8 August 2019
Update on battery life, it had only been lasting me a week, with 30min internal for automatic HR, backlight turned on when lifting the wrist to view and slight increase in brightness. See the attached screen.
Summary: I would have returned it if there was an option, but considering that it is not, I made some adjustments and am able to accept all but one limitation, which is that the font size is too small for my eyes. I will not be able to recommend this from my personal experience, but I see pluses and minuses that could sway someone from feeling it as 1 star product to a 5 star product.
What I like:
- Very comfortable, I completely forget that it is even there on my wrist. Before this, I wore a Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro and that used to keep me conscious especially when I go to bed, but Blip Light is comfortable enough that I don't have to even think about it. The size is also not big and can be used by women too (see pictures of me as well as my wife wearing it). Also, I don't have the watch moving on my wrist even though I don't wear it very tight (another problem with the Samsung watch).
- Display is as expected. It comes with a Transflective display for reduced battery consumption and as such won't look bright and the colours would look washed out. On the plus side, I can read the watch in bright sunlight. My Samsung band display looks excellent, but it falls short of 2 days of battery life, so I have to remember to charge it every day. I am willing to compromise for the display quality for the additional battery life and the readability in bright sun light. Some people are reporting that the Bip Light has worse display than Bip, but I think they are just plain mistaken as both watches have identical displays with respect to the technology, resolution and the size. See attached pictures in both indoor (with backlight) and outdoor (without backlight).
- MiFit app has a lot to be desired, but it is not bad at all. I like the fact that I can sync data easily with Google Fit (something I couldn't with Samsung band) so I am able to get a couple of additional analytics through it (and I can be sure that the data is not lost).
- Stopwatch and Countdown timers work well without a phone
- The option to illuminate the display when lifting the wrist works reliably and aids for better readability in dark environments. There is also a way to disable this from disturbing you in the night.
What I don't like:
- no activity tracking for yoga or any other stationary non-rep activity. I found a workaround for tracking my HR during such activities. I start a walking activity on the watch and at the same time, start a Yoga activity on Google Fit. When done stop the activity in both places. The watch will not save the activity because there were not enough number of steps, but the HR data is still saved, so after a sync Google Fit will be able to show the HR data.
- notifications don't get grouped and you have to go to the end to clear them all
- no option to increase the font size, so if the default size is too small for your bare eyes, then you will be forced to use glasses. Also, unicode characters don't get rendered properly (they show up as question marks).
- no support for notifications from Android for Work apps, however I found a workaround. The watch can't actually distinguish between the personal and work apps, so if you enable notifications for a personal app, the same from corresponding work app also show up. I don't use personal Google Calendar, but enabling the notifications for it gets me the Google Calendar notifications from work profile. In the same way, to enable notifications for Hangouts Chat from work profile, I just had to install it on personal profile (not even login) and enable notifications for it.
- No on-demand HR
- Notification modes are not customizable, so you can't distinguish the notifications without looking at the screen.
- The belt is too long and sometimes gets in the way. I am wearing on hole 4 and there are 10 more holes in it. While I am lean I can't imagine anybody being hefty enough to use the 14th hole.
- Manytimes, the incoming call alert keeps buzzing for 10 or more seconds even after the call is answered and in progress, so I have to click on "Ignore" to stop it. Once I accidentally clicked on "Reject" and the on-going call got disconnected. I had instances in which I took a short call and even after ending the call, the watch continued to vibrate for another 4 or 5 seconds.
- MiFit app has no way to delete incorrect activities. Sometimes, my scooter rides to somewhere closeby, or my car rides in traffic jams get detected as runs. There is no way to delete these.
I read a number of existing reviews before opening my box and a number of them made me scared enough to want to return it without opening. However, I then realized that it is non returnable and so decided to try anyway and realized that many of the reported issues are incorrect, so here are my clarification in myth buster style.
- Incoming call alerts take a few seconds to show up: In my case call alerts have always showed up almost immediately and sometimes with just 1 or 2 seconds delay. Busted!
- The watch shows time in only 24hr format: It is true that the default watch face shows time in 24hr format, but there are other watch faces that not only show time in 12hr format, they also show plenty of other information on the same screen along with the time. Busted!
- Watch counts steps while riding a vehicle: I noted down the step count before and after several rides and the count has changed minimally (e.g., 100 after a 10km drive) or not at all. Once I tried riding my scooter on a road that has a lot of pits, broken down pavement and speed bumps and I tried to go through them with as much speed as I can manage and yet the count hasn't changed. However, I have seen at least a couple of cases in which the count changed when it shouldn't, e.g., when I wake up in the morning and am still on the bed. This seems Plausible! Though I don't think it is a big issue.
- Bluetooth is weak: Some people reported that the watch loses connection to phone even at 10ft. I have my phone connected to charger at the corner of bedroom and everytime I step into the bathroom on the other side, it gets disconnected, which is like just 15ft away. Confirmed!
- Sleep tracking is inaccurate: For me sleep tracking seems accurate, though the score is questionable. The time of going to bed and wake up are correct, and anytime I get down the bed in the middle of the night, it shows up as being awake. However, the watch has no way of knowing when we truly fall into sleep and this is same for most other bands too. Busted!
- HR measurements are not accurate: I spot checked my HR using a pulse oximeter and they are very close (see attached pictures). Busted!
- Touch is not responsive. Mine just works fine and seems responsive and accurate. I can e.g., touch the small triangles to increase or decrease the countdown timer and my touches get detected accurately. However, there is a possibility that some people received watches with faulty touch sensor. Plausible!