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Looking for a Pebble smartwatch alternative/replacement

We had a smartwatch discussion elsewhere, where someone was also interested in an alternative as a smartwatch.

I’ve been on the lookout for a smartwatch for some time, and wrote a bunch of requirements for my watch. Suffice to say, it has to be able to:

  • Control music
  • Native alarms
  • Put off/on Bluetooth
  • Minimum of 1 week uptime casual/normal usage without charging.
  • Preferably, it has Gadgetbridge support.
  • Preferably, FOSS firmware/OS or ability to reflash such.
  • Hardware buttons (touch is optional for me, touch-only or touch with 1 button simply is a usability nightmare).

Ideally I would want a fair one, but I don’t think such exists.

(I’m coming from a Pebble 2)

Fitbit: All of them are RIP due to Google acquiring them.

Xiaomi: I can’t put Bluetooth off on the Amazfit BIP (my attempt to replace Pebble).

Fossil: This one just got announced, with e-ink. 2 weeks uptime, they advertise with.

Bangle.js (Kickstarter): Has the power of JS (like Pebble). It is KS, but developer delivered before. I had contact with developer, and it seems to tick the buttons I mentioned.

AsteroidOS: I guess this is ideal, having support for a FOSS OS. There are a few AsteroidOS compatible devices but I am not sure if/where there is a community for this OS, and which one to get. I don’t really like the way the KingsWear looks (too… bombastic). The LG Urban isn’t my style either, and it is an older watch. I’d only build an old watch with a discount (same for a Pebble 2 now).

For now, I ordered a cheap dumbwatch as I do need a watch at times (having to take out my smartphone to know the time is not useful when in a hurry), and I accepted that I simply won’t be able to control Spotify on the go.

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So, for AsteroidOS:

Yes.

No.

On the watch’s side, yes.

Try 1 day.

Nope, but it has its own Free Software app.

Proprietary firmware sadly (due to the hardware requiring it), but otherwise yes.

It’s a very touch-oriented OS, so nope.

It’s like a “one-person project” though so… with help it could progress a lot.

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If you need to charge your watch every day it isn’t going to last a few years without a new battery. I’m interested in using a smartwatch for a while (that is the sustainability angle).

My Pebble 2 lasts a week and still works (backlight is a tad weak TBH, but custom watchfaces are nice). Just the buttons are disintegrated. With a Pebble 1 plus a custom case one can fix it, but I gave my Pebble 1 to the local 2nd hand shop (curses were made…).

With regards to the touch-oriented aspect, how would you use the device whilst running? With physical buttons, that works perfectly fine. I doubt it works well with touch, though maybe it differs per interface?

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention my Amazfit BIP hurts my skin after a while. I guess I prefer navy strap.

What’s your take on the Fossil e-ink one and Bangle.js I mentioned?

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Whats wrong wiith your Pebble? It fits all your requirements. I am still happy with mine and lough out loud when the colleagues sucking :green_apple:watch quit midday due to an empty battery. :rofl:

The buttons are completely destroyed. I tried to fix it with Sugru, but it only worked for a few months (if not less).

I’d need a Pebble OG plus https://www.shapeways.com/product/UAMY5GZSQ/pebble-2-smartwatch-replacement-case (there is also https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2599551 but I have no clue about 3D printing and I’m not interested in learning about it).

I’ve replaced my trusty pebble time with a Garmin Forerunner. The only downsides are that it’s not supported by gadgetbridge and it’s no FOSS firmware. You can however disable cloud sync for the garmin connect app. This ensures that no personal information is send to Garmin. Note that this will limit various features for the watch (e.g. there is no display for the sleep tracking data without uploading the data to the cloud first). However you can access all data directly on the device via usb. For example I use goldencheetah for analyzing the cycling, running and swimming data myself.

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The Pine64 community is currently working on an open source smartwatch called PineTime as a side project. The estimated release will be Q1/Q2 2020 (pending on developement results)

https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php?title=PineTime

https://mobile.twitter.com/hashtag/PineTime

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Thanks.

Seems development uses Rust.

I like the price (30 USD) but the look is like Amazfit BIP (IMO cheap).

I really like the Fossil HR aesthetically, though price is high. Only 3ATM rating as well, Bangle.js and PineTime has IPX 67/78. Feature-wise it is very minimal, yet exactly the Pebble features I used.

[EDIT]Though it does not have NFC which is a feature I’d find cool to use with a smartwatch. Kind of like a backup if you will.

A feature I thoroughly missed on Pebble which will probably require a custom app is a way to flag todo lists in smartwatch. The one I tried (Glances) sucked, I never got it working well. Google Keep API (lol) is proprietary, so yeah, stuck to smartphone. Not very user-friendly in a grocery store.[/EDIT]

Did you see the posts about the Fossil HR in the Pebble forum on Reddit, e.g. this one?

Also what about a Pebble 2 as a replacement for your Pebble 2? I may have a spare black Pebble 2 HR which looks like new and wasn’t used much. Let me know if you are interested and what you would be willing to pay for it. I would send it from Germany.

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Thank you for the reference and offer!

First, about the Fossil HR. That one is currently a no-go, made different decisions money-wise. If I’d buy it, it’d be in a few months. I didn’t read these threads, but I did do some research. I believe, for me, it might be an adequate replacement. What do I miss most on my Amazfit Bip? That I cannot put off the radio, and that I cannot control Spotify. You can control Spotify with a Bluetooth headset, but I tried multiple Bluetooth headsets and I hate them all. I just wanna do it from a smartwatch, if I do it. I frankly did not use Pebble (2) much for notifications. At best, reading some WhatsApp while on the road. The alarm feature is adequate for me (I don’t mind setting alarms with Gadgetbridge for Amazfit Bip either; I do understand other people dislike it though).

I’ve thought about getting a Pebble 2 as replacement. At times, almost bought one. I believe that has been three times now. New, if we exclude the ones from Japan for ~350 EUR on eBay, they are however from 70 EUR and beyond + S&H which is too much for an old device which isn’t supported anymore. At the same time, I do understand there is demand for them. Also, my Pebble 2 does work, if I can replace the case/buttons. So I’m actually looking for a Pebble OG. Because, if I get a Pebble 2, that would work for a while, but AFAICT the case/buttons will disintegrate after a while. I’m not even sure why thy disintegrate.

That being said, I need some time to reflect on if I want to shell out more money on Pebble. So I’ll reply on your offer after the weekend.

I saw the other day that Swatch have pretty basic watches for like 75 EUR, which have NFC. Not very useful as I can’t crack OV Chipkaart, and can’t use my bank with NFC (nor do I want Google Pay, I guess).