The Amazfit Bip S is the cheapest smartwatch in the company's ever-expanding collection, and there's a lot to like about it.
If you don't want to spend big on an Apple Watch SE or even a Huawei Watch GT2e, the sub-¬£100 price tag will be of serious interest. You can pick up the Bip S for around ¬£60, and maybe even less than that if you shop around.
Update: The Amazfit Bip U Pro has now been released, with improved screen and even stronger health and fitness features.
The Android and iOS-friendly smartwatch that can dish out notifications and includes a heart rate monitor and a built-in GPS to give it cheap running watch vibes.
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It feels as if Amazfit is rolling out more smartwatches than any other company these days, but the Bip still feels like an important member of that Amazfit family. One that shows you can make a good watch that doesn't have to be draped in metal and crammed with features.
So does the Bip S deserve a place on your wrist? We've been living with it to find out.
Amazfit Bip S: Design and screen
The first Amazfit Bip launched globally in 2018, priced at ¬£99, which makes the new Bip S significantly cheaper to pick up than its predecessor.
Aside from the price difference, Amazfit has moved from a reflective display to a transflective one, and has moved the case size up from 39mm to 42mm. It's thicker too, bulking up from a 9.5mm thick body to a 11.4mm one.
Feature-wise, you're now getting Huami's Biotracker optical heart rate sensor and new heart-rate based PAI scores, which have rolled out on other Amazfit watches like the GTS. Sports modes have gone from 4 to 10 and while battery capacity has grown, battery performance in standard and standby modes has dropped a little.
Some will look at the Amazfit Bip S and say its rectangular look makes it another Apple Watch clone, but that isn't how it feels to us. Unlike other Apple Watch-aping watches, this embraces that 42mm polycarbonate body in a way that reminds us a lot of the Pebble Time. It doesn't aspire to be a luxury timepiece and that's actually okay with us.
The 11.4mm thick plastic case is a paired up silicone and TPU mix that Amazfit declares is 'skin friendly'. We certainly haven't had any issues with it and it uses a watch-style buckle to make sure it stays put.
On that case you'll find just one button which does have the appearance of a watch crown, and it even twists like one as well. That twisting actually doesn't do anything, but a quick press will push you to the main menu screen or to the main watch face when you're swiping through data screens.
The weakest aspect of the design is the display. While it doesn't offer exceptional resolution, it did deliver in areas that ensured it wasn't entirely unusable.
You're getting a 1.28-inch, 176 x 176 resolution always-on display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 adding an extra layer of protection. It's a display that doesn't fully fill up the front of the case, with a sizeable bezel eating into it from below.
Amazfit uses transflective display technology, which is something Garmin uses to help preserve battery life and improve visibility in bright light. Those are two things the Bip S certainly delivers to make up for the not-so-super-sharp resolution and a screen responsiveness that can be a little hit and miss.
For swimmers, or anyone that doesn't want to have to take a watch off all the time, the Bip S does come with a 5ATM water resistant rating. That means it's safe to be submerged in water up to 50 meters deep.
Amazfit Bip S: Smartwatch features
The Bip S works with Android phones and iPhones and will give you notifications, music controls, weather forecasts, alarms and a world clock setting.
We made most use of the notification support and music controls. While that screen might not be the prettiest, these features work absolutely fine. Notifications appear as they arrive on your phone. You can't act on them, but they are at least well optimised to the screen.
The music controls work well too and can be accessed during exercise, which isn't something you can say about all other watches and trackers.
If you're into watch faces, you can switch things up here. You get a bunch preloaded, with a few that can be customised to edit the data they display. If you head into the Zepp companion app, you'll find a whole lot more watch faces you can sync over to the Bip S too.
What you don't get is payments, a smart assistant, built-in music or any sort of apps at your disposal. Though we're not massively surprised they don't make the cut.
If you're happy with the notifications and the other smartwatch basics on offer, you should get on with the Bip S.
Amazfit Bip S: Fitness tracking
All of Amazfit's watches have a big focus on how they promise to track your health and fitness and that's no different with the Bip.
It has most key sensors on board, including an accelerometer to track steps, indoor activities and pool swimming.
There's built-in GPS with Glonass satellite support too. It's had an upgrade in the heart rate sensor department, with the new BioTracker sensor now on board that is supposed to deliver 98% accuracy and drops power consumption to make it better suited for continuous monitoring.
One useful sensor you do miss out on is an altimeter, which means you're not able to track elevation ‚Äď a useful piece of data for climbing stairs or if you're planning to take it for a hilly walk.
Step tracking compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
The Bip S does an solid job overall as a fitness tracker. From the watch, you've got a dedicated screen to access steps, distance, calories burned and times you've spent too long sitting down. When that happens, it will flash up a message suggesting you get yourself moving.
To dig deeper into your data, you'll need to head to the Zepp (formerly Amazfit) app where you can see a breakdown of the activities that contributed to your daily totals.
We found it was generally in the ballpark of the overall step count we recorded on a Garmin fitness tracker. Distance recorded tended to be off and you do of course miss out on seeing elevation data due to the lack of an altimeter.
Sleep tracking compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
Switching our attention to sleep and you're not able to review any sleep data on the watch, so it's over to the app to see your bed time in greater detail. You'll find a breakdown of your sleep, though it does lack REM stages. You'll get a sleep score and some additional insights here too.
The raw data seemed to be far more reliable than the Garmin fitness tracker we pitted it against in terms of recognising sleep duration, as well the time we fell asleep and woke up in the morning. The insights aren't groundbreaking, but they do at least go beyond simply laying out the data and not offering something actionable behind them.
HR tracking compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
The Bip S can also continuously monitor heart rate, which must be enabled in the app. You can take on the spot measurements, but we found in general that readings whether continuous or on the spot were off in comparison to the data from a chest strap and a fitness tracker we've come to rely on for accurate readings.
That also leaves some question marks on the heart rate-powered PAI scores, which seek to shift the emphasis away from chasing step counts to raising heart rate through exercise on a regular basis. Aside from our doubts about the heart rate sensor accuracy, the feature itself doesn't feel all that useful in its current state and there needs to be a better effort to make the scores more useful and motivating.
Amazfit Bip S: Sports tracking
When you're ready to step things up, it's time to head to the Workout screen where you'll find tracking profiles for the likes of outdoor running, treadmill running, cycling (outdoor and indoor), walking, open and pool swimming, yoga, indoor rowing, cricket and table tennis.
What you get for those sports tracking profiles as far as metrics varies. Though we were surprised to find an open water profile and activities like indoor rowing do actually offer activity-specific data.
Run tracking compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Garmin Forerunner 745 (right)For outdoor running, it fared pretty well for us. It took roughly the same time to lock onto a GPS signal as the Forerunner 745 we tested it against. It was very close in terms of distance tracked and calories burned. It also delivered similar numbers for running metrics like pace and cadence.
Swim tracking compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Form Swim Goggles (right)
It's also a pretty solid performer in the pool. The display perhaps isn't the easiest to see in the water, but metrics were largely reliable.
Data like distance covered and average strokes per minute were in line with the Form Swim Goggles we tested it against.
On the sample swim above, it did fail to register a maximum speed, but we found in general it performed well in the water.
Indoor rowing compared: Amazfit Bip S (left and centre) and Garmin Forerunner 745 (right)
We also tested out the indoor rowing mode and again found it largely matched up to what we saw on the Forerunner 745 for stroke count. The data fields are in easy view, despite the small nature of the display, and overall we found its sports tracking prowess one of the most surprising and impressive aspects of the Bip S.
HR during exercise compared: Amazfit Bip S (left) and MyZone chest strap (right)
We head back to running though because that's where we focused on the heart rate sensor's ability to accurately track heart rate during exercise. What we found was that it wasn't really up to scratch.
We used it for all activities including the sample run above with a MyZone heart rate monitor chest strap to see how it fared. What we found during exercise is that the sensor seems to take a while to get going and can on occasions take a few minutes to display real-time heart rate data.
Post activity, there was a theme that it posted noticeably higher maximum readings. Enough to knock you into another heart rate zone.
We had the strap on pretty tight and any tighter would've made the watch uncomfortable to wear. So it's a case of another optical sensor that seems okay for general exercise, but it doesn't take much of an increase in intensity for it to start to falter.
Amazfit Bip S: Battery life
So what can a budget smartwatch deliver in terms of battery life? In the case of the Bip S, a fair bit. The Bip S packs a 200mAh battery that's capable of delivering 40 days with basic usage, 15 days in typical usage, 90 days in standby mode and 22 hours when using GPS.
Whatever way you slice it, those numbers are impressive. Based on our testing, those numbers seem to ring true.
The daily average drop-off we saw from around 9am-7pm was 10-12%. That was with notifications on, continuous heart rate monitoring and a GPS tracked activity of around 30 minutes to an hour. That GPS doesn't drain the battery in a worrying way either, knocking it by 3-4% for a 30 minute or hour run.
This type of usage won't see it make it to that 15 days, though it will certainly be good enough to go comfortably for a week and more even with all features in use. You don't have a power-hungry display and if you switched off features like continuous heart rate monitoring, you're more likely to get closer to those battery claims.
Bottom line, it puts in a great performance and you won't be charging it every few days like some smartwatches.
When you do need to power it up, it comes with a proprietary cradle and it takes two and a half hours to get back up to 100%. So it's not the speediest at charging back up.
- Solid sports tracking
- Good battery life
- Light and comfortable
- Screen quality isn't finest
- Heart rate accuracy for exercise
- Offers smartwatch basics