Technology

Technologies in Bluetooth key finders

Expected read time: 3 min

Did you know different item finders can have different technologies?

If you’re not sure which key or wallet finder to get or what technologies would work best for you, we prepared a short info guide of the most common technologies and how they can help you search for your lost things.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology

One of the most common technologies used in item finders. Bluetooth trackers can keep a stable connection with your phone for up to a few hundred feet (50 – 100 meters) and are suitable for mid-range searches nearby.

Chipolo Bluetooth key finder blue Chipolo Bluetooth key finder blue

Used in:

Bluetooth trackers such as Chipolos, AirTags

Pros:

- Connects to your smartphone

- Low power consumption

- Low price with no monthly fees

- Long battery life

Cons:

- Obstacles like walls decrease the connection range

- Cannot be used to find lost items at bigger distances

- Real-time location is not available when the connection is lost

Ultrawideband (UWB) technology

Used for short-range, precision finding up to a few meters. It uses super-short radio pulses between devices to pinpoint an accurate position of the lost item.

Uwb find Uwb find

Used in: AirTags, Galaxy SmartTag+

Pros:

- Stable connection through obstacles like walls

- Real-time updates

- Extremely accurate location

Cons:

- Not widely available

- Very short search range

- Bigger power consumption than other tracking technologies

Crowdsourced network technologies

Used as a backup feature in Bluetooth trackers, crowdsourcing, which is also called ‘community find’, relies on the technologies already available in your mobile phone.

Item finders regularly send out limited information that helps your phone keep a connection with them. Even when lost, the finder will still send out information, and devices nearby that come into contact can anonymously pick up on this information and send it to the central server that sends this information to the owner looking for their lost keys or wallet.

Community find Community find

Used in: Bluetooth trackers

Pros:

- No extra power consumption

- Already available as a free extra feature with Bluetooth trackers

- Can help when an item is truly lost

Cons:

- Dependent on the size of a Bluetooth tracker’s community

- Relies on the possibility that a tracker will connect to third-party phones

NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies

NFC is the short-range wireless technology behind contactless payments. It only works in very close proximity (up to a few centimeters) and can transfer small amounts of data between an NFC tag and a smart device that support NFC technology.

Like crowdsourcing search, this is also an auxiliary feature you can use when you find a lost item finder. When you put the tracking tag close to your phone, you can view any contact information the owner may have listed.

NFC Tag Structure wiki commmons NFC Tag Structure wiki commmons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Used in: AirTags

Pros:

- Very low power consumption

- Can help when an item is truly lost

Cons:

- Completely passive and reliant on the goodwill of the person that finds the tag

- Does not work with all mobile phones

- Any information you list is available to anyone who scans your item finder with their phone

Technologies in other item trackers

GPS (Global Positioning System) technology

It is one of the most widely used location technologies in general and is an integral part of navigation apps such as Google Maps.

GPS tracking does not create a direct connection between your phone and your tracking tag, it uses a network of satellites in orbit around the Earth. These satellites synchronize between themselves and can then calculate the location and movement of your GPS tracking tag.

GPS technology GPS technology

Used in: GPS trackers

Pros:

- Unlimited range

- Real-time tracking and location information

- Technology is already part of all smartphones

Cons:

- High power consumption

- Higher price, with extra monthly subscriptions

- Unstable in urban areas, indoors, and won’t work underground

- Bigger due to battery size

Radio Frequency (RF) technology

The only item tracker technology that doesn’t need a mobile phone to help you find your things.

RF trackers communicate directly with a nearby transmitter through a radio frequency. Because of a limited connection range of about 100 feet (30 meters) RF trackers are best for use around your home.

Used in: RF trackers

Pros:

- Low power consumption

- Connects through obstacles like walls

Cons:

- Limited range

- Only connects to a dedicated transmitter

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