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I recently heard about Haven Keep Watch on AskNoah. It sounds like what I was looking for to keep watch on my laptop, bike or luggage when I'm travelling. It's Open Source. No special hardware requirement or contract opposed to similar IoT offerings I have seen recently to protect bikes against theft and it leverages sensor input of what you come to expect from an inexpensive smartphone.

So I'm looking for a basic device to run Haven Keep Watch that should be:

  • Inexpensive.
    • Could be given to a friend if they might be in need for such a thing at some point and are not yet convinced to get one for themselves.
    • Not considered to be used as a media consumption device. No private data stored. No data lost.
  • Not flashy. Boring looks preferred.
    • Doesn't have to have a big screen and thin profile. A thick, small candy bar type that looks more like an inexpensive bicycle computer would be better.
    • No emphasize on precious materials like exposed and brushed or polished aluminum or steel, attractive colors or shiny curved glass. Even a 5 years old unusable and dated flagship or midrage device attracts attention to thieves or just nosy people.
    • No "tactical" or "stealth" futuristic design as found in gaming equipment. For the same reasons as above, plus it's a sad joke on the meaning of stealth.
  • Reliable.
    • Some sort of protection against spill water, rain and dust would be a bonus. Hot glue and a plastic bag or tape would also do the trick.
    • Running a recent version of Android or Android One (available in Europe in 2019/2020). Focus on security patches and available OS APIs rather than bling.
    • No "military grade" quality touted by marketing people who apparently never operated reliable military or firefighter gear.
    • Can take a beating, is RoHS compliant and mostly sustainable is good enough. Probably replaceable parts available online. Yes, I know about fairphone.

At the moment I have a Pixel 4, Pixel XL, Nexus 5 and a Lumia 730. The latter is a Windows Phone, so that's out. It's also old and too flashy/pretty with its orange Nokia style cover. A Nokia Lumia 620 with black cover, which I once had, comes close to what I think would be good. Nexus 5 is quite big, brittle and flimsy after 6 years, battery needs to be replaced again. Still attracts to much attention as a former flagship or developer device for my taste. My mother got a Moto E and Moto G2 a few years back, these also come close, terribly outdated today, sold long ago, current models still look expensive and attractive to thieves from my point of view. Pixel XL is becoming my new secondary phone. Still looks expensive to people. Taping it up would make it even more interesting I think. There will be a Purism Librem 5 at some point when it ships to me, that's another story, not an Android device and on the expensive end.

So yeah expertise from someone who knows the entry and budget range of the market would be appreciated. I guess the candy bar type thing with basic hardware I have in mind does not exist, but a recommendation for a decent budget phone as a second/third (Android) device would be good.

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