If you like the look of the Apple Watch but don't want to spend $ 400 on one, you should check out the Amazfit Bip S for $ 69.99. It's more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch. It has GPS and 10 sport modes for tracking your activities and workouts. At night, you can wear it in bed to track your sleep. It has a thin, lightweight design and a constantly available color display with cute and customizable dial options. In typical use, you should only need to charge it about every two weeks and it is safe to wear when swimming and showering. Pairing it with the Amazfit app can be a bit difficult, but once you've overcome that hurdle, the Bip S has a lot to offer.
The Bip S is an updated version of the original Bip. There are four color options, including black, white, pink, and white, and orange and blue. I received the pink and white model for this review.
At first glance, the Bip S looks almost like an Apple Watch with its square dial with rounded corners. On closer inspection, the case made of polycarbonate (plastic) shows that it is certainly not a slim Apple Watch made of aluminum. On a positive note, the Bip S, apart from the obvious cost savings in plastic driving, weighs only 1.1 ounces with its comfortable silicone strap. It feels light as a feather on my wrist.
The dial is less than half an inch thick and has a 1.28-inch color display with a resolution of 176 x 176 pixels. It has a strong Corning Gorilla 3 touchscreen with an anti-fingerprint coating that successfully resists stains.
Even with full brightness set, the indoor low-resolution screen is a bit boring and unclear, but it's hard to complain for a $ 70 portable device. The screen is easy to read outdoors, even in bright sunlight.
The Amazfit Bip S (right) is based on the obvious design elements of the Apple Watch (left).
The first connection of the Bip S to the app was quite a struggle. To set it up, put the watch on the charger and plug the charger into a USB port or AC adapter. While waiting for it to charge, you can install the Amazfit app (available for Android and iOS) on your phone and create an account. I already had an account from the Amazfit T-Rex review.
From there, press the plus button in the upper right corner of the app, select Watch and then the Bip S from the list. You will then need to use your phone's camera to scan a QR code on the watch's screen. A check mark appears on the watch screen. Tap to confirm the pairing. You can then choose to enable smartphone app notifications on your Bip S (although you can always edit your app alarm settings later).
At that point, the app started updating the watch's firmware and advised me to keep my phone nearby. This only took about a minute, then the watch was restarted. Here things started to go wrong.
When the watch was restarted, the connection to the app was interrupted and the message "Connect to the app to update" was displayed. I was in a circle in the app. It was called "Connect …" but never did.
I clicked Unpair in the app to see if a fix would fix the problem, but the app didn't respond. An Amazfit spokesman advised me to switch to my phone's Bluetooth settings, tap the icon next to the Bip S, press Forgot this device, turn Bluetooth on and off, open the Amazfit app and try again to join them. This worked and I had no connection problems afterwards.
Navigation and battery life
The Bip S has a physical button on the right that allows you to access the main menu, return to the dial and trigger the backlight to illuminate the screen. The display also lights up when you raise your wrist, and dims when you lower it. The surface has a black background with white text and colorful symbols. It's easy to navigate the screen with a tap and a swipe.
Swipe down from the dial to access Do Not Disturb mode, turn on screen lock, adjust screen brightness, and access music control settings. Swiping left and right from the dial shows the music controls, current weather, and your heart rate. PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) health assessmentand step count. You can swipe down on any of the last four screens for additional information, including a weekly weather forecast, information about your heart rate zones, your PAI for your last seven days, and calorie expenditure.
Pressing the button on the watch opens the main menu where you can access status (for your activity statistics), heart rate, training (for sports tracking), weather, alarms, music controls, settings, compass, timer and PAI statistics.
According to Amazfit, the Bip S can last about 15 days in typical use (if you set the heart rate monitor frequency to every minute, set the screen brightness to 60 percent, and follow three 30-minute workouts a week with GPS enabled) or up to 40 Days of basic use (heart rate monitoring every 30 minutes, brightness set to 10 percent, and tracking a 30-minute workout per week with GPS). If the GPS is running continuously, it will take 22 hours.
After wearing it continuously for 48 hours, I still had 84 percent battery life. During this time I had set the brightness to 100 percent during the day and turned it down completely at night and followed several indoor workouts without GPS using the watch. After five days of pursuing several other activities, including walks with GPS enabled, I still had a 51 percent battery life. It's safe to say that you don't have to worry about charging it that often.
Activity tracking and accuracy of heart rate monitoring
The Bip S offers 10 sport modes: cycling, elliptical trainer, freestyle, indoor cycling, open water outdoors, running outdoors, pool, treadmill and hiking.
It's waterproof to 164 feet so you can wear it while swimming and keep track of your strokes. I carried it in the shower in the pool and even took it out during a paddleboard yoga session on the Gulf of Mexico and it held up well.
Inside there is an accelerometer to measure your speed, GPS and a geomagnetic sensor to determine your location as well as an optical sensor to measure your heart rate.
When you are following a walk or run, the screen shows time, distance, pace and heart rate, as well as the current time and battery level. You can scroll down to see your number of steps, cadence, and step. When testing, the Bip S received a GPS signal after just a few seconds. To stop tracking a workout, press and hold the physical button. After tracking a workout with GPS, a small map of your route will appear on the screen.
According to Amazfit, the heart rate monitor is more accurate than that in the original GDP, while only a fifth of the power is consumed. While testing, I found that it was accurate to measure heart rate at rest, but was sometimes turned off during strenuous workouts. I tested it on an Apple Watch Series 5 that we know has accurate heart rate values, and the results were always the same or very similar at rest.
See how we test fitness trackers
However, during strenuous strength training, the heart rate measurements often differed from the results I got with both the Apple Watch Series 5 and the optical heart rate monitor that came with Tempo Studio. While pursuing strength training with the freestyle option, the Bip S indicated that my heart rate was 103 beats per minute while the Tempo Studio monitor felt it clocked at 174 beats per minute or zone 5. During another workout, the Apple Watch Series 5 reported that my heart rate was 142 beats per minute, while the Bip S only showed 88 beats per minute.
If you activate continuous heart rate monitoring on the Bip S, you can set the detection frequency to 1, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. The watch also features a feature called activity detection that automatically increases the heart rate measurement frequency during exercise. This feature is disabled by default because it shortens battery life. However, you can activate them via the Amazfit app (navigate to Profile> Amazfit Bip S> Heart rate detection and activate activity detection).
I highly recommend enabling this feature as it improves the accuracy of the watch's heart rate measurements during strenuous workouts. Even when it was turned on, the readings were off by 15 bpm at certain points, but they were consistent with what I saw most of the time on the Apple Watch Series 5.
When you're done tracking a workout, the watch sends your stats to the app. The metrics vary depending on the type of workout, but you'll always see a graph of your heart rate, including your average and maximum readings for that session and the time you've spent in each heart rate zone. For workouts with GPS enabled, you can display a color-coded map of your route at any point, showing your general pace (slow to fast). It also shows your average speed, cadence, calories burned and steps.
The Bip S offers idle alerts that remind you to move when you are inactive for an hour during the day, as well as goal notifications when you reach your goal steps or burn calories.
The slim, light design makes the Bip S easy to carry while you sleep. You can't view sleep data on the watch itself, but all of your stats are available in the app, including a sleep score from one to 100. After a good night's sleep, I slept 7 hours and 19 minutes and gave myself a sleep score of 99.
The app also shows you how much time you have been awake, in deep sleep, light sleep and what phase of sleep you were in at any time. It records your statistics for the past week, month, and year, so you can see the average time you fall asleep and wake up, and how much time you typically spend each sleep period.
It also compares your sleep statistics with those from "similar users" (i.e. people who are the same age as you and live in the same region). It is said that I fall asleep earlier than 56 percent of people and sleep longer than 84 percent.
The Bip S offers some nifty features that go beyond sleep and fitness tracking, including customizable faces, notifications via smartphone apps, basic controls for music on your phone, an alarm clock, and a compass. It also has a barometer and shows a weather forecast for the coming week.
One of the first things I did was change the dial. You can access various watch face options yourself in the watch's Settings menu, or scroll through the app and select one. There are over 40 to choose from, two of which are customizable, so you can choose which features appear on the dial for easy access. I took the cute face of the panda that makes me happy every time I look at it.
The watch did a good job of displaying notifications on smartphone apps and notifying me when I had a call. The compass was accurate and the alarms worked. You can set one-time and repeated alarms in the app and the watch vibrates gently at the specified time. You can then turn the alarm off or close. The music controls also worked so that I could pause the tracks playing on my phone, go forward or backward in a playlist, and adjust the volume.
Comparisons and conclusions
In terms of what you get for the money, the Amazfit Bip S is essentially in a league of its own. For $ 69.99, it offers a large color touchscreen, 10 sport tracking modes, sleep tracking, and GPS for running and walking outdoors. It's waterproof so you can swim, and it has a secure band so you don't have to worry about losing it. Adding basic smartwatch features like app notifications from your phone, customizable watch faces, music controls, and more adds to its appeal. I found the setup process cumbersome and the heart rate monitor isn't the best, but if you can overcome these problems, the Bip S offers a lot of value for its low price.
In the under $ 100 range, Editors & Choice's Wyze Band is also worth a look, especially if you own Alexa-enabled smart home products. It has fewer fitness tracking features than the Bip S, but it does have a brighter (though smaller) screen and allows you to control Wyze and Alexa-enabled devices from your wrist for just $ 25.
If you can expand your budget in the meantime, check out Fitbit Charge 4 for $ 149.95, another fitness tracker from Editors & # 39; Choice. It doesn't have a color screen, but it does offer more comprehensive fitness tracking options, supports mobile payments, and has a more robust companion app.
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