16/05/2018 – 11:10am
Amazfit isn’t a household name, and neither is Huami, the Chinese firm behind the brand.
However, you may have heard of Xiaomi, the smartphone maker for which Huami produces many wearable products; it’s perhaps this vital connection which has ensured that the Amazfit Bip has become one of the most notable contenders in the budget smartphone arena.
Available online for around £45, this low-cost device isn’t really a smartphone as such as it doesn’t run an OS like the Apple Watch or WearOS devices – you can’t install apps or anything as fancy as that.
However, despite its limitations, the Amazfit Bip still manages to pack in a stunning amount of functionality, such as multi-event fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, water resistance and app notifications.
Amazfit Bip Design
Before we move on to cover some of these elements in-depth, it’s worth addressing the elephant in the room: the Amazfit Bip’s startling similarity to the famous Apple Watch.
There’s no ignoring it; this device is a shameless copy of Apple’s product, right down to the basic shape of the casing.
However, while the Apple Watch is made from metal, the Bip is plastic, which makes it feel incredibly light and almost toy-like in comparison.
Amazfit Bip Display
The “always-on” 1.28-inch colour display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and is controlled using touch input.
The button on the right-hand side wakes the screen, which might seem like an odd choice but prevents you from accidentally triggering the display with your finger.
Once this is done you can swipe through the UI to access settings, set an alarm or begin a running or biking session.
Alternatively, you can hold down the button to start a fitness tracking right away.
Amazfit Bip Features
All of this data is synced with Xiaomi’s Mi-Fit smartphone application, which is also used with the Mi Band device.
From here, you can view your fitness data and see how you compare with other users – not just in terms of physical activity, but in how well you sleep, when you go to bed and when you wake up.
You could argue that all of this is largely pointless data, but it’s heartening to know that you sleep more contently than 60 percent of other users, for some reason.
GPS tracking is also included, which is remarkable for a device in this price range.
It’s also pretty decent, too – it sometimes takes a short while to get an accurate lock on you, but during the test runs we undertook it performed admirably.
As a fitness device, this really is stunning – the only genuine disappointment is that there’s no way to track swimming, which is odd when you consider it has IP68 certification.
Outside of fitness-focused functions, the Amazfit Bip is a little less impressive.
Amazfit Bip Notifications
Notifications are disappointingly inconsistent; you can have things like text messages, WhatsApp messages, email alerts and Twitter notifications piped through to your wrist, but they seem to come through in machine-gun bursts rather than in real-time – you can’t do anything meaningful with them when they do arrive, either.
It’s just a reminder to remove your phone from your pocket and check them on there.
While you can’t add new apps to the watch, you can load up new watch faces.
There are several pre-loaded options – some of which display info such as battery life and your daily step total – but fans are creating their own options, too.
Our favourite is one which replicates the look of the watch in the Nintendo 64 game, GoldenEye 007.
The Amazfit Bip can’t hold a candle to the Apple Watch in terms of pure power and versatility then, but one area where it stands head and shoulders above the competition is stamina.
Amazfit Bip Battery Life
The Bip is advertised as having a 30-day battery life on a single change, and to be honest, we think that might actually be slightly conservative.
After two weeks of solid use, our review unit is still showing 50 percent in tank; in fact, as we type this, we’re struggling to recall where we put the watch’s charging dock, as we’ve only had to use it once since the device arrived.
It’s amazing to think that there’s only a tiny 190mAh power cell inside this thing.
While the Amazfit Bip may not be in quite the same league as a “proper” smartwatch when it comes to pure power, its low cost, attractive (if rather shamelessly stolen) design and downright incredibly staying power make it a solid purchase.
It works with both iOS and Android and, despite not being officially available in the UK yet, is easy to obtain online.
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