Mention the word “smartwatch” and most people will roll their eyes, thinking that you are suggesting they blow a massive hole in their bank accounts. That’s because perhaps the best smartwatch of them all, the Apple Watch, starts at a price in the vicinity of Rs 40,000? Yes, there are Android Wear variants too, but even a good watch from Samsung or Fossil would hit you in the region of Rs 20,000.
Now, what if we were to tell you that you could get a smartwatch that performed very well for about Rs 7,000? And without cutting too many corners — you would get a lot of high end features on your wrist at a cost that is a fraction of what you would have to shell out for smartwatches from other brands.
We are talking of the Amazfit Bip from Huami, a company associated with Xiaomi, which is retailing from Amazon India at a price generally between Rs 6,500 and 7,000. Now, that is the price that you would generally shell out of for high end fitness tracker rather than a watch, but while the Amazfit Bip has a lot of fitness goodies on board, make no mistake, it is a smartwatch first. It comes with a 1.28 inch display which while not being the best and brightest display we have seen, is a proper touchscreen and can handle colours. And it is always on.
It also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass and water and dust resistance, so you can wear it while doing your workouts and all. No, it does not look as suave and sophisticated as an Apple or Samsung smartwatch. If anything it looks a little plasticky (we would recommend going for a dark-coloured option), but on the flip side, at 32 grammes, it is really light, with only a button next to the display to activate it. And if you stick to the darker shades, it looks smart enough.
But even if you are not too comfortable with its looks, you certainly will appreciate what this device brings to your wrist. It can count steps and calories and measure distance and can even track exercises like running, treadmill, cycling and walking, with more expected to be added with further updates. There is a heart rate sensor there as well as detailed sleep tracking. And a lot of that data can just be seen on the display. Rather remarkably, it also has its own GPS receiver so you even get details of where you have been working out.
And of course, as this is a smartwatch, you can get notifications about calls and messages and also updates from specific apps and social networks. The display is actually big enough to let you read messages on it. Before you ask, this smartwatch runs on its own software, and not Android Wear, so do not get too ambitious about finding truckloads of apps for it.
That said, it will serve up notifications for many of the communication and social networking apps on your phone and for most of us, that will more than suffice. Using the interface is easy — the touch is not the smoothest we have seen but once you get the hang of it, it is just a matter of swipes and taps to get where you wish to be. Oh and it works perfectly with both iOS and Android phones — all you need is Bluetooth and the compatible app, which is available for free download on both platforms’ app stores.
We left the best bit for the last — the Amazfit Bip can last for close to a month on a single charge. Yes, you read that right. On default settings, it will last you close to thirty days every time you charge it, even if you keep it paired with your phone right through. This in a day and age when most smartwatches struggle to see through a couple of days on one charge! Honestly, this one feature pretty much clinches things for us.
No, it will not stun people with its good looks or make Apple and Fitbit sweat with its hardware and software integration. But the Amazfit Bip is nevertheless the best smartwatch for anyone on a tight budget. It has got an amazing array of features and that battery life and price tag are almost too good to be true. Our advice? If you cannot afford an Apple Watch and want in on a smartwatch, then just buy it!