When I first received the Amazfit Bip U Pro for review, colleagues around me noted that it somewhat resembles an Apple Watch – at least from a distance. While many would have argued that this automatically makes a “cheap rip off” of a more expensive device, I would like to differ. First off, the Amazfit Bip U Pro tries to get the rounded square aesthetic that the Apple Watch is known for, but frankly, it does a pretty good job. More importantly, it does this at a fraction of what the Apple Watch costs in India. These factors together mean that if it looks like the latter to you, the Bip U Pro does its job well, which is to make the right first impressions.
Some of the key features include a 1.43-inch LCD screen, built-in GPS tracking for outdoor use, integrated Amazon Alexa voice assistant, an SpO2 monitor, and a slew of fitness and training modes. All of this is bundled in a package that is light and at the same time feels sturdy enough when you wear it. You also get automatic sleep tracking with it, and considering it only costs Rs 4,999, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is an interesting proposition to say the least. With that established, is the Bip U Pro a good smartwatch to use?
Design and Build Quality: Feels a bit flimsy, but durable enough
The Amazfit Bip U Pro has a fairly simple design, without any additional pretensions. It has a single button on the right that only responds to presses and not rotations. The screen itself is cascaded with quite large bezels, especially on the bottom, which also features the subtly lettered Amazfit logo. The smartwatch comes with a silicone strap that isn’t exactly a looker, but gets the job done. It has a buckle closure design that keeps the strap on your wrist exactly the way you want it no matter how much training you do, which is neat.
The overall build quality feels undeniably tacky, but again, the Bip U Pro is designed only as a budget smartwatch. Just holding the watch makes it feel a bit flimsy, but in reality it appears to be durable enough. Personally, I like that Amazfit didn’t try to go for a shiny, clean aesthetic with the Bip U Pro, which makes the smartwatch look business-like. In the past six weeks I’ve owned the smartwatch, it has picked up quite a few careless knocks against the door frame, and the one thing that impressed me the most is that despite that, it has not picked up any noteworthy scratches on the Bip U Pro .
Wearing comfort: pleasantly surprising for everyday use
Thanks to the fact that it is quite light, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is a fairly comfortable portable device for 24-hour use. The silicone strap that comes with the watch is comfortable enough for general use, although it does come with the universally interchangeable clasp. This means that if you prefer, you can replace it with a third-party band to customize your watch – a nice addition to a cheap smartwatch.
However, what this will really help you with is tracking your sleep. One of my biggest issues with the otherwise excellent Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was its overall size, which made it a bit uncomfortable to wear asleep. But with the Bip U Pro, the lightness that otherwise makes the watch feel ‘thin’ (as I mentioned myself before), also making it feel easy and comfortable to sleep through the night with. This is also a remarkable factor when you are out and about wearing the watch all day – you don’t feel compelled to take the watch off as soon as possible. The lack of weight is therefore actually a good thing.
Fitness Tracking: Usually shines through with the essentials
Here the Amazfit Bip U Pro really impressed. As for the fitness tracking modes, the device offers special yoga, popular sports options such as cricket and badminton, cycling, different types of running and jogging, special training modes such as pilates, treadmill, strength training, core training, mixed aerobics, stair climbing and so on. That’s not all – you also get non-specific training tracking modes under ‘free training’ and ‘flexibility’, as well as very specific activity tracking modes under hunting, fishing, roller-skating, skipping rope and more. In total you can follow a total of 11 ball sports, seven dance variations, 10 different types of boxing and martial arts and more.
In each of these, the Amazfit Bip U Pro offers a live view of the total time spent on activity, calories burned and live heart rate monitor. You also get a graphical representation of the heart rate during your activity, which is useful for keeping track of any irregularities should you feel anything out of the ordinary and need professional cardiac advice. The watch also gives you a duration breakdown of how much time you spent in which activity zone, which can give you some general advice on how to increase or decrease your activity intensity. This is broken down into warm-up, fat burning, aerobic training, endurance training and anaerobic training.
In the accompanying Zepp app you get a clear, analytical overview of the fitness and sleep data that you log. The training recording logs can help you keep track of the progress you have made or otherwise. You can choose to increase this by manually adding your body data such as chest, arm, thigh, waist, hip and calf circumference, which is then added against your height and body weight data that you add manually. All of this is collected by the app based on your input, and combined with your exercise data to give you measurements such as exercise capacity, a custom ‘body score’, and so on.
However, keep in mind that such active parameters will only pay off if you take your daily fitness regime very seriously. If so, regular muscle mass tracking, BMI measurements and so on can help you understand which direction your weight loss regimen is headed. However, if you’re into general overall fitness without an intensive focus on things, the Zepp app offers a PAI score that tracks the time you spend walking, exercising, your total steps, and provides an auto-generated score. This score gradually establishes the goals you need to achieve, and constantly tracking daily training and activity levels will help you reach the ultimate goal of a 100 PAI score.
In all of this, the historical fitness logs are very helpful, but what’s really helpful is the automatic sleep tracking data. Over time, it is the constant warning of insufficient sleep duration and delayed sleep hours that prompted me to consciously sleep better. The REM sleep indicator in particular was a big kicker for me to avoid screen time for sleep – a deep sleep score that helps you understand if you’re sleeping well enough. Based on this, you also get a sleep score, and compared to the data provided by the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, the Amazfit Bip U Pro turned out to be quite impressively accurate.
The only bit in terms of health and fitness tracking that annoyed me was the largely inconsistent SpO2 monitor. To get consistent and accurate ratings, you have to strap it a little too tight on your wrist and you can still get readings of less than 90 percent oxygen in the blood – something that can alarm you enough. Counting the data with a pulse oximeter revealed distinctly different data, which is the only concern in what is otherwise a very good fitness and health tracker. To be fair, most of today’s smartwatches (even some premium watches) are inconsistent with SpO2 readings.
Smartwatch Features: Not the strongest part of it
The Amazfit Bip U Pro can store four fast-changing watch faces, two of which can be non-standard options that you download from the watch face store. There aren’t really many options, but don’t forget the price difference between this one and a flagship smartwatch. The choices you get can range from the very disappointing to the more than decent, but in all the watch faces I’ve researched, I couldn’t quite find the one perfect watch face option. Many were nice, decent, fair and so on – so this is one thing to do with.
Notification scrolling from your paired smartphone works in a fairly rudimentary way, where you can’t respond to any of them. However, it gives you the basic idea of being notified when you receive calls and messages. In terms of ease of use, the Bip U Pro isn’t exactly at the top of the charts, and in the less than Rs 10,000 range, the Realme Watch S and S Pro offer better smoothness of scrolling and on-screen actions. You can see visible stutters when you switch activity screens on the watch, but the visual lags, the Bip U Pro is responsive enough to input and smooth enough to use. In other words, stuttering doesn’t reach a point of extreme frustration, and that’s a good thing.
The Amazfit Bip U Pro also advertises the use of the Amazon Alexa assistant, which only works when paired with your phone as it requires the active internet connection of the Zepp app running in the background. This isn’t exactly very useful though – you can switch songs more intuitively using the Music Players tab on the watch, and weather data can be scrolled right to your watch face. It is therefore more of a party trick, but it is undeniably good to have on a smartwatch under Rs 5,000. Ultimately, this feature can make the Bip U Pro feel better than what the competition already offers – you wouldn’t use it very often, but you would still love to have it on the watch.
Battery life: excellent endurance for multi-day use
The one area where the Amazfit Bip U Pro simply cannot be faulted is battery life. Charge it fully and with average daily use I would use an average of two weeks. This is after I turned on sleep tracking, active heart rate, and stress tracking, which is pretty good. The Bip U Pro lacks an always-on display, which I personally missed. However, this helps improve battery life – we only need to charge it once every two full weeks, which is what we need more from the world of smartwatches.
Even if you don’t use it to pieces, the Bip U Pro’s battery doesn’t drop drastically. Using it only to track workouts for two hours a day (and leaving it unpaired for the rest) dropped battery life from full to 60 percent in two weeks. On this scale, you have to charge the Bip U Pro once every month and a half, which is excellent in my books.
Verdict: a good, fun wearable to own
Overall, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is a smartwatch that I would highly recommend. It may not look and feel a bit light at first, but it is durable and has a simple design. It has enough customizability and scrolls through notifications well enough to be passable as a first smartwatch. The fitness tracking and support has a lot of features, and if you’re really serious about it, you’ll find it pretty good.
At Rs 4,999, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is certainly one of the best smartwatches you can buy.
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