Option to use with Find My or as app-based proximity tracker
Don’t lose its unique charger
Lacks the extra two radios found in AirTag
When you need a flat-format tracker for Apple’s Find My network or proximity tracking, the Pebblebee Card has all the advantages.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Pebblebee Card
The Pebblebee Card performs a trick I didn’t think possible: it packs a rechargeable battery into a wallet-sized wireless tracker that works on Apple’s Find My network. The company says the battery lasts about 12 months between charges. Recharging requires an included adapter. Apple’s AirTag has a battery you can replace, but the tracker itself is a small bulbous lump—not exactly comfortable by itself in a wallet. (You might consider a wallet case, like the TagVault: Wallet or Nomad Card.)
The matte black plastic Pebblebee Card measures slightly smaller than a credit card at roughly 2.1 by 3.3 inches (53 by 84mm). It’s thicker, though: a credit card is a mere 3/100ths of an inch (0.78mm) while the Card is just over 1/10th of an inch (2.8 mm). It weighs 0.5 ounces (15 grams). Even at that size, Pebblebee claims a range of 500 feet (150m) for its Bluetooth transmitter. It can play a loud, unique, trilling sound when you play a sound or the Find My anti-stalking triggers are set off.
Pebblebee uniquely offers the choice between pairing the Card (or its AirTag-sized Clip) with Apple’s Find My network and Pebblebee’s proximity-based iPhone and Android app. You can only choose one network, but it’s a simple matter to triple press the Card’s logo and then hold for 10 seconds to factory reset it. You can then re-pair with Find My or the Pebblebee app.
The proprietary cable provided for recharging has a tiny two-pin magnetically-coupled attachment on one end and a USB Type-A plug on the other. Your only danger is losing the cable between charges. You can press and hold the logo for about four seconds to check battery life via five tiny LEDs on one side that light to indicate the remaining charge. You can also use the Find My or Pebblebee app to see its charge level, depending on which network you are paired with.
Whether you use Find My or the Pebblebee app has a real distinction when it comes to global reach. Apple’s Find My network consists of all iPhone, iPad, and Mac users worldwide who have left the feature enabled (it’s turned on by default). Their devices take their known location and package that with encrypted Bluetooth signals from AirTag and other Find My items that they detect nearby. (This also works for any Apple devices that don’t currently have an internet connection and are running new-enough versions of their operating systems.) Once you pair an AirTag with an iPhone or iPad, you can see its locations via any native Find My app across all your devices linked by iCloud.
Pebblebee’s system, by contrast, uses proximity to the single device—iPhone or Android—with which you’ve paired it using the company’s app. The app requires background location tracking to keep tabs on the last-known location of the Card relative to that device when it goes out of range. With background location tracking enabled, the app can alert you if you’ve left a Card in place when you’ve moved on, particularly useful for letting you know if you left a wallet or bag behind. The app can also trigger the Card to play a sound, but that works only when the device and Card are within Bluetooth range.
Pebblebee’s app will securely relay the location of any Pebblebee devices it passes that have been marked as lost by their owners, but that installed user base is quite low compared to the set of all qualifying Apple device owners.
Like other Find My items that aren’t made by Apple, the Card doesn’t include two extra radios: UWB (ultrawideband) used for precision and directional finding over short distances, and NFC (near-field communication), the same tech behind Apple Pay and tap-to-pay credit card. An iPhone or iPad can detect a nearby unpaired AirTag and offer to configure it. NFC is also used for a found device: tap it or hold it near any NFC-equipped smartphone and the device’s reader will pull up a link for more information, like the owner’s contact details for a lost device. Without NFC, it takes an extra step or two to pair in Find My or to retrieve information about a discovered Find My device.
I used to consider the extra Find My steps and the lack of UWB and NFC as a downside to picking non-Apple gear. However, neither has turned out to be much of a problem in practical use. If you feel directional proximity, NFC pairing, or NFC information discovery are must-have features, the AirTag is the only option. For most people, Bluetooth-based proximity coupled with playing a sound on their Find My item is enough.
When used with the Find My network, like all other devices Apple has certified, the Card plays an alert when it’s been separate from its owner for between 8 and 24 hours, or when it’s detected moving with someone when the owner isn’t nearby. The Card can also be detected using the Find My app in iOS or iPadOS, or with the Android app made by Apple, Tracker Detect.
The closest credit-card-sized competitor is the Chipolo CARD Spot, which we ranked at 4.5 stars. The primary difference? The Chipolo card has a two-year estimated battery life, and the company offers a 50 percent off coupon to swap it out at the end of its life with a replacement, as its battery is not user replaceable.
There are other differences, most of which won’t affect your choice:
Network: The Pebblebee Card can be activated on either Apple’s Find My network, for global tracking, or with its own app for proximity tracking. The Chipolo CARD Spot is dedicated to the Find My network.
Water resistance: Pebblebee says its Card has an IPX6 rating, which requires protection against a stream of water; the CARD Spot has the slightly less robust IPX5, protecting against splashes. This shouldn’t matter for most people.
Size and weight: The two card trackers are nearly identical in size, matching a business card dimension’s at about 3.3 by 2.1 inches—but the Pebblebee is 0.1mm thicker. Heavens! The Chipolo CARD Spot is also four grams heavier: 0.63 oz. (18g) to the Pebblebee Card’s 0.49 oz (14g).
You can’t go wrong with the Pebblebee Card. It gets a slight review edge over the Chipolo CARD Spot (also excellent) due to the Pebblebee Card’s rechargeable battery with a visible battery monitor, its choice of tracking networks, and the ability to switch between networks at any time with little fuss.