Xiaomi Huami Amazfit Bip Smartwatch Review

Xiaomi Huami Amazfit Bip Smartwatch Review

The Xiaomi Huami Amazfit Bip was first introduced in February 2018. At the time of writing, this is the cheapest smartwatch Xiaomi has to offer. The brandname – Huami Amazfit – does not yet same much, however, it is partnered with Xiaomi. We of course know Xiaomi from the poplar Mi Band series that are mainly marketed as fitness trackers and accessories. Huami Amazfit devices are closer to, and are intended to be, to smartwatches.

The Amazfit Bit was introduced at about 100 dollars. Its price has now settled at around $75. This is  really cheap when you consider that it comes with a long battery life, a ‘large’ screen, GPS, heart rate sensor, notification support and much more.

Is the Amazfit Bip worth its money and is it a formidable smartwatch? You can read that in this review.

This product was used in combination with OnePlus One 64GB Zwart

Price and specifications

Huami Amazfit Bip
Price $74.39 (at the time of writing)
Screen 1,28″ (always on), Gorilla Glass 3
Sensors Heart rate monitor, Barometer, Compass
Connectivity GPS, Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery 200mAh Li-Polymer
Dimensions 2.1 x 2.3 x 2.4 inches
Weight 1.1 ounces or 32 gram
Certificates IP68, dust and waterproof
Strap 20mm
Colors Onyx Black, Cinnabar Red, Kokoda Green, White Cloud
Supports iOS 9.0, Android 4.4 and higher
Website amazfit.com

Unboxing and gallery

The Amazfit Bip comes in a pretty fancy box, at least for the standards we are used in this price range. On the top we can read the brand name, while at the bottom a number of specifications can be found – unfortunately, only in Chinese.

Huami Amazfit Bip packaging

As with most packaging, the first thing that emerges is the device itself.

Huami Amazfit Bip unboxing

Under the watch you will find the manual and the charging dock. The manual is in Chinese, but also n English – again, a nice addition for this price range. To get a better idea what the Amazfit Bip looks like in real life, and aside from marketing material found online, here are some pictures:

Initial set up

Before the initial set up, we first had to charge the smartwatch. This did not take long at all and in about 30 minutes it was ready for use. The Amazfit Bip needs to be connected to your smartphone by means of the Mi Fit app, which is available for Android (4.4 and higher) and iOS (9 or higher). Mi Band users will be familiar with this app, as it is the exact same app used for the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. If you are using a Mi Band that is linked to the Mi Fit app, you will need to unlink it before the Amazfit Bip can be linked. Existing (Fitness) data should not be deleted.

If you are new to the app, you will be prompted to create a Mi Account, while it is also possible to log in with a Facebook or Gmail account:

After you have created and activated your account, the Amazfit Bit can be linked. To do so, navigate to the ‘Profile’ tab and click on ‘Add device’. After that the steps are self-explanatory.

One issue to note is that after linking the firmware may need to be updated. In our case, the Amazfit Bip took almost 30 minutes to do so. During this process updates were made to Firmware, Resources, GPS and A-GPS.

This is how the updates look like in the app:

And this is how it looks like on the Amazfit Bip:

After updating, the Huami Amazfit Bip smartwatch is ready for use and can be set up using the Mi Fit app.

The Mi Fit App

Just to be clear, the Mi Fit App is the official app for the Amazfit Bip, where Huami and Xiaomi have partnered in the release of this smartwatch. The Mi Fit App can be downloaded from this link in the Play Store. There are nevertheless a lot of other apps available, which we will briefly discuss below. The Mi Fit App has three tabs: Status, Activity and Profile. After opening the app, the smartwatches data, such as steps, heart rate and workout data, are always synchronised first.

Status

In the Status window you can quickly view the latest data – it functions like an overview panel for all the ready-to-hand information. There is an overview of the number of steps, sleep data, last workout, heart rate, weight and last streak.

Activity

You can start a new workout or view a previous one in the Activity tab. There is a weekly, monthly and complete / overall overview. When a workout is started via this tab, the internal GPS will be used.

Furthermore, when you tap on one of the workouts, you will be prompted with the following data: route, speed, distance, time, altitude differences, heart rate as well as graphs further representing this data.

Profile

The profile settings can be found in the Profile tab, where you can set the Amazfit Bip to your liking and change standard settings.

As you can see from the images, it is possible to change the following settings: screen unlock (Smartlock), Incoming calls, Event reminder, Alarms, App alerts (Notifications), Idle alert, Incoming SMS, Goal notification, Disconnect reminder, Band location, Heart rate detection, Watch Display settings. Most settings speak for themselves, but some parts are worth a closer look.

Watch face settings

Through this window it is possible to select a ‘Watch face’. By default, it is not possible to add or modify watch faces yourself, but this is possible via a detour or via another app. More about this in a chapter below. For now, here are a few examples of watch faces. The app gives you a choice of 10 watch faces and there are additional 12 watch faces via the smartwatch (though some options overlap):

 App alerts

The Amazfit Bip is also able to receive notifications. You can select which for which apps notifications ought to be displayed on the watch, however unfortunately that is where settings for app alerts stop. It is not, for example, possible to change the vibration pattern or adjust its strength.

Heart rate monitor

In contrast to the Mi Band 2, and where the Amazfit Bit excels, it is possible to ‘continuously’ measure your heart rate. You can choose between: measuring only while sleeping or constantly with an interval of 1 minute, 10 or 30 minutes.

  Software

The Amazfit Bip does not come with a familiar OS, such as Android Wear, Tizen or watchOS. Instead, it comes with inhouse OS created by Huami. The OS supports notifications, workouts, weather, alarms, timers and compass. There is also a lot to set up on the band itself.

There is a clear disadvantage to this: no apps can be installed on the Amazfit Bip (e.g. Spotify or Google Maps). The disadvantage is largely personal and dependent on your phone, because it is more likely than not that you will be using your phone for these apps anyway.

The initial interface of the OS is relatively simple, partly because the screen only supports a limited colour range. Nevertheless, using the smartwatch is very intuitive. It is based on swipes: a swipe to the left means forwards and a swipe to the right means backwards (you can also use the button on the side to go back). Naturally, you can also go deeper into the menu by simply pressing the tiles.

The Amazfit Bip has an ‘always-on’ display and that means that the set watch face is always in view. To activate the screen, you must press the button on the side, which will also turn on the backlight.

Swiping down will bring up the status screen. Here you will find the remaining battery percentage, connection status, and you can turn on the do-not-disturb functionality (DND). There are two options for DND: Now and Auto. With Now, DND is switched on immediately for an unlimited period of time, and with Auto, DND is switched on automatically while sleeping.

A swipe to the left continues in the menu. This menu contains a number of different options, all of which are discussed below. The order and options of the menu can be adjusted in the Mi Fit app.

Note: The pictures look bluer here than they are in reality.

Everyday use

It’s time to take a look at our experiences in practice. I will primarily draw comparisons with the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. Being a smartwatch and not only a fitness tracker, you can expect that the Amazfit Bip exceeds expectations and is a vast improvement on the Mi Band 2. In what follows, I thus aim to show in which ways the smartwatch by Amazfit is better than than thi Mi Band 2.

Screen

The main reason to upgrade to a smartwatch over a fitness tracker is the size of the screen. In this case, we have a larger one. However, as mentioned above, the Amazfit Bit has an always-on screen, which is arguably a better option than a tracker that most of the time functions as a ‘bracelet’.

The screen on the Amazfit Bip is beautiful and easy to read, also outside and even when the backlight is not on. There is quite some information that can fit on 1.28″, as can be seen from the many picture included in this article, and I don’t have the feeling that I have to scroll that often to display relevant information.

Navigation

The navigation is mainly controlled by gestures, which is extremely user friendly and intuitive. Small arrows indicate whether there are any windows above or below the current page, so you don’t have to swipe blindly in the hope that there are more screens. One quickly gets used to where in the ‘navigation’ they are. In addition, the interface is nice and smooth. One thing we noticed is that the smartwatch sometimes has trouble combining navigating between screens and receiving (perhaps too many?) notifications.

Notifications

Speaking of notifications, they are quite basic. Compared to the Mi Band 2, there is a full notification on the screen. However, there is no option (that we can find at least) to set notifications per contact or to set a different vibration pattern depending on levels of importance. This makes the Amazfit Bip vibrate with every notification that you receive, or none at all.

This may not be too problematic for most of us. But, if you are part of many WhatsApp groups, things can get quite hectic and your wrist will vibrate with every notification you receive. Like I said, you can easily turn on the DND (do not disturb) mode, which turns off vibrating with every notification as well. A very important note here is that this is the default behavior of the software out of the box. You can install 3rd party apps which allow for more control over notifications and vibrations. More about this in the next chapter.

Wearing comfort

The Amazfit Bip is really very comfortable, and the supplied strap is nice and soft and very easy to adjust. Moreover, the heart rate sensor does not protrude that much and therefore does not press into the skin. Compared to the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, this is a large improvement, because the heart rate sensor of the Mi Band does protrude more where the bottom of the sensor feels rather hard to the skin.

On the negative side, the location of the button could be better, at least compared to the Mi Band 2. The button on the Amazfit Bip is on the right side. This is typically not an issue for most users who wear their watch on their left hand. If you are wearing your smartwatch on your right hand however, it becomes more difficult to press the button and you will have to ‘go around’ the smartwatch to press it. Some manufacturers have worked around this issue by making it easier to simply rotate the smartwatch 180 degrees and wear it on any hand. With the Amazfit Bit this does not look that great because then the Amazfit logo is upside-down and there is no possibility to rotate the interface 180 degrees. Nevertheless, this is a minor inconvenience because most navigation happens on the screen.

Workouts

One of the major benefits of the Amazfit Bip is that it is a ‘standalone’ smartwatch. While you have to pair it for a lot of the functions, this does not have to happen at all times. The Bip can sync the data at a later time.

As an example of our own experience, while cycling you can check the current speed, monitor your heart rate, altitude and calculate the distance cycled. After the workout you can sync the data with the smartphone and view progress via the app. Our impression is that the speed and distance calculations are very accurate, so the GPS works pretty well. We expect the same to be the case of the heart rate monitor and steps counter.

Battery life and charging time

One of the main features of the Amazfit Bip and a strong selling point is the enormous standby time. Amazfit claims that the Bip can be on standby for 30 to 45 days. This is a claim that is difficult to test and prove during a review period. After all, one wants to use their smartwatch and not just leave it on the nightstand for a month for testing purposes. And the Amazfit Bip is such a nice smartwatch, that we could hardly leave it on the table for one month even if we wanted to.

So what is our experience of the battery life? For the past 7 days, after fully charging it, there is still have 37% battery left, so ‘only’ 63% of it has been used. If this does not sound impressive, keep in mind that this is an always-on smartwatch that was intensively used for a review.

Here is some data on the battery life:

What we did% per hourBattery life in hoursBattery life in days
Workout6.25%16 hours0.7 days
Sleep tracker0.375%266 hours11 days
Standby0.125%800 hours33 days
Charging timeFully charged in 1 hour

If we were to translate the standby time to days, you do get a nifty 33 days that falls within the range of manufacturers’ claim of 30 to 45 days.

Charging

Charging the Amazfit Bip is amazingly simple and is a matter of putting the smartwatch in the loading dock. Once you do that the charging message appears on the screen. The charging dock has a USB-B connection and must be powered by at least 5V/0.5A. We tried charging the smartwatch only once, and the Amazfit Bip was fully charged again from 37% within 30 minutes. This is also in line with the charging specification and the size of the battery.

Alternative apps

With popularity of Xiaomi’s Mi Band 2, a lot of 3rd party developers released apps to get more out of the fitness tracker. For the Amazfit Bip this is no different and you can find a few good alternatives in Google Play Store, for example the Notify & Fitness for Amazfit, Tools & Amazfit (paid app) and Gadgetbridge are all good alternatives. In addition to that, there are many websites to download custom watch faces, for example from Amazfitwatchfaces.com and Amazfit Bip WatchFaces App.

Accessories

You can order quite a few accessories for the Amazfit Bip, mainly found on eBay or Amazon shops. You can also order directly from Chinese webshops if you are willing to wait for shipping time.

Straps

Since the Bip works with standard 20mm straps, other straps can be put on very easily. The strap comes with a clip that loosens it and allows for attaching a different one.

Cases

Similarly, there are cases available at various shops. These are similar to smartphone cases and aim to cover over the edges of the smartwatch and thus protects the sides. They are available in many different colors. The case does not detract at all from the Amazfit Bip and it is hard to see that it is on it.

Screen protector

Although the Amazfit Bip come with a Gorilla Glass 3, just as with smartphone (and perhaps even more so) it may be wise to purchase a screen protector.

You can find all kinds of accessories for the Amazfit Bip on eBay or Amazon.

Conclusion

To conclude, the Xiaomi Amazfit Bip is a smartwatch that ticks quite a few of our boxes. The price is great (we would say even low), the screen is crisp and clear, there are many sensors for all your tracking needs, and there are great number of settings and options. As a fitness  and sports watch the Amazfit Bip works well out of the box, has a heart rate sensor, a very accurate GPS, and keeps good track of your workouts independent of your smartphone being present.

As a smartwatch, there are a few minor improvements to be made for an ‘out-of-the-box’ user friendly experience. This is almost exclusively due to the notifications. Nevertheless, there a great many 3rd party developers who have created great apps (both free and paid) that make the smartwatch functionality significantly better. Notifications are easy to set up, music can be managed via the button and custom Watchfaces can be downloaded and created.

The Xiaomi Amazfit Bip is a simple smartwatch that can be used well as a supplement to your smartphone, combined with a really good battery life of about 15 days and a purchase price of just $75. All this makes it really the perfect smartwatch.

This review first appeared on tweakers.net

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