Amazfit Bip with Gadgetbridge

After my trusty Pebble 2 died about 6 months ago, I needed some kind of replacement that would do the following:

  1. buzz my wrist and show me alerts from any app (not just calls/texts)
  2. have a long-lasting battery without being huge
  3. count my daily steps and prod me when I haven't moved for a while
  4. not spy on me continuously and feed my data to a shady entity

The solution I settled on was an Amazfit Bip. It does almost all of the above:

  1. it offers Bluetooth LE with full notifications integration
  2. the battery lasts about a month (!) — my biggest problem is actually finding where the heck I put the charger, since I use it so rarely
  3. it has a step/heartbeat/sleep tracker

It also costs about US$80.

Now, the default smartphone app that comes with it doesn't particularly inspire confidence regarding that point #4 in my requirements list. I'm not trying to accuse anyone of anything, but I am not entirely brimming with confidence that the abundant personal data it collects about me is never going to be used for nefarious purposes.

The good news is that Amazfit Bip is fully supported by Gadgetbridge, which is a free software application installable via F-Droid. The version of Amazfit Bip that I got 6 months ago required a firmware update to work with Gadgetbridge, which required that I installed the Amazfit manufacturer app in order to upgrade it (which I did from one of the old junker phones I have lying around). However, after that I was able to pair it with Gadgetbridge on multiple phones. It is also not necessary to use the official app for the initial step, but the alternative looked more complicated than just using a junker phone to shortcut the process.

In the end, I spent $80 and a couple of hours to get a wrist gadget that does all I need, fits well, and doesn't spy on me. Freeyourgadget has a lot more info if you're interested.