Striking the best balance between “smarts” and traditional usability is kind of a perpetual struggle in the smartwatch realm. Most of us would love to have constant GPS and an LTE connection strapped to our wrist, but one that doesnt need to be recharged every 30 hours, or so.
There is no one right approach here, but what the Amazfit Bip offers is rather uncommon. The Bip has been making the rounds for quite some time in Asian markets, but now the Xiaomi-owned company is finally setting it loose on the international scene, for the tantalizing price of $99.
The Bip has a rectangular shape, reminiscent of the Apple watch. However, the Bip is extremely light, at 31 grams, including its soft rubber,= 20mm standard strap. A polycarbonate body helps shed a few grams as well. It is less durable than a metal alloy and prone to scratching, but thankfully also replaceable and consequently, easily customizable.
The Bip is equipped with a 1.28-inch transflective color display, covered with a 2.5D layer of Gorilla Glass 3. While it does have its drawbacks, mainly in resolution and color pallet, this display is incredibly battery efficient and also benefits in terms of legibility in sunlight. It plays a major role in achieving the gadget’s advertised 45-day battery life – an amazingly frugal use of its 190 mAh battery.
That number is achievable when using the Bip with an always on time display and running sleep and motion monitoring in the background.
However, The Bip is also equipped with a PPG heart rate sensor, triaxial acceleration sensor, geomagnetic sensor, barometric pressure sensor and last but not least, GPS + GLONASS. Taking it out on the track and blasting all the sensors on continuously brings down the battery life to around 22 hours – still among the best out there. This, along with an IP68 rating make the Bip a great workout companion. Running, walking and cycling tracking are all supported out of the box. Just don’t expect to swim laps in the pool with it.
The Bip runs on a custom Xiaomi-made OS, with no support for additional apps. Still it is enjoying a vibrant third-party developer scene and customization with additional watch faces and custom notifications is already possible. On the official side of things, Amazfit provides the Mi Fit companion application for Android 4.4 and iOS 8 or newer for Bluetooth connection, data sync and notifications on the Bip.
The Amazfit Bip is available in the US today, straight from Amazfit.com for $99. It comes in four color options: Onyx Black, White Cloud, Kokoda Green and Cinnabar Red.