The Huami Amazfit series of budget smartwatches are popular in various parts of the world. They bring the looks of a full-fledged smartwatch and usually the functionality of a good fitness tracker to provide a value-for-money watch that people don’t have to spend a fortune to own. However, despite numerous options from the brand, one of the most interesting offerings from the brand was the Huami Amazfit Bip. The watch costed less than Rs 5,000 and hit pretty much all checkpoints for what can be expected from a budget smartwatch. Now, Huami has launched the Huami Amazfit Bip S, a sequel that promises enhancements at about the same price. Also Read - Amazfit Stratos 3 Review: Huami's outdoor fitness watch is a perfect blend of price and features
With a watch that was already pretty great, said changes should only make it a better buy. However, in 2020, competition is key and newer options like the Realme Watch could stand in the way of the Bip S being crowned the best smartwatch under Rs 5,000 so easily. Does the Amazfit Bip S maintain the legacy of the original Bip and remain the best in its class? Read on our review to find out. Also Read - Amazfit T-Rex Review: Huami's Casio G-Shock inspired fitness watch is rugged and inexpensive
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One of the great aspects of the original Amazfit Bip was its compact and light form factor. It also was a compact watch that did not skip on good battery life. Hence, it makes sense that the new Amazfit Bip S carries over the same chassis. You still have the rectangular front on the watch with a square screen in the middle and large bezels around it. The small branding is still there below the screen. Also Read - Amazfit T-Rex rugged smartwatch launched in India at Rs 9,999: Check details
On the right side of the watch is the only button on the Huami Amazfit Bip S. The button is tactile and small enough to not get in the way when you lift your wrist up. The 20mm replaceable TPU straps still are the same too. Plus they are replaceable, so you can always swap them out for your own 20mm straps.
A couple of changes are noticeable on the back of the Amazfit Bip S. The small central portion of the original Amazfit Bip has been replaced with a circular portion that contains the heart-rate scanner. Meanwhile, the charging pins which were higher up on the device, have now been moved downwards, meaning that the Huami Amazfit Bip S will not be compatible with the charger of the older Bip. The fewer changes are not only acceptable but appreciated since the original Bip had the right form factor and didn’t need much change.
One of the few changes in the new Amazfit Bip S is the transflective display. To be frank, it has got both its pros and cons. The disadvantages are pretty clear. The screen is not good with colors and especially with black. The resolution is also the same that was on the original Bip, which isn’t too high. The overall experience is very hampered if a crisp color-accurate display is what you’re looking for.
However, the transflective screen gives you a few neat advantages to balance it out. Firstly the display can always remain on without really consuming a lot of power. The screen shows itself as intensely as the reflected light. It doesn’t rely on a sensor that determines the brightness of the watch in Always-On display mode. What this means is that you see the always-on clock face on the watch in a dim state when indoors. When you head out, this automatically appears brighter and gets even brighter when under direct sunlight. Under direct sunlight is actually where the screen is visible the most, contrary to other types of display technology.
Now, this is where the contextual perspective comes into play. If you want a watch that has a good, crisp, vibrant screen with a high-resolution panel, this may not be your best bet. Instead, the Amazfit Bip S is meant for fitness enthusiasts who spend long hours working out, running, swimming, and whatnot. The transflective screen on the Amazfit Bip S which consumes barely any battery while staying on always is bliss for fitness freaks on the move. The fact that the display automatically appears brighter when you’re running or indulged in sports outside is cherry on the cake.
Navigation through the interface is easy as ever. There are a bunch of horizontal widgets and you can scroll left and right through them. Scrolling from below upwards on each widget brings up more information. If you scroll up on the weather app, for example, you see the forecast for the next few days. Scrolling from the top to bottom on any page brings up the quick shortcuts like DND, lock and brightness control.
The crown on the Amazfit Bip S acts as a power button when the watch is not lit up, and as a back button from thereon. However, you can also use it to open up the settings from the main dial page. Further, you can configure what you want the watch to open when this crown button is long-pressed.
Features, Fitness and Battery Life
The Amazfit Bip S has the standard budget-smartwatch feature-set. This means you can check notifications, but not reply to them, you can decline calls or silence them and you can find your phone. There are a bunch of other features too like a compass app, music control, and brightness control. There is not a lot new to see here and most cons with the original BIP are still here. For instance, you still cannot see most emojis in texts. There is no way to interact with notifications except clearing them. We didn’t expect a keyboard but there are no quick replies either.
In terms of fitness-oriented features, the Amazfit Bip S is a pretty accurate performer in this segment. We usually noticed accurate results in the number of steps taken, along with good readings on a few other workout modes we tried. The heart rate sensor, which is capable of continuous monitoring seemed to give out pretty natural results too.
A problem with some older Amazfit watches was that the heart rate sensor picked up values even when the watch was not worn, messing up average readings over time. That is not the case here. The addition of a new Sony GPS chip on the Bip S promised more accurate GPS readings and we can approve of the same. Huami has a lot of experience with fitness tracking over its many Amazfit devices and that translates to elements like accurate readings, a good UI, and a reliable companion app.
Battery life on the Amazfit Bip S is phenomenal. While the company claims 40 days of use, you’re likely to pull off about 30-35 days on moderate usage. Not that elements like how often you turn on automatic heart-rate detection, sleep tracking, and other features will determine your total battery life. However, all things considered, the Bip S is still a marathon runner in this segment and a large part of that is thanks to the transflective panel.
Overall, the fact that there are not many changes is not a disappointment in any way since the original Bip had it right. We do wish there were smaller bezels and a bigger screen in the unit. However, this is a small ‘S’ update on the original watch and we understand why Huami went with the ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’ approach here. Everything new is focused on the watch’s fitness tracking abilities and there the BIP S has only improved. Yes, the look and style still often leaves you wanting more. However, if you’re a fitness freak on a budget, or just want a decent wearable that can show your notifications, some basic elements, and lasts long on a single charge, the Huami Amazfit Bip S is a no-brainer at Rs 4,999.