We touched a little bit on the Amazfit Bip back in June, when it’s price dropped from $99.99-$79.99. Recently, with some big software updates to its companion app, Mi Fit (available on Android and iOS), the Bip is picking up a nice head of steam. Coming from the Huami company, based in Mountain View, CA (a subsidiary of Xiaomi), it’s part of an impressive family of fitness trackers and fitness-first smartwatches. The Bip is our favorite overall fitness wearable for 4 main reasons:
- The transflective display that looks better in sunlight and is extremely energy efficient.
- The 30+ day battery life, mostly because of the efficient display.
- All of the built-in sensors (heart rate, GPS + GLONASS, compass, barometer, and 3-axis accelerometer).
Is It A Smartwatch Or A Fitness Tracker?!
It’s the type of wearable that transcends all categories, including regular watches, and here’s why:
Comparing To Digital Watches:
If you break it down to the basic category of “regular old” digital watches, the only drawbacks are that you have to charge it (once in a while) and it has to be initially set up by connecting it to a smartphone. Other than that, with the HUGE amount of features and low price, you’d be hardpressed to find a cooler digital watch than the Amazfit Bip.
Comparing To Traditional Smartwatches:
When you compare it to traditional smartwatches, the only drawback is the fact that you can’t load extra apps and music onto it. Besides, anyone who’s used a traditional smartwatch to track a long run, hike, or ride using its built-in GPS will usually find themselves having to charge it before the day is done. Also, traditional smartwatches are typically on the heavy and bulky, making them difficult to workout with.
Comparing To GPS Running Watches:
Even putting it up against hardcore GPS running watches, the Bip holds it’s own by tracking a lot of advanced runners metrics and displays most of them directly on the watch in real-time. The metrics include elapsed time, pace, current heart rate, total steps, step frequency (steps/min), stride length, and more.
When you’re done with your activities, you can open up the Mi Fit app and see additional advanced metrics and charts. It also displays how many minutes you were in each heart rate zone (relaxed, light, intensive, aerobic, anaerobic, and V0² max). This may be more metrics than most people will ever need, but it’s nice to know that the Bip and the app will grow with you if you progress past simple step counting. In addition, all of your running, walking, and cycling routes are overlayed on Google maps.
Compared To Fitness Trackers:
The category that we end up defaulting to is fitness trackers, where the big boy on the block is Fitbit. With the Fitbit’s newest tracker, the Charge 3 (release date Oct. 1st, 2018) being one of the closest equivalents, the Amazfit Bip is more than a worthy adversary. Even though it’s not swim-ready like the Charge 3, with the addition of the Bip’s advanced running metrics and built-in GPS, there’s still a lot to love.
Before we get more into the physical features, let’s look at the rest of the software side of the Amazfit Bip. Most of your data can be easily auto-synced to Google Fit and Apple Health, but the Mi Fit app has more than enough options for the average user. If you choose to sync, here are some things to think about:
Syncing To Google Fit
The only negative thing with syncing to Google Fit is that you only get steps, calories, weight, and activities. One big omission is continuous heart rate data, which can only be auto-synced via the app, 3rd-party app, Notify & Fitness for Amazfit (Pro Version – $2.99). Obviously, this can be fixed by a simple software update, but even after the latest “big” update to Google Fit, there’s still A LOT of other improvements to be made. In our opinion, Mi Fit puts Google Fit to shame, and unless you’re using Google Fit as a bridge to get your data to another app, then you’re wasting your phone’s battery by syncing.
Syncing To Apple Health
Apple Health is also pretty limited compared to other fitness apps, but has made huge improvements to the nutritional and medical side of tracking. You can also get all of the basic activities, excluding continuous heart rate, synced from Mi Fit to Apple Health. In addition, there are some 3rd-party apps that can capture continuous heart for syncing purposes, but it’s not free either.
Mi Fit App
The Mi Fit app provides everything you need for tracking your health and fitness, besides meal tracking. Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal is by far the best choice if you looking to include nutritional tracking into your daily routine. This is where the built-in Google Fit and Apple Health auto-sync really pays off. Like we said before, you’ll really only need to use them as a bridge to get your step count and calories burned from Mi Fit to MyFitnessPal and any other apps they’re compatible with.
Here’s what you should expect to see when you open up Mi Fit:
On the home “Status” tab you’ll find:
- Activity Badge – Step count, total distance, and calories burned for the day.
- Sleep – Last night’s total sleep, deep sleep, light sleep, and awake times.
- Activity – Last activity and the main statistics.
- Heart – Current heart rate with a chart showing your continuous readings throughout the day.
- Weight – Current weight with a chart showing weekly manual measurement inputs. This can also be auto-synced using a Xiaomi smart scale.
- Streak – A weekly chart of your daily step-goal outcomes.
The “Activity” tab allows you to track or view stats from the 4 main categories:
- Outdoor Running
- Outdoor Cycling
This is also where you’ll find all of the aforementioned advanced running metrics for more hardcore runners. Plus, you can share your workouts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, right from the Mi Fit app. On the other had, if you want a little more intimacy, you can swap your unique Mi Fit QR code with friends and family, so you can view and compete with them directly from within the app.
Finally, in the “Profile” tab, you’ll find everything you need to fully customize your experience like adjusting settings and swapping watch faces. At the top, it also shows your avg steps/day, total miles, and total goals reached.
One of the more unique options is “behavior tagging.” This allows you to manually measure common situations or add custom situations, so you’re Amazfit Bip will learn your habits and be more likely to auto-track your activity levels properly. This way you’re not adding false steps when riding the bus or receiving “get up and move” reminders when you’re working at your STANDING desk.
(Also, by manually categorizing your activities, this can help Huami (Xiaomi) make improvements to the software updates and hardware on future wearables.
On The Watch
After we got our hands on an Amazfit Bip back in June and had some time to test it out, we’re even more impressed with it than our initial words of praise. From the impressively accurate GPS + GLONASS tracking, all the way down to the battery-efficient always-on display.
Navigation is easy. Swipe right for weather, down for the “do-not-disturb” toggle button, and up for notifications. Swiping to the left will bring up the main menu sections:
- Status – Displays steps, heart rate, total daily miles, calories, and even how many sessions during the day you sat down for more than an hour.
- Activity – Select to start one of the 4 activities and GPS tracking. You can also see past activity stats and modify heart rate, pace, and distance alerts.
- Weather – Current and 4-day forecast
- Settings – watch face selection, brightness, find-my-phone, and more.
The touchscreen is snappy and responsive. Some may not like it, but the nice thing is that you have to press the side button to activate the touchscreen, so no accidental swipes or selections. This is especially nice when you’re wearing it while you sleep.
The Good, The Bad, No Ugly
Here are ALL of the main features that make the Amazfit Bip better than your average fitness wearable and also the few things that we didn’t like:
- 30+ day battery life
- IP68 water resistant and dustproof.
- Built-in GPS + GLONASS tracking that helps capture all of the aforementioned advanced runner’s metrics.
- 24/7 heart rate tracking with the option to have every 1, 5, 10, or 30 minutes.
- Detailed sleep tracking including deep sleep, light sleep, and time awake.
- Built-in compass and barometer.
- 16 stock watch faces. Also, hundreds of extra 3rd-party watch faces for various time, date, weather, heart rate, and/or step count display sets (via the free Amazfit Bip & Cor WatchFaces app on Android; AmazTools app on iOS). For the tech-savvy, you can also create your own.
- Universally compatible with most 20mm watch bands.
- Battery-efficient always-on display and backlight for viewing in the dark.
- Available in 4 exclusive colors (Onyx Black, Cinnabar Red, Kokoda Green, and White Cloud).
- For international users, it has AliPay built-in for mobile purchases.
- Even though it’s IP68 water and dustproof, it’s not swim-ready.
- One-way communication. Displays caller info, texts, and other notifications, but you have to use your phone to answer back.
- The Mi Fit companion app doesn’t have meal tracking like the Fitbit app. (yet!)
To put it simply, the Amazfit Bip is perfect for anyone who wants a remarkably capable fitness tracker without the price tag of other wearables with similar (or even less) features. If this would be your first wearable, then the Amazfit Bip is definitely your best solution. Looking back at the long list of features, you’ll probably find yourself sticking with it for the simple fact of being spoiled by the extremely good battery life.