Who knew you could buy a full-featured smartwatch for only $70 at Amazon?

·3 min read

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Amazfit isn't a household name and Bip U Pro just sounds weird, but don't let that stop you from strapping this $70 watch to your wrist. (Photo: Amazon)
Amazfit isn't a household name and Bip U Pro just sounds weird, but don't let that stop you from strapping this $70 watch to your wrist. (Photo: Amazon)

If you've ever shopped for a smartwatch, you've probably looked at models ranging from the Apple Watch to the Fitbit Sense to the Samsung Galaxy Watch — all of which have price tags that leave you questioning just how "smart" a purchase they might be.

Indeed, these wearables start at $279, $300 and a jaw-dropping $400, respectively. So when faced with the Amazfit Bip U Pro, which is just $70, you could understandably jump to the conclusion it must be cheap, feature-deprived junk.

It's not. In fact, the Bip U Pro is a remarkably good smartwatch — not perfect, by any means, but capable enough for users who want the key amenities afforded by these devices: fitness tracking, phone notifications and so on. Better still, at this writing there's an on-page coupon that drops the price to just $60, though it comes and goes; if you don't see it, consider waiting a week or two to see if it returns.

And Amazon will give you free shipping too. But if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get so much more — from access to new movies and TV shows, discounts at Whole Foods, exclusive sales and two-day shipping on many, many items. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here.

I've tried a number of Amazfit wearables over the past couple years, and I've been impressed with most of them. The Bip U Pro is one of the best yet, able to pair with any Android phone or iPhone and display incoming calls, text messages, calendar reminders, news alerts and other notifications.

You can also use it to play or pause your music and even remotely trigger your phone's camera shutter.

As a fitness band, the Bip U Pro offers more features than you'd expect, including heart-rate monitoring, a blood-oxygen sensor and tracking capabilities for steps, stress and sleep. However, it's hard to gauge just how accurate some of these sensors are; I noticed at times that unless you wear the watch in just the right spot on your wrist, and wear it fairly snugly to boot, heart-rate numbers can vary quite a bit.

Hello, plastic pal! Available in black, green and pink, the Bip U Pro can keep tabs on your steps, sleep, heart rate and other important health info.
Hello, plastic pal! Available in black, green and pink, the Bip U Pro can keep tabs on your steps, sleep, heart rate and other important health info. (Photo: Amazon)

Unlike a lot of budget wearables, this one has built-in GPS, meaning it can record your walks, runs, bikes and other outdoor activities even if you're not carrying your phone.

It also has built-in Amazon Alexa, which does require your phone to be nearby. (Alexa doesn't work without connectivity.) Unfortunately, in my experience the feature doesn't perform very well. It's a pain to set up and just doesn't work reliably.

Listen, it's a $70 watch — something's gotta give. I'm not a huge fan of the Bip's companion app, either, which is confusingly called Zepp. It's not very intuitive and it doesn't always do a good job keeping the watch up to date, like with weather data.

But the Bip U Pro has a big, bright screen and a battery that's good for up to nine days; you're lucky to get two days from an Apple Watch, which costs at least four times the money.

Indeed, at this price I'm willing to forgive a few minor shortcomings. If you want to try a smartwatch but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for the privilege, this is a great place to start.

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