The best cheap Apple Watch 4 alternative: The Amazfit Bip for $80
It looks like an Apple Watch. It runs for weeks on a charge. It's a fraction of the price. What's not to like? Plus: Super-cheap LED light bulbs and a free beginner's guide to yoga!
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Today is more of a public service announcement than an outright deal, though it certainly is a deal. As you may know,
is expected to take the wraps off the Apple Watch Series 4 in just a few hours. The specs are still a mystery, but the price is not: If it follows the Series 3 model, it would start at $329 (for the smaller, non-LTE model) and rise sharply from there. Ouch. Even if Apple keeps a cheaper alternative in the line, as it currently does with the Series 1, you're still looking at sale prices closer to $149. Better, but still a bit rich for my blood.
Thankfully, there's an affordable alternative -- one I've been championing for much of 2018. It's the
, and it sells for just $80 from Amazfit proper. You can also get it from Amazon for the same price, and it occasionally even dips closer to $70.
As you can see, the Bip actually looks a lot like the Apple Watch, albeit a little thinner and with a different screen. The latter is smaller and dimmer, with a much lower resolution that results in chunkier-looking text and watch faces. It's also superior outdoors, and it's always on -- you don't have to raise your wrist to "wake" it.
The Bip does all the things a good smartwatch should. It delivers phone notifications (alarms, text messages, caller ID, reminders and so on) to your wrist. It tracks your steps and heart rate. It has onboard GPS for cataloging your runs, phone-free.
The real standout feature, though: battery life. Unlike the vast majority of smartwatches, which must return to their chargers on a nightly basis, the Bip can last for weeks. How many weeks depends on a few factors, including how many notification options you've enabled and whether you use GPS.
I've also discovered, anecdotally, that if you choose a watch face that has an active second hand, battery life can drop significantly. Meanwhile, Amazfit still hasn't addressed the problem with many of the available digital faces, which can display only 24-hour time.
Watch this: Amazfit Bip vs. Fitbit Versa: Which is more like Pebble?
Amazingly, there's no charge for shipping, though you'll have to pay sales tax, of course.
These A19 soft-white bulbs produce light equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent and should last for up to 10 years. The only catch: They're not dimmable. But that didn't stop 456 Home Depot customers from collectively rating them 4.4 stars out of 5.
Bonus deal No. 2: I've dabbled in yoga a bit, but I find that I get self-conscious when I go to classes. I always feel like I'm doing everything wrong because I don't really know the basics.
This 171-page guide explains the history of yoga and the potential health benefits. Better still, it includes 30 illustrated poses so you can see what a proper downward dog looks like.
There are a zillion similar guides and no shortage of helpful YouTube videos, but this is free, so why not grab it while you can?
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