There are things that make you question reality, such as why some people choose vanilla ice cream when there is chocolate available. Similarly, why pay $ 249 or more for an Apple Watch when you can buy the Amazfit Bip 3 Pro for just $ 55? Well, of course, the latter has to be a feature-packed toy of a thing that’s barely worth the box it comes in. Must be Apple’s Chocolate Vanilla by far superior, right?
Unfair. The Bip 3 Pro continues a long tradition of incredibly good and incredibly cheap Amazfit watches. While they’re not perfect, they’re easy to recommend to anyone looking for wrist time, notifications, fitness tracking, health tracking, and more. Oh, and their battery life should leave Apple very, very embarrassed.
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro design
Ironically, from afar you could easily mistake the Bip 3 Pro for an Apple Watch, as it’s roughly the same rectangular shape and size. Sure, the former is all plastic and has a button instead of a crown, but they’re clearly cut from the same design fabric.
Amazfit only offers three color choices: black, pink and the one I find most attractive, cream. Each includes a one-size-fits-all silicone strap that can be swapped out for various other styles and colors available in the Amazfit online store. If you want a sports strap for activities that require a lot of sweat, for example, or something in leather for a classy look, you can have it. For what it’s worth, I found the stock strap very comfortable to wear every day.
The color screen of the Bip 3 Pro makes a solid first impression. It measures just a hair under 43mm, very close to the size of Apple’s largest watches. There is quite a bit of bezel around, but overall the display is spacious and looks sharp. Also, while it uses TFT technology and not AMOLED, I found it reasonably easy to see outdoors, even in direct sunlight.
As noted, there is only one button on the Beep. Pressing it activates the screen or returns to a previous menu; a long press can be set to any number of functions, such as starting a workout, entering sleep mode, or running a quick meditation session. Although the button can rotate, crown-style, turning it does nothing.
Features of Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
The Bip offers all the basic smartwatch features you’d expect, including a selection of over 50 watch faces, some of which can be customized with your favorite widgets (and / or photos). It will notify you of incoming calls and text messages, share alerts from various phone apps, remotely control your phone’s camera shutter and play music, display local weather, run a stopwatch, find a lost phone and so on.
Unfortunately, some of these options are quite buried in the watch menus. To access Find Phone, for example, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the rather long list of apps and then tap More. However, Amazfit’s companion app (which goes by the name of Zepp for reasons I won’t bore you with) allows you to customize that list of apps, which means you can put your most used apps on top for quicker access.
On the fitness front, the Bip 3 Pro can track over 60 activities (unfortunately, pickleball isn’t one of them), keeping both heart rate and blood oxygen level under control. Built-in GPS allows you to accurately record running routes and other outdoor exercises. (Skip the non-Pro version of this watch, by the way, which costs $ 10 less but lacks GPS.) For swimmers and divers, it’s water resistant to 5 ATM, which means around 50 meters.
As noted earlier, the watch’s battery life puts the Apple Watch to shame. It is valid for up to 14 days on a charge, although real-world results vary depending on the features you use. Anything you do with GPS, for example, will reduce battery life, as well as allow full-time heart rate monitoring. Choosing a dial with an active second hand can also make a difference. In my tests, the battery usually lasted 6 to 9 days, still a big improvement over the Apple Watch’s 1-2 days.
Amazfit Bip 3 Pros cons (see what I did there?)
That’s okay, because the magnetic charging cradle (which needs to be plugged into a USB port) is a hassle. The cable is short, only 18 inches, and the watch must be placed in a specific, non-obvious orientation; will not stick if reversed.
As for those 60+ activities the watch can track, finding the one you want can be difficult, as they aren’t organized alphabetically (and can’t be reordered like the app list above). Unfortunately, the Beep doesn’t automatically detect your workouts like Fitbits and Apple Watch can; you will have to start and stop them manually. (For what it’s worth, every Apple Watch I’ve owned has done a pretty poor job of tracking training anyway. Fitbits is much better at that.)
Meanwhile, the Bip 3 Pro doesn’t have an always-on option, and I’ve found its ability to wake up a bit delayed – there’s a tiny but noticeable delay before the screen turns on. The Zepp app is easy enough to navigate, but has failed to connect to the watch on several occasions; I had to restart the app to get it working again. (Note that my tests were conducted with the iPhone version; things may be slightly different with Android.)
Beginners, beware: Amazfit’s multilingual product manual is a joke, with only three pages in English and no words about charging the watch (literally the first and most important thing to do after unboxing) or dealing with issues like connectivity. I found a slightly more detailed version of the manual online (although it took some research), and the Zepp app has a fairly detailed help section. But if you are a first-time smartwatch user, plan a lot of experiments to learn the features and operation of the Bip 3 Pro. The lack of decent documentation is a distinct disadvantage.
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro: who should buy it?
Speaking of smartwatch users for the first time, the Bip 3 Pro is a great place to start, despite the learning curve. The big plus, apart from the obvious one (timekeeping), are notifications: a vibration and / or a beep alerts you to phone activity, whether it’s a call, text message, reminder or similar . This means that you are less likely to miss something important when the phone is hidden in a pocket or purse.
I think the notifications alone are worth the price of admission. Sure, you can start tracking your daily steps to see if you’re hitting that key metric of 10,000 and check your heart rate as needed to make sure you’re “in the zone.” But don’t think you have to leverage every single feature here to make it a worthwhile purchase.
In fact, with its large screen, great battery life, built-in heart rate monitoring, and more, the Bip 3 Pro offers a great price at $ 54.
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