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Chipolo One review: An impressively effective Bluetooth tracker

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$19.99 from
£22.00 from
Price when reviewed : £21
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The Chipolo One is a great little device but the competition is tough


  • Light and loud
  • Cheap and no subscription
  • Selfie remote function is a nice touch


  • Install base isn’t as big as Tile’s

Bluetooth trackers are like insurance policies: you might be throwing your money away on something you never need. But if you do end up needing one, you’ll be extremely glad it’s there.

The Chipolo One is aimed squarely at protecting the thing we lose more than anything else: our keys. It’s a small, circular plastic disk with a hole for a keyring. When you lose sight of your keys, open up the Chipolo app and – if your keys are within 200 feet – the plastic disc will start singing a midi tune until you find them.

If the keys aren’t in range, you can mark your Chipolo as lost. At that point, anybody with the Chipolo app will start silently looking for your lost item. If someone passes it, you get an anonymous notification with the location it was last seen so you can take up the hunt in person.

Chipolo One: Price and competition

That, you might be thinking, sounds an awful lot like Tile. And, yes, they basically offer the same features. The difference is in the pricing, form factors and popularity.

The Chipolo One is a keyring that costs £21. That means its nearest rivals from the 2019 Tile family are the £20 Tile Mate and £30 Tile Pro. The difference between Mate and Pro? Range (200ft vs 400ft) and the loudness of the speaker. The Chipolo One’s range, for reference, is 200ft.

So it’s a dead heat between the Chipolo One and Tile Mate? Not quite, because while both will warn you when you’re about to go somewhere without your keys only with the Chipolo is this feature available without paying extra; with Tile you have to pay £30 per year for the privilege although, to be entirely fair, this does come with other benefits.

Chipolo One: What you need to know

So advantage Chipolo? Not so fast. While it may work out cheaper if that’s a feature that appeals, size of community is more important because it increases the chances of someone wandering past your lost keys and giving you the location.

Chipolo says there are around five million users out there, while Tile wouldn’t give an answer when I reached out, only saying that it’s sold over 30 million units, which obviously isn’t the same thing as selling to 30 million people.

Still, an inexact test suggests a clear gulf: the Google Play Store reports the Tile app has been downloaded over a million times, while Chipolo is listed at 100,000+. That’s just one app store of course, and the opaque way Google shows download numbers means the Tile number could be anything between 1,000,001 and 10,000,000 but, in the absence of firm data, we go with what we have.

The Chipolo One’s design is quite a bit more basic than the Tile Mate. It’s a round plastic disc with the word “Chipolo” faintly embossed on it. It feels a little cheap in the hand but it is extremely light, which I guess is the main thing in a tracking keyring: seen and not heard, until you need to trigger its tiny speaker, anyway. As well as the black shade our unit came in, you can get trackers in a number of bold colours: blue, red, white, green or yellow.

It’s powered by a CR2032 coin battery, which the company says should last up to two years, at which point you can replace it yourself. This once would have been a major selling point, but both the Tile Mate and Tile Pro now have the same feature.

To test the Chipolo, I buried both it and the Tile Mate under two cushions on a sofa and wandered round the house. I could hear both from a couple of rooms away, which is pretty good going. Distance wise, both cover up to 200ft, but the Tile gets a bonus point for giving you a “warmer/colder” visual aid within the app to accompany the ringing sound – Chipolo has no such equivalent at the time of writing.

The trump card it has over Tile, of course, is that you can get a notification if your phone loses track of the Chipolo. This means you shouldn’t forget your keys ever again and it does indeed work well, especially if you have a smartwatch that shows notifications.

You can use your Chipolo One in reverse, too – that is to say you can squeeze the Chipolo twice and it’ll make your phone ring. That works well, and saves you logging into Google or Find my iPhone for the same feature. Once again, however, Tiles can do the same trick.

Finally, Chipolo also has a neat function where a double-squeeze can, instead, be tied to activating the camera shutter on your phone, allowing you to take selfies more easily with your phone’s rear camera.

Chipolo One: Verdict

In truth, there’s not a great deal to choose between the Tile Mate and Chipolo One, but if I had to buy one, it would still be a Tile. That’s not Chipolo’s fault. The company has made a decent tracker with some neat ideas but the sheer size of user base just means you have a better chance of finding your lost items with a Tile attached.

That could well change in time though, and if you’re a scatterbrain who tends to leave home without key items then the free out-of-range alerts might trump the being able to track lost items down with the help of strangers’ Bluetooth.

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