Regular readers know of my affinity for the Amazfit Bip, an $80 smartwatch that's way better than its price would suggest. But it's been something like 18 months since that thing hit the scene. Where are all the challengers?
Read more: The best smartwatches for 2019
Here's one, and it's almost ludicrously inexpensive. The BingoFit Epic is just $28 with promo code 30ONE9C2 (which should work with any of the six available color/style options). Regular price: $40.
I know what you're thinking: At that price it must be an ugly, bulky, limited piece of junk. That's certainly what I thought, but because the watch looked so good on paper (and in photos), I decided to see for myself. Spoiler alert: This watch does not suck. It's no Fitbit Versa 2, but it's pretty impressive for the price. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Where the Amazfit Bip looks like a cheap plastic Apple Watch knockoff, the Epic looks like a stylish, spendy Android Wear knockoff: round, reasonably slim and pretty, with an admirably bright high-resolution display. When I asked random people to guess what it cost, estimates ranged from $100 to $250.
The display doesn't really go edge-to-edge; it's a square inside the circle, something you can detect only under bright lighting. And it's not really a touchscreen; everything is controlled by a touch-sensitive button just below the display. You tap repeatedly to cycle through the various menus and long-tap to engage certain features (like heart-rate monitoring). Honestly, this method of navigation may be a little slow, but it's also easier to learn. With Android Wear and many other watches, I could never remember which direction to swipe for which functions.
I tested the watch for about a week -- which, incidentally, is how long it managed to last before needing to recharge. It does so via a proprietary clip/cradle thing, which seems way flimsier than the watch itself.
Here's what I liked about the BingoFit Epic:
- Display: Big and bright, with a choice of three nice faces.
- Battery life: Plan on about a week, depending on how you use it. (Continuous heart-rate monitoring, which is toggled off by default, will definitely put a dent in battery life.)
- Notifications: For me this is the essential feature in any smartwatch. As an added perk, a little green LED flashes when you have a new one.
- Simplicity: The watch itself is easy to use, as is the EveryFit companion app.
- Phone controls: The watch can trigger your camera shutter and remotely control music (play/pause and track skip).
Here's what I didn't like:
- Display: Very hard to read in direct sunlight, an issue if you're hoping to check fitness stats while exercising outdoors.
- No built-in GPS: Instead, it pulls data from your phone.
- Questionable step-tracking results: Like a lot of fitness bands, this one seems to think I'm taking steps even when I'm sitting down.
Speaking of questionable, the watch can also gauge your blood pressure and even your blood-oxygen levels -- but are these results anywhere near accurate? I had nothing to compare them with, but I have serious doubts that a $28 watch could correctly measure such metrics. (That said, the HR numbers did seem pretty closely in line with what I get from my Apple Watch.)
So here's my verdict: The BingoFit Epic is a surprisingly nice smartwatch and a so-so fitness tracker. It's way better than I expected given the price (especially the $28 exclusive price), but obviously no substitute for the likes of a higher-end Fitbit.
Bonus deal: Three cool speaker deals
Cambridge Soundworks makes some of CNET's favorite inexpensive Bluetooth speakers, and users are just as effusive about them. For a limited time, and while supplies last, two from the Oontz line are priced even lower than usual.
First up: The Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Solo Bluetooth Speaker (red) is just $14.99. Regular price: $21.99.
This little gem promises up to 10 hours of playtime. It has a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls and an IPX5 rating for water, dust and shock resistance. Average user rating: an impressive 4.6 stars.
Want something a touch more powerful? The Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Angle 3 3rd-gen (red) is down to $21.99 -- normally $29.99.
Also IPX5-rated, this one can play for up to 14 hours. CNET hasn't reviewed either of these, but check out the very favorableto get a good idea what to expect. (I'm not sure what's different about the Plus model versus this one.)
Good news: For a limited time, Amazon has the Polk Audio Command Bar for $199, which is tied for its lowest price to date.
You can also pick it up from Best Buy for $199.99, if you prefer, and if nothing else you might want to check the user ratings there. For whatever reason, Best Buy shoppers think it's a 4.3-star product, while the Amazon crowd rated it just 3.4 stars. (For what it's worth, CNET's gave it mostly high marks.)
That's quite a discrepancy, so if you already own one of these, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about it. Share them in the comments!
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