibrant colors|
|Water resistant||No||Yes, IP5 rating
|Sound level||92 dB||100 dB|
|Tracker range||200 feet (60 meter) in clear line of eye-sight|
|Battery||6-months lasting Replaceable Battery||1-year lasting battery|
|[Extra 1 supplied free]||[Renewal program, to recycle & upgrade with 50% discount]|
|Coin thickness||5 mm||5.9 mm|
|Phone finder||Yes, Press the tracker button twice to ring your phone even in silent mode|
|Crowd GPS||Yes, Community GPS search available, however the community is not as big as Tile|
|Warranty||1 Year (with 30 days money back guarantee)|
Functional tests of Chipolo Plus [Conducted on two numbers]
We have selected two trackers, one tested onto Android phone and the other on iPhone for functions.
- Look & Feel [Great 👍👍👍]
With super fine texture and vibrant colors Chipolo plus has got premium looks. The company name is engraved on one side of button in glossy finish.
- Bluetooth Pairing [Easy 👍👍👍]
Its fairly quick & simple to pair the tracker with phone.
One more important and useful thing is that I can connect 9 chipolos at a time to my android or ios device, pretty useful to paste my BT tracker to DSLR, Laptop, Wallet, Purse, Cat & Dog too.
Tip : When you install the App for the first time, just reload the App in memory (by exiting once) before pairing, this will avoid pairing errors.
- Working Range [Good 👍👍👍]
It has decent Bluetooth range, as specified it works upto 200 feet as claimed by the company. However inside the office the range reduced to 60~100 feet mainly because of the furniture, walls & human movements.
- Ringer Loudness [Needs further Tone Tuning ☝☝☝]
Although the company boasts 100 dB sound pressure of the tracker, practically it is difficult to hear inside office or open garden space. It becomes even more difficult to listen ringer when stuffed inside the Wallet, Purse, Laptop bag, which means it is must that you attach it to bag from outside.
During test use, while it was left inside my jeans pocket, buried deeply inside the laundry cloths I spent 10 minutes inside house itself finding the tracker ! the sound felt very weak. [Based on my R&D experience, There are surely ways to address this issue which I will spell out at the end of test/post]
One more thing is that the ringtones are not changeable 🙁 which means I need to live with typical standard ringtone of tracker button.
- Finding my phone [Best 👍👍👍]
With double click of tracker I could easily find my phone, this feature worked great, everyday rather loosing my car keys, I tend to misplace mobile many times 😝😝😝
I also found that once mobile starts ringing (and I finds it) I can mute it by pressing the tracker button thrice.
- Selfie Remote [Wow 👍👍👍]
I loved this feature, fully functional and useful. I would love to use the selfie remote for normal rear camera too which is not possible as on now. Anyway good add-on-function indeed.
- Battery level indication [Needs further Tuning / Improvement ☝☝☝]
Remember Chipolo Plus has non-replaceable battery which shall last till one year, means if you are using the tracker at end-of-battery-life and Murphy’s law works ! Surely you will loose keys precisely when battery becomes Dead 🙁 So it is most important that Chipolo should add tracker battery level.
- Separation Alert [Good 👍👍👍]
Fantastic function ! I used it multiple times during my recent visit to the manufacturing plant.
Most of the time I need to carry my laptop on the shop-floor, many times in past I have spent my time in searching my laptop if left somewhere. The separation alert works fantastic, reminding that I am 60~100 feet away from the laptop and my mobile ringer is loud enough to remind me about the laptop bag 🙂 So now I need not keep an eye over my laptop bag anymore 🙂
Tracker Temperature indicator 😰
Incidentally in my case the temperature indication is not showing, I will be contacting the support team and posting update after resolution.
Update 20 March 2017 : Initially I thought it is firmware update issue for my tracker, later when I talked to Chipolo team, they confirmed that the temperature indication feature is removed to save on battery life [Change effective from summer 2016]
- Device Compatibility [Good 👍👍👍]
As said I am testing it on Android and iOs only, since Chipolo has already clarified that their tracker does not support to Windows & Blackberry devices, but those OS mobiles are not present in large numbers in market so no worries.
- Named location and Silent zones [Good 👍👍👍]
One more important feature of this tracker, which is extremely helpful for me to set alerts only on locations where I want the tracker to alert me. But as on now I need it both at office and home, so at least in testing phase I have turned off this feature.
My views over Chipolo Classic Versus Chipolo Plus keyfinders
- Chipolo Classic has cheap replaceable battery, which reduces drastically over year renewal costs.
VARTA pack of 10 you get only for $14, means per year you need to spend only $3 max instead of replacing whole key finder !! [indicative prices at the time of writing this post, plz check online prices by clicking the link]
- Chipolo Plus rather have 1 year lasting non-replaceable battery like Tile, for only advantage of IP5 rated water resistance you need to pay $13 extra per year for replacement, and most important is replacement time too ! Honestly I didn’t like this feature from Chipolo or Tile ! Rather I would like to plastic machine wrapping the Chipolo Classic to attain some better level of water resistance. [It will take some time, but I would post some photos of how the plastic wrapping can be done]
Further Improvement suggestions to Chipolo team
- Separation alert distance setting
It will be good idea to add an option to set separation alert distance. Sometimes the large distance creates an issue and I want to narrow down the separation alert to say only 50 feet !
- Speaker blocking if lying on single side
While the tracker button lies with speaker down, the ringer loudness reduces to some extent. Adding duel speakers or duel openings on both sides of tracker would address this issue to some extent. Or alternatively adding speaker openings on the sides of tracker would help.
One more option can be to add convex shape to the tracker speaker side, which will ensure that the speaker remains open and loud even lying on speaker side.
- Finding in dark
You must have seen many remote control buttons are made to glow in the dark, I suggest to use pigmented plastic giving glowing like radium and fluorescent color
One more option can be adding an LED blinker, of-course one has to take care of the battery energy balance sheet to last it for at least 6 months to an year. To do so, you may think of having BT signal at typical intervals rather than keeping it on all the time like we do as packet data transfer & switching.
Adding reflective tape does not seems to be very good idea, but at least it would help to some extent.
- Magnetic Charging
Why not to have magnetic charging that many earbuds provide ? The technology needs to be challenged, this will allow to make the tracker more loud and clear than it is today. Any further help needed to develop it further we are here to help you out. One of our lead was Electronics head, developed many gadgets over years and now is CEO of one of the industry.
- Low battery warning
It is must to have low battery warning, for both Classic & Plus models, as said earlier in my case mostly Murphy’s law works, losing things precisely at time when tracker battery is dead !!
- Changeable ringtones
As the ringtone is as important as the dB level, so as the selected frequency can stand out of the crowd, specially in busy garden or on shop-floor. In fact as the standard ringtone dampens down when kept inside the purse or wallet or laptop bag.
Tests planned on Chipolo Plus and further update
First thing to check will be the basic intended function of tracking the keys, needs validation with Android & iPhone.
Second task is to check if put on to durability test, the tracker still functions as intended. Imagine situation where the key falls on ground and tracker stops functioning due to soldering of inside electronics given away ! or the key falls on a drizzling road, will is sustain to IP5 ratings ? All such things must be tested so that when really required tracker functioning shall happen.
There can & will be conditions in which the key tracker is put on to abuse, like the key dropped on floor and someone simply steps onto it !! or in drizzling the tracker gets submerged to water for few minutes ! can you listen to tracker buzzer during that time ? So abuse test also needs to be done to make sure that it functions in abuse also, if not at least you should be aware of the risks involved in tracker use.
- Scratch test, anyway some part of the scratch test shall happen during one month of usuage, however we will check scratch resistance with separate test.
- Water splash tests
- Vibration durability test
- Repeated Floor drop test
- Repeated Sofa/Bed drop test
- Remaining battery life, this shall be updated on the same blog-post over time span.
- Repeated button operation test
|Tracker||Chipolo Classic||Chipolo Plus|
|Best Buy Price||Best Buy||Best Buy|
Disclaimer : HowzBuy.com has received two Chipolo Plus Bluetooth key trackers as FREE evaluation copy. Our evaluation will be to the best of our engineering knowledge. Complete durability testing is planned and the review shall be updated time to time by us.