In the world of wearables, smartwatches are usually known for being fairly expensive. That’s why the Amazfit Bip, from Huami (an offshoot of Xiaomi) seems so interesting — it’s a smartwatch that has GPS and optical heart rate monitoring, plus a 30-day battery life, and it’s under $100. Too good to be true? Let’s find out.
Though the Amazfit is cheap, it strongly resembles its more expensive counterparts. This is nice because it doesn’t look cheap on the wrist, and in fact has a similar silhouette to the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Versa.
It definitely doesn’t feel like one of those more expensive smartwatches, however. Instead, it has a more plasticky feel that can even be called flimsy. But it’s very lightweight (just 1.1 oz), which makes it easy to wear for long periods of time.
The interface is very basic, but the screen does have a decent look to it, with different options for watch faces and an always-on reflective 1.28-inch color touch display. You won’t see the same quality of resolution as a premium smartwatch, but that’s a fair trade-off given the super low price.
The Bip comes in four colors, so there are a few options to choose from. You can adjust the backlight levels (there are 5 levels total) and it is easy to read in bright sunlight.
That’s about all there is to say about design. Key takeaways? It’s very minimalist, has a cheap feel, but has a functional and usable design and interface.
The Bip has the essential smartwatch features you’d expect, like smart notifications, a touch screen, weather, and so forth. It doesn’t have an app store, so there isn’t potential for more. However, this minimalism works well for those in the market for essentials like reminders and texts on their wrist. It also has alarms and a stopwatch, which is handy.
It isn’t water resistant but it will handle splashes and rain.
It’s really the long battery life that’s the big story in this department. No other smartwatch even comes close to the 30-day plus battery life of the Bip. While the actual battery life will vary depending on how often you use features like GPS, you’ll still get an absurdly long time out of a single charge.
Another key feature that’s pretty unexpected given this price point? Onboard GPS. Not even the Fitbit Versa has built-in GPS, so this is a real treat on this particular device.
With the Bip, you’ll get the essential lineup of fitness tracking: namely, activity (steps, distance, and calories), heart rate, and sleep tracking. It has just four sport modes for exercise tracking (cycling, walking, running, and treadmill), so you won’t get comprehensive data or excellent fitness tracking like you would with a more expensive device or dedicated fitness tracker.
There are some reports of inconsistent tracking, so this device probably isn’t a great option for hardcore athletes or those who need accuracy in tracking. This device is still relatively new, so it could definitely see improvements with future updates.
Like the other areas we’ve covered, the main takeaway regarding fitness tracking and the Bip is that it is very basic. If you want to know generally how much you moved in a day, or you want to know your heart rate at various points, this will give you the essential data — how accurate that data will be isn’t something we can confidently report.
This is a pretty exciting prospect for those on a budget who want a smartwatch, or for individuals who just want a bare-bones smartwatch without a lot of frills. The Bip boasts an impressive selection of features for such a small price tag — including GPS and GLONASS and an extra-long battery life — so it’s safe to say you’re getting a lot for a little.
The drawback, of course, is that it looks like a knockoff, and feels like one too, and the accuracy of some of the tracking is questionable.
Is this the right device for you?
- Is under $100 (and frequently on sale for even less)
- Provides solid, if bare-bones, activity tracking
- Is equipped with GPS, optical heart rate sensor, and barometer
- Functions as and looks like a smartwatch
- Has a 30+ day battery life
If it’s in your sights due to the price and/or the battery life, we say go for it — as long as you’re not expecting optimal tracking on par with Apple or Fitbit.