Wallets
Nov 21, 2023

Apollo Product Review: Bitbox02

Explore BitBox02, Apollo users' top-rated hardware wallet. Unbox simplicity, experience unique touch controls, and secure your crypto with ease.

Apollo Product Review: Bitbox02

In May, Apollo published our Hardware Wallet Market Report. We surveyed our users about the hardware wallets they own, why, what features and functionality matters to them most, and more.

One of the most popular hardware wallets among Apollo users is BitBox’s Bitbox02.

The Bitbox02 is also (at the time of writing), the top rated hardware wallet an Apollo, with many users highlighting the device’s security and ease of use. And while of course I trust the Apollo community, I decided to verify for myself and write this review of my experience! Disclaimer: BitBox provided the device I’m using for review purpose, but no other payment or influence.

Unboxing and Setup

The unboxing experience is great. There aren't many components to contend with here. My attention is drawn to what matters: the device itself, the backup micro SD card, and the connection cable.

The set-up instructions are clear, and I open up the webpage from which I download the desktop app. I connect the device, and we’re off!

Once connected, I install the latest firmware as prompted, and set the password on my device. Here’s where it gets a bit interesting, and an important difference from other hardware wallets emerges.

Some hardware wallets have physical buttons. Others have a touchscreen. The Bitbox02 has invisible touch sensors on the long sides of the device which you use to scroll through and select characters:

  • "Tap with one finger to select something such as a character during password entry.
  • Hold with your thumb and index finger on both sides of the BitBox02 in order to confirm important actions such as signing a transaction.
  • Scroll with one finger to scroll horizontally such as when displaying a Bitcoin address on the BitBox02."

Personally, I like this feature. It wasn’t totally intuitive at first, but I picked it up fairly fast. After the first couple of uses, I'd say I prefer it to my Trezor T’s touchscreen interface. This might be more of a ‘me’ problem, but I often find myself fat-fingering the Trezor and hitting the wrong buttons. Which can be frustrating and slightly stressful, once you enter the pin incorrectly a couple of times in a row.

Moving on: the rest of the installation process is easy enough. The backup is created automatically on the SD card, and I don’t have to write down any seed words (another point of differentiation to Trezor and others).

Once the set-up is complete, I’m greeted with a basic wallet UI. There are more advanced settings, though I’m not inundated by that to begin with. It’s a no-frills experience that I imagine would suit beginners well.

Device and design

The Bitbox02 is about as minimalistic as it gets, when it comes to hardware wallets. It’s small (slightly wider than a standard USB stick and about as long), with no buttons, the SD card slot and the USB-C connection. That’s it. It feels like there’s no wasted space.

This seems to be in line with Apollo users’ design preferences (see below), who tend to favor minimalism.

The screen is bright and responsive. And it feels durable - especially because of the simplicity. My only concern would be how the touch sensors hold up over time and whether the responsiveness fades. But no reason to think that’s an issue yet.

Other Features

There are a bunch of other features to be excited about. Coin control for UTXO management, Tor connection, passphrase functionality. And the firmware is fully open source. For the more security-conscious, there’s a secure element too.

Conclusion

Overall I can see why the Bitbox02 is an emerging favorite, and why Apollo users rate it so highly. It’s easy to set up and use, and boasts an impressive array of features for the security-conscious hodler. I’d encourage anyone looking for their next hardware wallet to try it out.

But also, don’t just take my word for it! Check out what Apollo users are saying about the Bitbox02 too: