The Amazfit Bip is a super affordable smartwatch/fitness tracker that has an incredible battery life, is extremely lightweight, and packed with features you wouldn’t expect on a budget tracker like GPS + GLONASS. Selling for less than $100 it has caught the attention of many, especially since it looks a lot like the Apple Watch in appearance. In function however it is its’ own critter but I really like it.
View the [amazon_textlink asin=’B07CRSK5DM’ text=’Amazfit Bip’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thejournier-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2f2fe80a-8c24-11e8-af21-0fd26b2118ab’] on Amazon
Amazfit Bip Quick Specs:
- Screen type: Transflective Always-on Display
- Gorilla Glass Screen
- IP 68 (Waterproof for swimming up to 30 minutes, 1 meter deep)
- 20mm Quick Release Strap
- Heart rate sensor, barometer, accelerometer, geomagnetic sensor (compass)
- GPS + GLONASS
- Weight with strap: 32g
- Connection: Bluetooth 4.0
- Battery Life: Up to 45 days; continuous GPS up to 22 hours
- Compatible with both iPhone and Android
Why I Really Like the Bip
Some of the main reasons why I like the Amazfit Bip is that at has many of features that I want in a fitness tracker. It has GPS+GLONASS, colorized heart rate zones during workouts, compass, weather widget, notifications, a reliable Bluetooth connection, a great looking screen outdoors and very good backlighting for indoors.
It’s also lightweight and comfortable, has easy to change straps, and a very nice look to it. While I have several other watches to choose from, the Bip is still very often on my wrist.
Heart Rate Accuracy
After several tests, I can say that the HR sensor works well, especially for a budget friendly fitness tracker and smartwatch.
As you can see from the image below, the Bip’s HR data was nearly identical to the Garmin Fenix 5s from a treadmill workout. The average heart rate estimate for the Fenix was 116 with a max heart rate of 146. The Bip estimated the average heart rate at 118 with a max of 147, so very close between the two.
In another test, while cycling outdoors, the Bip again performed very well against the Fenix 5s, not only for heart rate but also estimated distance and speed from its’ built-in GPS. You can read more about this and see all the data compared side by side.
Below are the heart rate results of the Amazfit Bip (top) and the Fenix 5s (bottom). The results are practically identical.
Versus a Chest Heart Rate Monitor
In my tests against a chest heart rate monitor the Bip performed well. It behaved similarly to other optical heart rate sensors I’ve tested in that at times it overestimates my heart rate during a workout but the vast majority of the time it’s within 1-3 bpm compared to the CHM.
The Bip gives you the option to have your heart rate measured 24/7. The most frequently it will measure your heart rate is once per minute, or you can have it measure once every 10 minutes, or just turn it off and it will only measure your heart rate when an activity is running.
I’ve been having my heart rate measured every minute to determine how well it calculates my resting heart rate and it’s done a very good job compared to the Fenix and other watches.
There was a few times when the HR sensor was inaccurate during a couple workouts but that was early in my testing and after having the watch for a few months, and after some firmware updates, the heart rate accuracy has been very good.
Heart Rate Accuracy Grade: B+
Step Count Accuracy
Like many fitness trackers I’ve tested, the Bip misses quite a few steps I take while I walk in my house. If I walk less than 20 steps or so it usually doesn’t count them. During workouts and longer walks though it has been very good at calculating steps.
I’m okay with that because I figure I’m not burning a boatload of calories just walking back and forth to the kitchen but it’s surprising how many steps I do take in my house daily. The Fenix detects all of them and by the end of the day the Bip will show about 500 fewer steps than the Fenix, although the Fenix is probably a bit too generous with step counting.
Step Count Grade: B
The Amazfit Bip has both GPS and GLONASS and in my testing the GPS connects reliably and keeps the connection. It usually connects within 2 minutes or less. So far it’s always been able to locate my position.
Consistently the Bip has been overestimating distance by about 10-15% compared against other devices which is more than I’d like to see.
I performed a GPS test between the Suunto Spartan Trainer WHR and the Bip on a hike. The Bip did a pretty darn good job remaining connected to me on this test but overestimated the distance by about .15 miles.
To get a better idea of the Bips’ GPS accuracy I used it against the Garmin eTrex 20 handheld GPS and the Bip estimated my hike as two-tenths of a mile greater in distance compared against the eTrex. The Bip estimated the hike as 1.12 miles while the eTrex estimated .92 miles.
June 29 2018 UPDATE: I’ve been retesting the GPS on the Bip and the GPS performance has improved. The Bip regularly receives GPS optimization updates and they must have made a difference because I’m seeing very good results now. I’m bumping up the original B- grade to a B+. See those new results here.
GPS Grade: B+
If there’s any area where the Bip falls short it would be sleep tracking. For example, when I get up early in the morning at around 4am to take care of the dogs (yes they wake me up that early) it isn’t able to detect me falling back to sleep after I go back to bed.
Also, if I have the watch off of my wrist it thinks I’m asleep, even if I have continuous heart rate monitoring enabled.
So yeah, it needs some improvements. I think a firmware upgrade could help and I hope one is coming.
Sleep Tracking Grade: C
Another area where the Bip is inconsistent is calorie burn estimates. It usually estimates calories burned during activities much lower than everything I’ve compared it to. This is something else that a software upgrade could easily improve. It does seem to do better with the GPS workouts however.
Calorie Counting Grade: C
The Bip is a very lightweight watch that is comfortable to wear. It’s reflective screen is easy to read both indoors and outdoors. You can enable the backlight to turn on when turning your wrist too. And of course because of its reflective display, the brighter the sun the better the screen looks.
Many budget fitness trackers are nearly unreadable in bright sunlight. That’s not the case with the Bip because of the type of screen display technology it uses.
The strap on the Bip is a comfortable silicone and holds the watch in place well during workouts. The straps are also quick release so you can quickly swap them out with other straps. Any 20 mm wide strap will work with it so you can change the look of the watch to match your personality, mood, or style.
The only thing I’m not a big fan of is the charging cradle. It’s a tight fit and I worry about breaking the watch if I force it into the cradle the wrong way. Luckily, since it does have such a long battery life, I don’t have to charge it very often.
Build Quality Grade: B
The battery life is really good. Since I have 24/7 heart rate monitoring turned on and regularly use the GPS for workouts I’m not going to get the full 30-45 days but easily a good two weeks or so.
Be careful what watch face you choose though because some can be battery hogs.
Battery Life Grade: A
App and Bluetooth Connectivity
The Bip uses the Mi Fit app and I’m happy with it. I wish syncing was a little faster but it’s a full-featured app that lets you look over data from your activities/workouts in an easy to read layout. You can choose to have it connected with Google Fit to have your activity data sent to your Google Fit account.
I haven’t had any trouble with losing Bluetooth connection or the Bip not reconnecting when I come back in range of my phone. It’s been very reliable. I’m using it with the Samsung Galaxy S7.
App/Connectivity Grade: A
The Bip also is equipped with a weather widget, an alarm that has to be set up through the app, a timer, and a compass. It can also display your GPS coordinates, the air pressure, and your elevation once connected to GPS. The information is pretty darn accurate too.
There’s not many watch faces to choose from on the watch or through the app and many are in the 24-hr format but a couple 12-hour versions are available. However, you can download other watch faces to the Bip through a third-party app called Amazfit Bip Watchfaces. There’s many to choose from, some very reminiscent of Pebble Time watch faces.
Overall, I would recommend the Amazfit Bip to anyone wanting an affordable smartwatch that also has some nice activity tracking features. I like the looks of the watch and its easy to use interface and menus. The battery life is awesome and its biggest selling point besides its affordable price.
Having both GPS and GLONASS on a watch that costs less than $100 is amazing. I also appreciate that the watch can handle getting wet. I wouldn’t wear it in the water for long periods of time (it’s rated for swimming only up to 30 minutes in shallow water) but if you happen to fall in or submerge the watch in water for a few minutes it should be fine.
I do wish that it had more activities to choose from. It is limited in that respect. I’d like to see stationary bike and hiking added. Currently, for hiking you’ll want to select outdoor running because it displays elevation ascent and descent and other helpful information. Walking doesn’t display this information.
Some software tweaks I’d like to see are improved sleep tracking and calorie burn estimates. I’d also like to be able to access the compass while an activity is running. The only way to do that now is to end the activity. A live breadcrumb trail with a compass heading during GPS activities would be great too.
I think overall it’s a good watch, especially for anyone wanting a budget friendly GPS smartwatch that has some very good features usually not found in the Bip’s price range.
I also like that you can personalize the look of it with different straps and other accessories and that it comes in 4 different color options.
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