The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro still flies the flag for affordable smartwatches – even if it has significant competition these days.
There’s no shortage of sub-£100 smartwatches now, but the Amazfit Bip range (Bip and Bip U Pro) were the originals – and have been praised in Wareable reviews.
Still, the likes of the Huawei Watch Fit 2 are putting pressure on Amazfit, offering superb value for money.
The Bip 3 Pro is more of the same – and a fairly minor update to the Bip U Pro. But, like its predecessors, it does enjoy a good range of features, including standalone GPS, and a solid, mature app in the form of Zepp Health.
Is it still the pick of the budget smartwatch crop? We spent a couple of weeks with the Bip 3 to find out.
Price and competition
The Bip 3 Pro retails for $69.99 and the non-Pro version for $59.99 – impressive stuff. Few can touch it on price or features (like the inclusion of GPS), and the likes of the Poco Watch and Redmi Watch 2 also have very poor US availability.
But what else is out there? The Huawei Watch Fit 2 got a rave review in our testing, but it’s significantly more expensive at $129. The Huawei Band 7 also tempts, but it’s harder to come by in the States and doesn’t have GPS.
The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini, too, sits at $99.99 and essentially offers most of the same features as the Bip 3 Pro with a full AMOLED display. You can even bag an older GTS 2 Mini for around the same price as the Bip 3 Pro, so that’s worth considering.
Design and screen
It’s fair to say we won’t be seeing the Bip 3 Pro at Milan Fashion Week. It’s an ordinary, rectangular, black plastic smartwatch.
It’s pretty thin, though – we’ll give it that – and comfortable to wear all day, at night, and during workouts. It’s also lovely and lightweight, but, ultimately, no one will compliment you on your wearable choice.
The case measures 44mm, so it’s fairly unisex in terms of size – even if there’s nothing feminine about the design.
The screen is a 1.69-inch TFT with a 240×280 resolution, meanwhile, which is noticeably less colorful, vibrant, and high definition than an AMOLED one. And that can cause significant viewing issues in bright sunlight, which we found when out for a run.
There’s also a disconcerting amount of black bezel, and there’s an apron of black space at the bottom.
The text looks a little pixelated and the colors are washed out, but, some complain that a full AMOLED can be like having a super-bright smartphone on your wrist, so the TFT display at least adds a hint of subtlety.
There’s a single button on the right edge of the case, too, which acts as a home button. Nice and simple. It swizzles as if you can scroll menus, but doesn’t do anything on the screen.
In short, this is a budget smartwatch that looks and feels like one. It’s thin, light, and inoffensively subtle – but that does mean it becomes a little cheap and bland.
The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro is also rated 5ATM, which means it’s good for swimming – and can take dips up to 50m. Swim tracking is also supported.
Activity tracking is a key part of any smartwatch – and there’s plenty to get stuck into on the Bip 3.
As standard, the Bip 3 tracks steps, heart rate, minutes of exercise, and standing hours.
There was no cause for concern in terms of these core metrics, which fell in line with our Garmin Fenix 7 and iPhone estimates.
The Bip 3 will prompt you if you haven’t stood in the previous hour, and remind you to get up and about – if that floats your boat.
However, an extra layer of activity tracking is added by the PAI score. Standing for Personal Activity Intelligence, it’s a single score of your week’s exertion. You need to keep it above 100 to make sure you’re getting enough time at elevated heart rates.
It’s a good idea, but it’s poorly explained on the device, and we feel a lot of people could skip past it.
Still, the Amazfit Bip 3 comes recommended for those looking for a budget fitness tracker in the form factor of a watch – it ticks all the key boxes in that regard.
The Bip 3 does pack a surprisingly large array of health metrics for a sub $100/£100 smartwatch.
It will keep tabs on heart rate, stress levels, blood oxygen and sleep – which means it matches the majority of big-name devices out there. There’s no ECG on board, but it has the core metrics most people will want.
However, as ever, simply having the capability doesn’t make things accurate, actionable, or useful – and that’s the case here.
Heart rate tracking
The Bip 3 Pro will keep tabs on heart rate, and there’s a section of the app devoted to it. You can see a graph of heart rate throughout the day, with high, low, and average bpm – and resting heart rate.
Oddly, in the weeks testing the Bip 3 Pro, it never managed to log a resting heart rate – despite many nights of sleep tracked. This is usually when wearables will take a reading, but we saw blanks in our data.
That’s a real shame, as resting heart rate is one of the more useful metrics from heart rate tracking if presented well. In fairness, the Zepp Health app hides this metric away anyway, even if it does manage to track your data.
There is a separate metric for sleep heart rate, meanwhile, which is contained within the sleep data – more on that shortly.
Wearable companies are going in on stress tracking in 2022 – and Amazfit smartwatches have their own stress score app built in.
It can track stress 24/7 (if that interests you), although this is turned off by default – and will inevitably hit the battery if you turn it on. The Bip 3 Pro allows you to spot-check stress levels, too, generating a score of 100.
We got a score of 40/100, which means we were a bit stressed, but not too much. Useful? Not to us.
There is a guided breathing app on the Bip 3 Pro, as well, should you find that a good way to destress.
Stress tracking feels like one of the biggest gulfs between function and usefulness at present, with very little way to validate stress tracking – at least when estimated by the optical sensor.
On the other hand, tracking heart rate variability (HRV) over long periods, compared to established baselines can be a useful measure of stress. Or tiredness, over-training, or hangovers. T
That’s the baseline of the readiness scores on Garmin, Whoop, Fitbit and Oura, but that’s not how things work here.
Generally, we found sleep tracking to be a good all-around experience, with nicely presented data and accurate bed and wake times.
The presentation of data is excellent and easy to digest. There’s a neat score for sleep regularity, which means how constant your bedtime and wake times are. It’s a highly controllable element of sleep behavior that can benefit everyone, so it’s good to see that it’s tracked.
There’s the tracking of sleep stages, also, but there were elements of data that deeply concerned us.
In around 20 nights of sleep tracking, the Bip 3 didn’t register a minute of REM sleep.
That’s at odds with our data from Whoop, which registered hours every night – meaning the sleep data and stages data from the Bip are meaningless. Once there’s a major failure like this, it undermines the rest of the data, too.
We also found sleep time was over-estimated compared to our Whoop 4.0.
Heart rate accuracy
As discussed, the Bip 3 Pro managed not to track a single day’s worth of resting heart rate data, which makes comparisons here pretty tricky.
We would say that daily lows, and sleeping HR data, were both generally in the ballpark of the Apple Watch and Whoop.
In terms of running accuracy, we actually saw some excellent levels of accuracy.
We tracked several runs against a Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap, producing similar results.
In one hour-long run, the Bip 3 Pro recorded an average of 147bpm vs 146bpm, and a max HR of 165, which matched the HRM-Pro chest strap.
On a second, faster 5K race with more intense heart rate zones, it recorded an average HR of 170bpm vs 172bpm – and a max HR of 187 vs 189bpm.
What does that mean? Well if you’re looking to run or cycle at a roughly steady effort, the Bip 3 Pro will produce accurate heart rate data.
If you mix things up with quick bursts of speed, intensity, or hill repeats, you will start to see poor data. However, as ever, that’s true across pretty much every wrist-based optical devices.
Sports tracking and analysis
We’ve seen a mixed bag in our time with the Bip 3.
With missing resting heart rate and sleep data, it’s not flown the flag for the capabilities of budget smartwatches. However, as a sports watch, the Amazfit Bip 3 does excel.
It has GPS built-in, and, finally, an Amazfit smartwatch works out-of-the-box without the need for some update to make the GPS work properly.
We tracked around five runs – ranging between 25 minutes and one hour – and all were within an acceptable margin for error from a Garmin Fenix 7 with multi-band GNSS turned on.
We usually found it about 200m short over 10km – not shabby at all.
There are also heaps of workout profiles that you can tap into, and we also took the Bip 3 Pro to our yoga class, as well.
Post-workout data was easy to digest, with maps of GPS-tracked activity and quite detailed tracking of things like cadence, stride length, and of course, heart rate zones. All of these matched up to the Garmin Fenix 7 pretty well – and those who like to be active will find a good companion in the Bip 3 Pro.
In keeping with the rest of the Bip U experience, the gradient tracking of hill climbs and descents showed 100% flat runs – despite being on a hilly route.
The Zepp app, which is the home of workout data for the Bip 3 Pro, also plays nicely with Strava – so you can have your workout data synced there, too.
The Bip 3 Pro works across iOS and Android devices – and we tested it with our iPhone 12 Max.
We found notifications were delivered well, and easy to read on the TFT screen.
There’s also a decent amount of customization, and you can trim back the apps and services that buzz your wrist more than most budget smartwatches.
However, the Amazfit OS is lacking compared to the Wear OS and Apple Watch experience. While there are plenty of utilities on the watch itself, enough to make it feel busy and feature-rich, it’s missing advanced features.
There’s no app store, there are no NFC payments, and nor is there a breadth of third-party services to share data with.
There’s also no support for music on board, although you can control tunes played on your smartphone.
Amazfit quotes seven days for ‘heavy use’ – which includes sleep tracking and breathing monitoring turned on all day, as well as stress monitoring and notifications turned on. It also presumes around 3 x 30 min runs per week.
This was borne out in our testing, and, with all the bells and whistles turned on, we found between 5-7 days of battery. We are partial to longer runs of 60-90 minutes.
An hour of running would only knock around 5-7% off the battery, so it’s something that you can take for long runs if you desire.
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro is still a standout at its price point – and offers a good quality experience at a great price. It requires a bit of forgiveness, and, if you’re looking to analyze your life data in detail, we’d suggest upping your budget to something like the Fitbit Versa 4. However, at this price, the Bip 3 Pro covers the basics well – and offers a bit for fitness fans, too.
- A week of battery life
- Good GPS accuracy
- Slim and light to wear
- Some data not tracked
- Uninspiring design