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Can the AirBolt Card Take On the Apple AirTag?

Can the AirBolt Card Take On the Apple AirTag?

Can the AirBolt Card Take On the Apple AirTag?

I am notoriously hard to shop for. I buy what I want when I need it and am not that great about being upfront with gift ideas. One thing most of my friends and family notice is that I'm pretty kitted out with Apple products. Phone, tablet, laptop, watch; it all interacts pretty seamlessly. So this year, on my birthday, my long-suffering partner gave me the one thing I didn't have - an Apple AirTag. 

I'm a diehard AirBolt fan; I've loved them since their Kickstarter for the AirBolt Smart Lock. When the AirBolt came out with a sweet little card tracker for me to stop leaving my handbag in my desk at work, I knew I had to have one. So when I opened one of my birthday presents this year, I knew I had to have the AirBolt Card and the Apple AirTag go head to head. So to make this fair, I'm just going to award 1 point for everything I liked best - each will get a one or zero, and the winner has the most points at the end. Here we go! 

AirBolt Card



Each is very easy to set up, and it was almost head-to-head here.   

The AirBolt Card is so simple. Just take it out of the pack, open your AirBolt App, press the AirBolt logo on the card, and the app will connect.. Name the card whatever you want, and you are pretty much ready to track. 

The AirTag is also pretty simple. Open the box and pull a little plastic strip out of the inside of the AirTag. Then just bring it near your phone, and iOS takes over. Well, it should. In my case, the battery was dead. AppleCare is sending out a new battery, but I had to steal a button battery from my car fob to continue. In theory, though, the set-up should have been easy, so I'll still give a point. 





The reason I love trackers is that I am a small handbag person. As a designer and content creator, I am often lugging a backpack full of things: a laptop, tablet, camera, sketchpad, you name it. When I go into the office once a week, I also carry a lunch, often a totebag with mood boards, Pantone swatches, and my handbag. I don't put my purse in my backpack because I don't use a backpack every day. (I'm a complicated person, I admit it). If I forget my handbag, it might be a week before I can get it back (it's also a roundtrip commute of 2 hours!) So, I put a card tracker in my wallet, and it'll notify me before I leave the parking lot. 


The AirBolt Card is great. I like that the slimline profile just takes up a credit card slot in my wallet. With the proximity alert, my phone rings and I get a pop-up message that "Wallet" is away from me. In my actual use, I was just past the office doors and not to my car yet. So that worked out well. You can also share the AirBolt Card through the app. This has been very handy when my partner has been looking for my keys. He just opens the app, pings the card, and can find wherever I've dropped my handbag after a long day. The alert is really quite loud and isn't too hard to hear in our two-story home. 

The AirTag, I didn't like as much. This is pretty nit-picky, but I hate the button design. I hate that it pops out in the middle. I can put it in the coin part of my wallet, but not all my wallets have this feature. I slipped it in my favourite and the Airtag popped the leather out slightly. You can get many types of fob holders for the AirTag. Don't get me wrong, but I find that pretty annoying. I feel like I've only got half a product. Sure it doesn't change its functionality, but to not lose this little thing, I feel like I have to spend another $10, and that's not cool. 

Again, that's not really about usability. So I put the AirTag in my handbag, left it in the kitchen and went for a walk. I made it about 3 houses away before I was notified. I'm glad I didn't try this at work; I would have been out of the parking lot and past the lights before I found out. I did find directions for making my AirTag geo-fence smaller via Google, but it wasn't intuitive and not as small as I need it to be. 





I don't need detail here because the AirBolt wins, hands down. For once-a-day use, the AirBolt Card can go up to nine months on a single charge. The AirBolt Card comes with a tiny USB charger that slots into the bottom of the card. The Apple AirTag uses a small lithium button battery that should last about 12 months for once-a-day use before replacing it. "Replacing" is the keyword. You can get a two-pack for about $10, but everything about lithium button batteries is annoying. They aren't safe for children or pets (not to mention the child-proof packaging they came in) and shouldn't be thrown in a bin. I found it too easy to open the AirTag to get the battery out, but I don't have kids, so I have less worry. I would give the AirTag negative points for this design, but I said I wouldn't do that, so no points! 





The AirBolt App has an excellent feature for family sharing. For any device you have connected, just click the plus sign on the device to share it. This is a wonderful feature on the AirBolt smart-lock, especially when travelling. It's equally great for the AirBolt Card. Not every family has everyone on the same type of phone; mine is no exception. My partner swears he will never use an iPhone. That's fine, but it can make it a little annoying. With our shared AirBolt devices, he can unlock what he needs or find whatever item we've attached an AirBolt card to on his own phone. 


The Apple AirTag can only be connected to one Apple ID at a time. So if you are using it to find the keys to the family sedan or want to know where your kid left their gym bag, only one phone can use it. So no sharing. Android users also won't get the full functionality of the device, so I can't even get my partner his own AirTag. 




The AirBolt Card and the Apple AirTag compete reasonably even in terms of extras. Both item trackers are lightweight and weather resistant. Both can also rely on extensive crowdsourcing networks when your items are out of Bluetooth range, and arguably it is hard to dismiss a billion iPhone users creating a vast network for the AirTag. The AirBolt card wins on price, $24.95 USD (and no further fees) to the $29.95 USD AirTag that will also need batteries and a fob. 





The AirBolt Card is a clear winner at 5 points to 2. It's perfect for local item tracking and keeping your stuff close by. 

Get your own AirBolt Card here. 



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