Amazfit Bip full review
In the world of wearable tech, 'cheap' rarely means 'good value'. The Amazfit Bip is a fitness-focused smartwatch that bucks that trend. It offers a fabulous feature set in a stylish device, at a low low price.
It's not all gravy, but the Bip is a bargain. It has GPS and a heart rate monitor, which really is all that matters in a fitness watch. Let's dive in to find out more.
Amazfit Bip price and availability
The Amazfit Bip retails for £69.99 inc VAT in the UK, and $99.99 in the US. As of this writing it is available from myriad online stores in both territories, and direct from Amazfit in the US. (This including, of course, Amazon!) And it is pretty much permanently discounted both direct from Amazfit and on Amazon.
Amazfit Bip design and build quality
It is safe to say the designers of the Bip had seen an Apple Watch when they first put pen to paper. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and if you are going to steal ergonomic ideas, take them from Apple. No chunky wrist-based satnav, the Bip is a watch in all respects.
A discreet, sleek wristwatch. The silicon rubber band fits snugly around wrists of all sizes, and the watch itself is remarkably slim considering the tech found inside. We weighed it at 31g, which is also very light. It's a comfortable wear.
We have the all black Bip, and this is the most commonly avilable version. But it is also available with red, white or grey trim. (To my mind these look less classy, but this is definitely in the eye of the beholder.)
The 1.28-in, 176 x 176-pixel colour capacitive touch screen is designed to display data rather than images, which is just as well. It's fit for purpose, but don't expect to be able to read anything in the dark when running at speed.
Build wise the Bip is constructed of polycarbonate, matte-plastic. The display is 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass and the watch has an IP68 water and dust rating. I've been using it for running daily, for momths, and it has narey a scratch on it.
Amazfit Bip features and specifications
This is where you make your money back. The Amazfit Bip is a full-featured smartwatch at the price of a bog standard wristband. In terms of hardware it is stuffed with GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate sensor, barometer and compass. This means you can track runs, walks and cycle rides, with mapped routes, detailed stats and heart rate zones.
There is also a sleep tracker mode, which measures heart rate and movement to judge the quality of your shut eye.
As a smartwatch you can receive notifications of calls, messages and emails, as well as a limited array of other app notifications including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube. And all is displayed upon the always-on display, alongside time, date, steps and weather.
Amazfit Bip app
The Bip works with the Mi Fit app, which connects your phone and watch via Bluetooth. This is a phone-optimised sports app for Android and iPhone that records exercise activities such as running (outdoors and treadmill), cycling, and walking. It syncs your phone with the watch and stores your location, steps, elevation, and distance, giving you a breakdown on your performance, as well as tracking progress.
Through the app you can also control which of those other apps can send alerts to your wrist. As these things go it is a very good app. Easy to use, full featured and responsive.
It is also through the app (and your phone) that you can update your Bip watch. On which, more later.
Amazfit Bip battery life
Battery life is one of the Bip's key features, deserving of its own section. Amazfit claims a 30-day battery life. We couldn't quite match that, but it is true that from a single charge you get weeks of use.
I've been using the Bip for running five or six times a week, for several months, and having charged it two weeks ago we are still at 33 percent batterylife. It's really impressive, and very useful if you are going to use it all the time as watch and fitness device.
Amazfit Bip in use
That is a lot of promise for an inexpensive device, but what's it like to use? Well, the Amazfit Bip is pretty much as advertised, with a few minor irritations.
It's comfortable to wear and, although UI is a bit faffy and fiddly, in general we have no complaints with daily use of the Bip as both watch and fitness tracker. It tracks distance assidiously, and has a good range of view options. Using the bezel to operate it even when on the hoof is pretty straightforward. As a sleep tracker is also seems to work well (if you like that kind of thing.)
In my experience with one device, the Bip does need some TLC, however.
With my device the GPS takes a long time to lock on (relative to many similar devices I have tested), even when there isn't a cloud in the sky. And my goodness does it need regular updating. At least weekly, I have to sync phone and watch to update the A-GPS. Fail to do this and my watch either stops locking on at all, or starts recording weirdly off kilter distances and speeds. Oh, and syncing and updating takes a long time. A long time. Certainly more time than you want to spend as you prepare to go for a trot.
Indeed, of late, it has proven nigh-on impossible to get a good GPS lock without updating the A-GPS. And very recently, on occasion, even when apparently 'locked on' to the GPS, my Bip has been giving out measurably incorrect distance and speed data, telling me that I am running at two-minute mile pace. Reader, I am not that fast.
As I write I am closing down the app and rebooting it to get it so sync properly. It has now done so, and it is entirely possible that my device is just a bad one that needs some repair. Nor would any of these relatively minor hassles put me off recommending or purchasing an Amazfit Bip. But it is worth saying that even with a bargain device such as this, you do get what you pay for.
Amazfit Bip verdict
For the price the Amazfit Bip is a total bargain. For the same price you simply won't find this combination of hardware and software features anywhere else. Moreover, it is a stylish and well built device. We do have some minor niggles about using the Amazfit Bip, but if you are in the market for an inexpensive smartwatch and fitness tracker, this is the one.
Amazfit Bip: Specs
- 1.28-in, 176 x 176-pixel colour capacitive touch screen
- v2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass
- IP68 water and dust rating
- GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate sensor, barometer and compass