Ever since Xiaomi introduced its Mi Band lineup of fitness wearables in India, the demand for them skyrocketed, and major Chinese brands captured the market with affordable options.
Xiaomi-backed brand Huami also offers its Amazfit series of smartwatches and fitness bands in India, which is also quite popular in several European and North American countries due to the affordability and mass availability. They recently started selling the Amazfit Bip S in India, a successor to 2018’s Amazfit Bip.
Now, the Amazfit Bip S looks like a smartwatch, with its heavy and boxy design. However, it acts more like a fitness band instead, since you only get fitness-centric features on it. You may call it a hybrid fitness tracker if you wish.
Although the Amazfit Bip S isn’t as smart as an Apple Watch or an Android Wear OS smartwatch, it does offer plenty of hardware and software perks at an affordable price of only Rs. 4,999 in India.
The Amazfit Bip S is a significantly updated model of the 2018’s Amazfit Bip, and battery life is one of its killer features. But what else do you get with it? Is it even worth the price? You will find the answers in this review of the Amazfit Bip S.
Amazfit Bip S: Design & Build
While the polycarbonate construction of the Amazfit Bip S isn’t as premium as stainless steel on premium smartwatches, it feels lightweight on the wrist. The silicone straps also add to the lightweight nature of the tracker. Although many people prefer the heft of the watch, don’t expect that from the Amazfit Bip S.
What you can appreciate is the overall minimal design, which resembles the first generation of Pebble smartwatches. The crown on the right side of the tracker is mapped to work as a back button. It also wakes up the watch.
The minimal design also reflects on the rear side of the tracker, where the heart-rate sensor sits almost flush to the housing. The silicone straps are a bit thin, but the use of skin-friendly material makes it quite comfortable on the wrist. You also can detach the straps, so the strap customization options are limitless.
Amazfit Bip S also has 5 ATM water-resistance certification, and it can withstand up to 50m of submersion in a water body. Compared to the IP68 certification on the 2018 Amazfit Bip, it is a significant uplift in terms of water resistance.
Amazfit Bip S: Display
The Amazfit Bip S has a 1.28” TFT LCD panel, which is protected by a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3. An anti-fingerprint coating has also been applied to keep the display free of smudges.
One of the best advantages of having a TFT display is the excellent readability it provides under direct sunlight. In case you didn’t know, TFT stands for “transflective,” which works as a reflective panel under bright light, and the backlight underneath can transmit and illuminate the display. In simple words, the TFT panel on the Amazfit Bip S provides superior visibility in both direct sunlight and indoor conditions.
The 178 x 178 resolution of the display doesn’t make it particularly sharp, but it isn’t noticeable when used on a daily basis. The display panel also doesn’t reach the corners, but the black tint of the glass does a great job of hiding it. The unapologetic Amazfit branding on the bottom bezel of the display breaks the illusion.
Despite the fact that the Amazfit Bip S uses an LCD layer instead of OLED, it is still an efficient always-on-display, thanks to the TFT panel. It would have been perfect if the corners of the screen were curved instead of its current rectangular aesthetics.
Amazfit Bip S: Tracking Features
At the price, the Amazfit Bip S surprised us with its accurate step-counting and sleep-cycle tracking. The in-house PPG heart-rate optical sensor can also provide continuous heart-rate monitoring (every minute) without significantly affecting the battery life.
In terms of fitness tracking modes, the Amazfit Bip S offers plenty of them, including walking, running, treadmill, cycling, and swimming. The built-in 28nm GPS + GLONASS chip from Sony is the icing on the cake, providing accurate location tracking data from your jogging sessions. It eliminates the need to carry your smartphone during your workouts.
Amazfit Bip S: Additional Features
The proprietary Amazfit OS, while not as functional as Android’s Wear OS or Apple’s watchOS, offers a streamlined experience compared to the crappy and generic software often found on cheap wearables.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity on the Amazfit Bip S makes it much faster and easier to pair with the official Amazfit app on Android and iOS devices. We did encounter a few issues during the pairing process, but the latest firmware update on the watch smooths out all the pairing and random disconnection issues reported by early owners.
Speaking of the Amazfit app, it provides all of your workout data in a simplistic manner. From the app, you can also tweak watch notifications, add new watch faces, and change additional settings of the Amazfit Bip S. Although the app doesn’t offer support for third-party watch faces, the on-board collection is more than enough for a regular user.
Out of the box, the Bip S is set to show both first-party and third-party notifications from your smartphone, as well as weather forecasts and upcoming calendar events. You can also set alarms and control music playback directly from the watch itself. However, you won’t be able to control the music when a workout mode is activated, which is a bit of a bummer. Also, the absence of a reply button to notifications disappointed us.
One great thing about the software on the Amazfit Bip S is the overall smoothness and responsiveness when interacted with the watch. We didn’t notice a single lag or dropped frames while scrolling through the menu. Amazfit has done a great job of optimizing the software for such a low-powered device.
Amazfit Bip S: Battery Life
The battery life on the Amazfit Bip S is just amazing (pun intended). On the product page, Huami claims that it can deliver up to 40 days of battery life on a full charge. Kid you not, the Amazfit Bip S does actually live up to the expectations, with the battery dropping to 55% charge after 12 days of heavy usage. During the testing, auto-brightness was turned on, continuous heart-rate monitoring was enabled, and GPS was used during daily walking sessions.
If you turn off all the features, then you can expect to get the advertised battery life. However, even 15-20 days of usage is staggering, considering that more premium smartwatches need to be charged daily for only a few hours of usage.
The 200mAh battery on the Amazfit Bip S can be charged fully in 2½ hours with the 2-pin POGO charging connector. It doesn’t have support for wireless charging, which is something you wouldn’t expect from a budget smart wearable anyways.
Amazfit Bip S: Verdict
The Amazfit Bip S is another excellent fitness tracker from the folks at Huami, an established name in the world of affordable smart wearables. Although we do have a few complaints about the basic software and third-party app support, the flagship-grade hardware on the Amazfit Bip S wasn’t available to the masses even a few weeks ago. At the introductory price of Rs. 4,999, the Amazfit Bip S is a great partner for fitness enthusiasts.