Amazfit Bip: Not Quite the Pebble Replacement You Were Looking For

Yesterday this Canadian received his Amazfit Bip from a grey-market reseller. With shipping, taxes and duties the final cost was about $100 CAD—pretty much the same price that I paid Amazon for the Pebble 2 SE on the left. How do the two compare? Let’s break it down…

Buttons / UI

Every late model Pebble has four buttons with four programmable long press actions. The Bip has only a single button on its right side. A short press unlocks the screen; a long press can start or stop the workout of your choice, or turn the watch off. The Bip does have a touch screen, though, and while there are no fancy animated transitions it’s still likely to be a more intuitive UI for most users.

Advantage: Draw

Notifications

The two devices handle notifications very differently. Once granted access through your phone (on Android anyway) a Pebble will send through all notifications by default, with the option of blocking certain ones through the Pebble app on your phone.

With the Bip notifications are opt-in, meaning that you have to manually enable notifications on a per-app basis through the Mi Fit app on your phone. Perhaps more importantly, you can’t take any action when a notification comes through on a Bip. You can’t even customize the vibrations on the watch.

Even without the Pebble servers you can still use Gadgetbridge to build a list of customized canned responses for incoming messages. Advantage: Pebble.

Watch Faces

The Bip has 10 built-in watch faces, and room for one more that can be sideloaded from the Mi Fit app—the included selections are shown above. Just don’t expect anywhere near the breadth or depth of what’s available for download (or to archive) from the Pebble app store. Advantage: Pebble.

Fitness Tracking

Here’s where the Bip pulls ahead. With its long battery life, built-in heart rate sensor and GPS, plus an easy shortcut to start and stop your workout, the Bip makes a compelling case for a cheap and cheerful exercise companion. The Mi Fit app is no slouch, either; it was able to chart all the above data from an hour-long walk yesterday afternoon. Advantage: Bip

As a fitness tracker I think the Bip is a fantastic buy. But if it’s a Pebble replacement that you were looking for then I’m sorry to say that you might have to keep looking.

Link: Amazfit Bip on geekbuying

6 comments:

  1. The Amazfit watch OS seems unfinished compared to the Pebbpe and I would surely miss the Timeline feature which I think was an awesome concept, but I’ve been told there’s some non-official Android software to add features, like Gadgetbridge to name one.

  2. What’s really important: how strong is the vibration motor? That’s the whole reason I originally got the Pebble, and why I keep going back to it after trying several others. It darn well makes sure I know it when I get a notification, regardless of what I’m doing.

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