Hi I’m Gidon from thetechnologyman.com The Amazfit Bip smart watch has a built in
optical heart rate monitor and GPS receiver, a gorilla glass touch display and up to 45
days of battery life and it costs from only £45 or $65, depending on where you buy it
from. But is it any good? *First impressions* It’s hard to know what to expect from a smart
watch at this price, but first impressions are very good. The watch comes well packaged
and doesn’t look hugely dissimilar to an Apple Watch. It’s a little on the small size for
my taste, but surprisingly thin considering the amount of technology inside.
The 20mm standard sized strap is comfortable and can be easily changed if desired.
It comes with a USB charger dock and some instructions to get started. Charging the
190mAh Li-Polymer battery takes one to two hours, although mine arrived with enough battery
to get started straight away. The watch is very lightweight at only 31g.
It’s weight and slender design mean it can be worn at night comfortably if you want to
monitor your sleep, which I’ll come to shortly. *Getting started* To get started, you’ll need to pair the watch
to an Apple or Android smart phone. Download the Mi Fit app from the App or Play
store and follow the prompts to get connected to the Bip.
The app does prompt you to create an account which I’m never keen on, but it’s a fairly
straightforward process, especially using your Google login. It’ll then prompt you to
connect to the Bip. You only need to ensure Bluetooth is turned on, the app will take
care of the Bluetooth pairing. The whole process is very smooth and initial
impressions of the Mi Fit app on my iPhone were good and far better than I was expecting. *Watch overview* The default watch face is minimalist but nicely
designed, showing the time, heart rate and steps. To activate the touch screen, you need
to press the side button, which also turns on the backlight. The display is very crisp
without the backlight on, but you need decent lighting to see it. With the backlight on,
it doesn’t look quite as sharp, but still more than adequate.
After pressing the side button, swipe down to to turn on or off Do Not Disturb mode.
Swipe up to see any notifications. Swipe right to see the weather forecast for the day. The
Weather screen pulls basic information on the weather in your area configured in the
Mi Fit app. I found this a little temperamental, sometimes having to open the Mi Fit app to
force the weather information to sync across. The Status screen shows steps, heart rate,
distance and calories burned. This screen will provide a current heart rate reading
when the heart icon stops pulsing. Tap on the Activity screen to choose one of
the 4 categories: Outdoor running, Treadmill, Cycling or Walking. Tap on the screen to start
the activity. You can wait for GPS reception or just tap Skip and the activity will start,
usually picking up GPS reception shortly afterwards. The activity screen will vary depending on
the activity, and you can scroll down for further details. Pressing the side button
will also scroll through the pages. A long press of the side button will finish
the activity. A long press of the side button from any screen, will automatically start
the default activity, which can be configured in the Settings screen, which I’ll show shortly.
You can also view previous activities in the Activity History screen, swiping again to
the left takes you to the Activity Settings screen that lets you configure heart rate,
pace and distance alerts and also enable or disable the auto-pause feature.
On the Alarms screen, you can turn alarms on and off, but these need to be created in
the Mi Fit app. From the Timer screen, you can start a stopwatch
with a lap timer, and also a countdown timer. The Compass screen prompts you to do a exaggerated
figure of eight with your arm to calibrate it, but once done it works fine. You can swipe
across to view your GPS location, together with your altitude and even barometric pressure.
Finally the Settings screen lets you choose your watch face, with more available in the
Mi Fit app. The minimalist watch face is the one to go for if you want to save battery
life. Here’s also where you can choose the default
activity for a long press of the side button. You can also adjust the brightness of the
backlight, and there’s a handy feature to locate your paired phone using the Find Device.
There’s also an option for Factory Resetting your watch and turning the watch off completely. *The Mi Fit app* The accompanying Mi Fit app is where you can customise
the watch further, view your activities in detail, and view charts of steps, heart rate
and sleep over days, weeks or months. It’s really quite an impressive app, which is well
presented and mostly intuitive. When you open the app, it syncs across to
the watch which usually takes 30 seconds or so. The Home or Status screen shows your steps,
last night’s sleep, the last recorded activity and your heart rate. You can configure this
home page by tapping the icon at the bottom of the screen.
Tapping any of these metrics provides further details with a History icon at the bottom
that lets your track the metrics over time. It’s comprehensive to say the least. And if
you’re someone who likes to share, that’s also made very easy.
From the Activity tab, you can view your previous activities and even use the app to record
an activity, but there’s much better apps for that like Strava or Endomondo.
The Profile tab is where you can configure the watch further. Tap on the Amazfit Bip
and you can choose from another 11 watch faces. You can only sync one of these watch faces
across at a time. The Incoming Call option lets you get an alert
on your phone when someone phones you. You can’t answer the call on the watch, but at
least you can see who’s calling and choose to hang up or ignore without getting you phone
out. Event Reminders lets you set reminders which
will display and vibrate on your watch. You can add alarms under Watch Alarms. These
can then be turned on or off here, or on the watch itself as I showed earlier.
The App Alerts allows you to choose which notifications are displayed on your watch.
Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can be individually set. Other apps like Strava
and Life 360 for instance are lumped together in Other, and are displayed with an generic
“App” icon on the watch. If you tap on “More”, you’ll most likely want to turn on Incoming
SMS as well. And you can also set Idle alerts here, to make the watch vibrate if you’ve
done no activity in the last hour. The Find Watch feature may help you find your
mislaid watch, but it’s only a short vibration and with no audible alarm, you’ll probably
only find it if it’s on a hard surface. Under Heart Rate Detection, I turn on Automatic
rate detection which checks your heart rate at regular intervals (which I set to 1 minute).
But that will reduce battery life. If you turn off automatic detection, you can always
take a reading in the Status screen, waiting for the heart icon to stop pulsing. And heart
rate is also constantly measured when you start an activity. To enable and track probably
the most useful heart rate metric, resting heart rate, you’ll need to enable the automatic
heart rate mode. You can configure the watch screen in the
Watch Display Settings, arranging the order of the screens and hiding items screens you
don’t want. Under Weather Settings you can set your current
location and your desired weather units. Back on the Profile screen, you can set your
steps goal, which defaults to 8,000 steps, and you can also configure accounts you’d
like to sync with. The biggest disappointment with the Mi Fit
app, on iOS at least, is there’s no option to sync with well know fitness apps like Strava
or Endomondo. In fact there’s no way to export your activity to any other application at
this time. If you have an Android device, you can purchase a third party app called
Notify and Fitness that will do this, but it’s not ideal. Hopefully Amazfit will enable
Strava sync or at least some way of exporting your activities. But the Mi Fit app does display
your activities in great detail. You can at least sync steps, sleep and weight
across to the iPhone’s Health app if you want. Finally you can set your preferred units in
Settings. *Performance and battery life* The watch maintains a good connection to your
phone, and the range is good. I can leave my phone in another room charging, and I’ll
still see notifications coming through. If you are too far away, depending on your chosen
watch display, you’ll see a red cross through the Bluetooth symbol.
The watch vibration can’t be configured, but it’s just right, for me at least. Occasionally,
for no apparent reason, some notifications don’t get pushed to the phone. But generally
it works reliably. Steps appear to be accurate, with the watch
reporting approximately the same as my iPhone X. It’s a shame it doesn’t record floors climbed
like many activity trackers, but that’s not something I’ve ever found particularly reliable
anyway. The built in GPS is at least as accurate as
my phone’s. It does take a little time to get reception, but that’s to be expected.
Recording activities is easy, it’s just disappointing there’s not much you can do with them at the
moment, on iOS at least, apart from viewing them on the Mi Fit app.
The built in optical heart rate monitor, like others I’ve tried, is not very accurate. It
works ok for resting heart rate which is useful for tracking your general fitness level. Just
ensure that Automatic Heart Rate detection is turned on.
But tracking heart rate during an activity and comparing to a Garmin heart rate strap,
the results are way off. That’s ensuring the watch strap is tight, and even varying the
watch’s position on my wrist. It works best for a long sustained effort, so would work
better for running than cycling for example. It’s not accurate enough to train with, but
it does show the general trend of your heart rate, it just tends to be a lot lower than
your actual heart rate most of the time. Even though you can’t currently export your
activities to Strava, you can use the optical HR monitor with Strava, so long as you start
an activity and the phone is paired with your watch. Tap on Record in Strava, then Devices.
Ensure Heart Rate is enabled and start an activity. You’ll see the heart rate from you
watch transmitted to Strava. The sleep mode function of the watch is well
implemented. After syncing to the Mi Fit app it shows plenty of information on your night’s
sleep, including not only when you fell asleep and when you woke up, but also how much deep
sleep you had and even how your sleep compared to others! I’d recommend having automatic
heart rate detection on, so that your resting heart rate can also be measured as you sleep.
It also makes the sleep monitoring more accurate. Battery life for the Amazfit Bip is quoted
as 30 days in regular use, which sounds far fetched, but whilst it’s hard to test this
claim precisely since it depends so much on how the watch is used, I have found the battery
life to be impressive. I’ve been testing the watch for a couple of
weeks now, with constant heart rate monitoring turned on. I’ve keep it on at all times including
overnight for sleep monitoring. I’ve recorded bike rides and walks with GPS on, I’ve used
a custom watch face which is meant to consume more battery life, and I have all notifications
from my phone turned on which also uses additional battery life. It arrived with around 60% charge,
which with very heavy use lasted around a week. I charged it for just an hour or so
after that first week taking it to around 45% charge, and it lasted another week before
needing charging again. The watch is claimed to be rain and splash
proof to IP68. I’ve worn it in the shower, and washed it off under a tap, and it’s been
fine. I’ve also worn it for repairs on my bike, and DIY without paying being too careful,
and the gorilla glass screen is holding up well.
I’m not used to wearing a watch 24 hours a day, and have started to find the strap a
little uncomfortable, but not significantly. It’s easy to replace to watch strap with any
20mm strap of your choosing. *Conclusions* Considering the price of the Amazfit Bip,
it’s quite hard to criticise. The battery life is excellent, the always-on display is
crisp, the design and build quality is good. Having GPS and an optical heart rate sensor
built in makes it a hugely tempting proposition. The optical heart rate sensor is not particularly
accurate, but I’ve had similar experiences with more expensive watches from Garmin for
instance. It would be great to see some export function for activities, which is impossible
on iOS currently and only possible with a hacked Android phone or the third party Notify
app, also only on Android. But if you can get hold of the watch for under
£50, or $70, I very much doubt you’ll be disappointed. I hope you found the video useful. Please
do like and subscribe if you did, and take a look at thetechnologyman.com for the written
review which includes a summary of the pros and cons of the watch. Thanks for watching!