Amazfit Bip S Review: The Only Budget Smartwatch You Should Buy
Getting the basics right
If you have read any of our smartwatch reviews in recent times, you will find a common theme that connects them all – that the smartwatch isn’t really “smart”. That’s because most smartwatches that fall into the budget category and even some expensive ones are essentially glorified fitness trackers since their functionality is restricted to monitoring your health data and displaying notifications. On the other hand, wearables like the Apple Watch or a WearOS smartwatch qualify as true smartwatches because apart from tracking your fitness, they can perform additional functions like installing apps, replying to notifications, directly answering calls from the watch itself, etc.
The Amazfit Bip S, while falling in the former category of not being able to do anything extra other than just track your fitness, retails for just under Rs. 5,000 and at that price point, one can’t really complain. The Amazfit Bip S comes loaded with a big battery, a unique transflective display, and a built-in GPS that’s rare for the price. All of this makes it an attractive package and if you are planning on getting a smartwatch under Rs. 5,000, we will tell you why the Amazfit Bip S should be your pick. We will also compare it to the Realme Watch wherever applicable.
Design and Build Quality
The first thing you would notice about the Amazfit Bip S is how light it feels when you wear it on your wrist. That’s mainly due to the polycarbonate construction of the tracker and the thin silicone straps. While the Bip S does not score very high in terms of looks, it’s got a minimal design reminiscent of the old Pebble watches. There’s a digital crown on the right side that can be used to wake up the watch and also as a back button while you’re in the interface.
The design of the Amazfit Bip S is very functional and if you like the look of the Apple Watch, the Bip S looks like a “lite” version of it. Amazfit has done a good job of minimizing the size of the bump of the heart rate sensor on the back. The straps attached are flimsy and thin but are comfortable when worn. They are detachable so you can get any third-party strap of the same size and customize it as per your liking. The Bip S is water-resistant up to 50m so you can use it while swimming.
The Amazfit Bip S gets a transflective LCD display and if you’re not sure what the means, we’ll explain it briefly. Let’s break down the word “transflective” into two halves – transmit and reflect. Under bright conditions, for example, direct sunlight, the display acts as a reflective panel and reflects the light falling on it which makes it easy to look at. In simple words, unlike smartphone displays that are easier to view indoors and are not easily visible outdoors, the transflective display on the Bip S is the exact reverse. More the light, the easier it is to view the display.
That does not mean that the display on the Bip S is not easily visible indoors. That’s what the “transmit” part is for. The display has a backlight that is transmitted and hence it can be viewed indoors as well with ease. While you can see some amount of pixelation on the display, it’s not going to be much of an issue in everyday usage. There’s the Amazfit branding beneath the display which doesn’t take away from the look by any means.
The panel itself is squared off on all four corners unlike that on the Realme Watch which is curved. The curved panel on the Realme Watch looks more aesthetic and in-line with the curves we see on smartphone displays as well in 2020. However, the exterior glass is more curved on the edges of the Amazfit Bip S which make up for the sharp corners on the display. Also, the transflective panel on the Bip S allows for an Always-on display despite being LCD which is a huge bonus over the Realme Watch.
Activity and Fitness Tracking
The Amazfit Bip S is one of the most accurate step counters for the price and also does a great job at tracking sleep cycles. The lightweight profile also makes it comfortable to wear while sleeping. The Bip S can measure your heart rate either manually or on a continuous basis and is accurate at that too. There are various activity modes to choose from including running, treadmill, cycling, walking, and swimming. What makes it better is that the Amazfit Bip S has built-in GPS which means you can leave your smartphone behind while going for runs and the watch will still manage to track your workout accurately.
This is something that is not present on the Realme Watch and if you’re into working out, this can be an added bonus. What’s also not present on the Realme Watch is the ability to track your swims. We tried walking with the Realme Watch and the Amazfit Bip S and the latter was slightly more accurate whereas the Realme Watch reported lesser distance.
The Amazfit Bip S works with both Android and iOS, whereas the Realme watch can only be paired to an Android smartphone since the Realme Link app is only available on the Play Store. Speaking about the app itself, the Amazfit app is feature-rich and shows you all the required data in a refined manner on the home screen itself. You can customize the notifications, settings, watch faces, etc. from the app itself with ease.
While we are on the topic of watch faces, the Amazfit Bip S has a good amount of watch faces to choose from. However, third-party watch faces aren’t supported at the time of writing. The collection isn’t extensive, but it’s more than what the Realme Watch offers out of the box. The Amazfit Bip S can display your notifications, show you the weather forecast, set alarms, and can even control music playback on your smartphone. The Realme Watch gets an additional SpO2 sensor and the ability to act as a remote shutter.
Not to forget, the Amazfit Bip S feels a lot smoother while navigating through the UI compared to the Realme Watch which can either be due to a more optimized interface or a faster refresh rate display. The only grip in terms of functionality would be the lack of the ability to reply to notifications or mark them as read. If someone from Amazfit is reading this, please integrate pre-defined replies or emojis at least if not for a full-fledged keyboard.
In a lot of our smartwatch reviews, we mention that you are better off getting a Mi Smart Band 4 since it offers almost similar functionality as a budget smartwatch along with 20-day battery life. That, however, changes in the case of the Amazfit Bip S because this watch just does not give up. Amazfit claims a battery life of upwards a month and while we haven’t been able to test that claim yet, the watch has lost only 14% battery in a week which makes us believe that Amazfit’s claims are not entirely false. You get a proprietary charging dock in the box which takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge the Bip S. Compared to the Realme Watch that offers just about 7 days of battery, the Bip S is miles ahead.
Best Smartwatch under Rs. 5,000?
The Amazfit Bip S ticks all the right boxes of being a solid smartwatch with a long-lasting battery and accurate fitness data. The transflective display is cool and the UI is snappy. On-board GPS is an advantage and the lightweight profile means you don’t feel it on your wrist. At this point, while we would usually suggest you to pick up a fitness tracker for half the price, the Amazfit Bip S is a smartwatch we would actually recommend since the experience lives up to the asking price.
- Transflective display
- Amazing battery
- Accurate tracking
- Straps are flimsy
- Cannot reply to notifications
|Build and Design||
Budget smartwatches are usually what we refer to as 'glorified fitness bands'. But Amazfit Bip S claims to be different. Is it really so? How is it better than all those budget smartwatches? Here's our Amazfit Bip S Review.