• Wearable Wednesdays: The Bip Reconsidered

    Springtime in Canada... Time to show some skin!

    I'm sad to report that my brief affair with the Skagen Falster is over and done. It was indeed a fetching timepiece but all too quickly I was reminded of how terrible Android Wear is. And going back to Pebble is like wearing a ticking time bomb, set to go off on June 30th when Fitbit finally shuts down the servers forever.

    So instead I've been getting reacquainted with the Amazfit Bip. And honestly, the more I wear it the more I appreciate what Huami has accomplished with this little wrist-based gadget.

    I harp so much on the shortcomings of Android Wear/Wear OS because the hardware is so expensive; when you spend $500 or more on a smartwatch you can't help but notice its shortcomings. But with a price tag of less than $100 it's an entirely different story with the Bip; instead of being disappointed at what it can't do I find myself surprised and delighted at what it can.

    Here then, is a quick list of what the Bip does:

    Shows the time, all the time. When I'm out in the world and observe the dead screens of Apple Watches on people's wrists I can't help but shake my head a little bit. Like the Apple Watch, the Bip also has a touch screen. Unlike the Apple Watch the Bip is always readable, even in bright sunlight.

    Holds a charge. Amazfit's bold claim of a battery that lasts up to a month isn't too far off; I've had my Bip for two and with intermittent use the factory charge lasted until a few days ago. Tracking an hour-long walk with GPS on drains less than 4% of the battery, so it looks like it's going to be at least another 25 days before my next charge.

    Displays notifications. This is, after all, the raison d'ętre for smartwatches. You can't reply to an incoming message like you can on Pebble, Watch or Wear OS. But considering the always-on display and battery life I'm pretty okay with this.

    Tracks your health and fitness. The Bip itself has a heart rate sensor and, as mentioned earlier, GPS. For fitness tracking the heavy lifting is actually done by Mi Fit for Android or iOS, which syncs data from your watch every time you open the app.

    Gives you some useful utilities. The Bip has no official app store, but the utilities on board—including alarms, a compass, stopwatch, timer and local weather forecast—are quite handy.

    Holds promise for hackers. There's already a growing community of watch face designers, and some clever folks are dabbling with Tasker integration via unofficial Android apps. I honestly don't know too much about this, but the very fact that there's homebrew interest in the Bip bodes well for its future.

    Lets you BYOB (bring your own band). Forget Apple and Fitbit's proprietary crap; with the Bip you get a standard 20mm quick-release silicon strap, which can be swapped out for any other 20mm band. Just like a real watch!

    So there, in a nutshell, is a more in-depth look at the Amazfit Bip. It's far from perfect, of course—24-hour military time is currently the only available option. But for its display, battery life and sub-$100 price tag it's definitely worth a look.

    Links: Amazfit Bip on Amazfit USA, Gearbest, Geekbuying

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Wearable Wednesdays: The Bip Reconsidered started by acurrie View original post