How do you narrow down your choice between fitness tracker and smart watch? A good starting point is figuring out what you’d use it for. A fitness tracker is great for tracking steps, distance, and calories burned. A smart watch will do all that plus display texts, call notifications, link to other apps, monitor your heartbeat, and control your playlists.
That’s exactly what the Amazfit Bip does. I’ve been wearing it for three weeks and I’m really impressed with the heart rate monitoring, very long battery life, and the inexpensive price tag.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch & fitness tracker in one, here’s a look at the specs, pros, and cons of the Amazfit Bip.
Specs on the Amazfit Bip
The Amazfit Bip is made by Huami, the same company that created the Roborock Robot Vacuum I love so much. Strap it on and you’ll enjoy the following:
- Colour touchscreen display with a variety of changeable watch faces
- Up to 30-day life on a single charge of the 190mAh Li-ion battery
- IP68 dustproof and water-resistant
- All day optical heart rate monitoring. You can also choose to just monitor your heart rate during exercise
- Monitors your steps, distance, calories, and sleep quality using a 3-axis accelerometer, barometer, and geomagnetic sensor.
- Built-in GPS to keep track of all activity.
- Sport modes include running, treadmill, and cycling
- One-way smart notifications, and will vibrate when calls, texts, and other app notifications come in
- Features on the Amazfit Bip are expandable if you download the AmazTools app
- Works with Android 4.4 / iOS 8.0 and above
- Includes 1x USB cable charging dock
Design of the Amazfit Bip
The Amazfit Bip closely resembles other smartwatches, with a plastic frame to hold a 1.28” Gorilla Glass colour touchscreen. The biggest design comparison I’ve seen online is between Bip and the discontinued Pebble watch.
On the side of the Amazfit Bip is a button. That button turns on the touchscreen, so when you press it the backlight will come on and you can scroll through your menu options. The touchscreen is bright enough to see in strong sunlight, and it doesn’t power down like some displays. Because it’s always on you can see the time without having to tap the side button.
The profile of the Bip is very slim. It weighs only 32 grams, and the watch strap is comfortable to wear and won’t cause chafing during sweaty exercise. It’s also comfortable to wear when you sleep, which is a huge plus. You can switch out the watchstraps if you’d like to switch up your look.
Setting up the Amazfit Bip
This smartwatch has a very simple set up. I took it out of the box, charged it to 100%, and downloaded the Mi-Fit app. The app recognized the watch, updated the software, and I was ready to use it.
Daily syncing is via Bluetooth and only happens when you open the app, so you’ll have to wait for a connection and upload before you get your stats on your phone.
Menu options on the Amazfit Bip
You can change the watch face on the Amazfit Bip, and it’s really easy to do so. Just open the Mi-Fit app, scroll to the watch faces, and choose one. There are quite a few to pick, but the best options are offered through the AmazTools app.
Once you’ve picked your watch face you can scroll through the watch. There’s Status to let you know how you’re doing as far as steps, distance, and your heart rate that day. There’s also Activity, and that’s where you find your sports choices. Tap the weather icon and you can see the weather in your area, and there are also alarm, timer, and compass. Alipay is also an option so you can pay just using your watch.
If you tap the button and swipe up on the main screen you’ll see your texts, call notifications and other app notifications. I’ve set mine to alert me if I receive a call, text, or Instagram message. It vibrates when I receive a call, which I absolutely love because I always lose my phone or have it set to silent.
The touchscreen works well. There’s no delay or lag when swiping or tapping through your options. There is no specific heart rate monitoring menu option, so you can’t tap to get a heart rate whenever you want one. That being said, most watch faces offer the heart rate right on the screen so you can see what it just was.
Workouts with the Amazfit Bip
The activity screen of the Amazfit Bip is easy to use. Scroll to choose your activity and tap to get started. The built-in GPS will kick in, and it will start monitoring your distance, heart rate, and effort. This smartwatch will not automatically recognize activity and begin tracking. You have to choose what you’ll do.
It works quite well when you’re running, using the treadmill, or cycling. It will accurately monitor your time and distance. In comparison to another tracker I was wearing at the same time, it offered the same stats.
My main issue with the Bip was that I don’t do these types of activities all the time in the winter, and they are the only options on the watch for activity. You can’t add other exercises through the Mi or AmazTools app.
I like to run outside, but since our weather has been nothing but snow and ice, I haven’t done so over the past month. I tend to do circuit training at home more often than I go to the gym, and when I do go to the gym I can’t get a GPS signal because it’s in a huge concrete building. Given that, the Amazfit Bip couldn’t monitor my actual fitness efforts.
The first few times I tried to circuit train with it I chose Treadmill because I thought it might monitor my effort and assess my calories burned. Because the watch relies so heavily on distance, it didn’t give me an accurate readout for my workout. The heart rate monitor did track me and it gave me warnings when it felt I was cruising too high at 145 bpm, but that data didn’t translate into calories burned.
At the end of one particularly difficult 20-minute strength training block with weights, I tapped to end the workout and it told me it wouldn’t save it because it was too short. It wants you to work out for at least ½ hour. The cardio I did for 40 minutes before was tracked, but because it was a fitness video I did inside the house Bip said I only burned 100 calories.
Give the dedication to GPS, I believe this watch will really shine when I can get back outside and on the road where I have a good signal and can cover some distance.
Amazfit Bip’s long-lasting battery life
One of the biggest pluses of this smartwatch is the long-lasting battery life. Huami says it should last up to 30 days on a single charge. For me, it was about 2 1/2 weeks, but I do have full-text notifications, phone alerts, and constant heart rate monitoring on.
I also forgot to turn off my activity one day and it ran for three full hours, but that only drained the battery by a few percents.
Monitoring your sleep with the Bip
I found the sleep monitoring on the Bip to be accurate. It tracks your light sleep, deep sleep, and time slept so you can get a decent picture of your night. I always find this data interesting, especially if I’m really tired by 3 or 4 pm. That’s the moment when I look back at the history, see that I barely had any deep sleep, and understand why I’m practically dragging myself around.
Using the Mi Fit and AmazTools app
To get the most out of the watch you need to download both the Mi-Fit and AmazTools app. Mi-Fit keeps track of your heart rate, exercise, and sleep history, while AmazTools offers more watch faces and increased versatility. It lets you connect to your music playlists and control them by tapping the watch, toggle your phone’s flashlight off and on by pressing the button on the side, or activate the camera on your phone.
Should you choose Amazfit Bip?
The biggest pros of this smartwatch are the always-on touchscreen, the consistent heart rate monitoring, and long battery life. I love the easy-to-swap watch faces, and I love the vibration for calls, texts, and app notifications. It’s also lightweight, easy to wear, and didn’t interfere with my sleep.
The downside is, if you do different types of exercise like I do, your watch probably won’t track them. The ½ hour duration rule means if you split your workout up, it won’t track it either. The best thing to do in that case is just let it run and it will track your highs and lows for the duration.
If you’re looking for a versatile smartwatch that won’t break the bank, one with heart rate monitoring and ease of use, the Amazfit Bip is a great choice. It’s available in black, white, and kokoda green, right now on Best Buy.
This article was originally posted on BestBuy.ca