A smartwatch here to replace fitness bands

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Huami Amazefit BIP U was launched in India a few weeks ago. The company is known for making some of the most efficient fitness bands and smartwatches. Although the Huami smartwatches are often priced higher, the Amazfit BIP U is here to change the entire dynamics. The BIP U was launched in India for Rs 3499. Now the price point alone is reason enough to give the fitness bands a run for their money.

At Rs 3499, Amazfit BIP U packs the attributes of a smartwatch with a host of fitness tracking tools. It looks great and has a tracker for almost every activity that one can do and does not create a hole in the pocket. All the other efficient smartwatches by Huami Amazfit are priced between Rs 5000 and Rs 10,000 such as the Amazfit GTS and GTR, the Verge.

So in short, is the perfect fit for people who want a smartwatch but do not want to spend a fortune on it. It has lots of advantages over the fitness bands that are available at a much cheaper price in the market. But is it worth spending the extra few doughs for a slightly bigger screen? We will find out in the review

Amazfit BIP U review: Design

The Amazfit BIP U bears a strong resemblance to the Apple Watch. But they cannot be blamed for this as almost every other smartwatch is loosely based on the prototype set by Apple. With the Amazfit BIP U, Huami has introduced a more compact dial with rounded curves.

The body of Amazfit BIP U is made up of plastic but that does not make it look cheap. It comes with a matte finish on the rear and sides that enhance the look of the watch. However, it is nothing outlandish and no amount of metal highlights have been used on the smartwatch to give it a more premium feel. It is simple yet elegant and does the deed without much ado. For review, we got the standard black color but it is available in two other interesting colors such as pink and green.

Now coming to the display, the Amazfit BIP U comes with a 1.43-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 x 302 pixels. For protection, it has the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating along with anti-fingerprint coating on top of that. The display is quite vibrant, bright and even in outdoor conditions, it does not make the user squint his eyes to read stuff from the screen. It is a touchscreen display but to access the menu, you will have to use the physical button provided on the right side of the watch.

Huami has used soft silicone straps that are pretty comfortable to put on for hours. The smartwatch is surprisingly pretty lightweight. I wore the watch day and night but not even once did I feel any sort of discomfit. It is so comfortable that after a point you will not feel anything around your wrist and get used to the watch. I have used entry-level watches by Noise and GOQi and I can vouch for the fact that it is the lightest smartwatch at this price point. However, the BIP U is also comparatively smaller in size so if you have a slightly bigger wrist, it might not appease you. But for me, it was just the right fit.

I have been using the watch for over two weeks and I have not seen too many scratches and fingerprints on it. It does not attract fingerprints despite being a touchscreen device so that is indeed commendable. The watch also comes with a magnetic charging point which makes the whole affair an easy one. The magnetic charger can be attached to the port and charged with the straps on, way better than the clip-on chargers we have seen in some of the smartwatches.

Amazfit BIP U: Performance

The most important aspect of a smartwatch is its performance. Even if it is slightly inaccurate, it is clearly not the right fit for fitness enthusiasts. To set up the BIP U, you first need to download the Zepp app (formerly Amazfit). The app is not as complicated as the Mi Fit app. It is easy to pair and even the first time smartwatch users will be able to do without spending a lot of time on it.

Now coming to the activities that the smartwatch can track. The BIP U comes with as much as 60 sports modes that cover running, swimming, walking, standing, and almost all the activities than one can possibly do. Keeping aside the basic fitness tracking activities, the Amazfit BIP U comes with a SpO2 sensor which monitors the blood oxygen levels in a body. Considering we live in COVID times, it is one of the most important features that a smartwatch should have.

The SpO2 takes a little over 30 seconds to measure your blood oxygen levels and demands you to wear the watch tightly and face it upwards. While I cannot comment on the accuracy of the SpO2 sensor because I do not have a device certified by the MCI to compare it with. For the most part of the day, my blood oxygen levels were above 95 percent and as long as it did not dip to an alarmingly low level, I was not fazed much about its accuracy.

Another important sensor that the smartwatch has is the PPG Biological Optical Sensor, which monitors the real-time heart rate. I compared the results with the Mi Band 5 and found it to be pretty the same. However, I was not entirely satisfied with the step tracking and sleep tracking. With step tracking, I figured that it measures less than how much I am actually walking.

Whereas with sleep tracking, it most of the time ends up calculating the total time you are lying on the bed. For instance, if you go to bed at 11 and finally fall asleep at 12, the watch might end up calculating the total time if you do not move much. However, on some days the results were pretty accurate. You can check the detailed report of your deep sleep time and light sleep time on the Zepp app. You are also given a score after a detailed analysis of how good or bad was your pattern. The app stores the data so you can go back and check how you slept during the week.

The Amazfit BIP U also has features like breathing exercises to calm your nerves, a stress level calculator, and the menstrual cycle tracker. The menstrual health tracker tracks your menstrual health and ovulation phases. To activate the feature, you need to enter your data on the app. The band will then send reminders to you for the next cycle. This feature is particularly useful for female users.

PAI or Personal Activity Intelligence feature is seen in almost every Amazfit watches so why should the Amazfit BIP U be left behind. The PAI feature rates you on the basis of your fitness activities. The score is between 1 to 100 so the more you exercise, the higher your PAI score is. However, PAI also eats up a lot of battery so when you activate this feature, be ready to shell out a lot of juice.

The Amazfit displays notifications for all your important apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, and others. Although you cannot respond to the messages from the watch, you can read up the entire text from the watch and then remove the notifications from the list. The font size is quite big and readable so it would not be a problem for you to look up stuff on your watch. You can click pictures from your watch, change music and even disconnect calls and silence them from your Amazfit BIP U. The touch response is as good as it is in any smartphone. However, Amazfit displays messages in English clearly but has zero-tolerance for other languages. In case your message carries any characters in Hindi or any regional languages, it will display it with a question mark.

In terms of the battery, the company claims that the smartwatch can go on for nine days on a single charge but I had charge my BIP U almost after a week’s usage. The magnetic charger makes the deed easier but I wish the battery life was at least two weeks.

Coming to the fun stuff, the BIP U comes with almost 50 watch faces to choose from. You can either opt for the traditional watch dial or can keep a funky looking watch face.

Amazfit BIP U: Should you buy it?

Launched at Rs 3499, the Amazfit BIP U is the perfect watch for people who have dreamt of owning the Apple Watch but couldn’t because of its high price tag. BIP U is extremely lightweight and has around 60 sports mode. It also monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. The watch tracks your activities quite efficiently and notifies you whenever you get a call or a message. Interestingly, the font is also nice and big and the display is vibrant. So reading out of it is not an issue either.

However, if you are looking for something with more battery life, you could either opt for the Mi Band 5, if your budget is low or a Mi Watch Revolve, under Rs 10,000. You can also try the other watches by Amazfit such as The Verge, GTS, GTR, and T-Rex if you are willing to pay more than Rs 5000.

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