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12 May 2020

Amazfit and Mobvoi 2020 smartwatches put to the test

We review the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 and Amazfit Bip Lite to see what's new, and whether you're better off making a saving on last year's models

If you're thinking of buying a new smartwatch that will cover your basic lockdown fitness needs and look good on your wrist when life goes back to normal, then the Amazfit Bip Lite and Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 are successors to two popular models from last year.

Of course, you can't go to the gym at the moment. But a smartwatch can still help you keep fit during the lockdown, logging your steps, your sleep, your outdoor runs and your indoor workouts.

The Amazfit Bip Lite and Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 are aimed at people who are fashion conscious and keen about exercise (rather than athletes with specialist interests).

The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 looks rather like a traditional watch, while the Amazfit Bip Lite is clearly inspired by the curved square design of the Apple.

Both appear very similar to their predecessors, though - the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro and the Amazfit Bip. So what's new, and with last year's models on sale, are you better off opting for a discount instead? Read on to find out.

Our round-up of the best smartwatches reveal the models that topped our tests.

Amazfit Bip Lite (£60) vs Amazfit Bip (£64)

Visually, not much has changed. Both the Bip Lite and Bip have an Applesque 'squircle' design, a colour touchscreen with a resolution of 176 x 176 pixels and a flexible silicone strap. You won't fool anyone into thinking you're wearing an Apple Watch (other than perhaps in a really grainy video call), but they seem well built. We tried scratching the screen of the Bip Lite - to replicate accidentally brushing it against an abrasive surface - but found that it was very scratch-resistant.

Both are nice and lightweight (the Bip Lite, pictured above, is 29g; the Bip weighs just fractionally more), meaning either will be comfortable on your wrist both day and night. You'll have basic fitness tracking - such as steps, distance, calories and heart rate - and sleep-tracking too. Plus, you'll get notifications for for texts, emails, phone calls, social media updates and calendar updates, although you won't be able to reply to any messages received, or to receive or actively make phone calls.

There are a few things missing, though. There are no additional apps to download, or functions of more sophisticated devices, such as the ability to make contactless payments, wi-fi connectivity or advanced music control.

What's new with the Amazfit Bip Lite?

You can keep the Bip Lite on your wrist when we're allowed to hit the swimming pool again, whereas you couldn't with the Bip.

That said, the Bip Lite won't actually be able to track your swimming stats. If you want a cheap wearable that can record your swim strokes, consider the Honor Band 5 (£27), below, fitness tracker instead.

If you're prepared to pay more, there's also the Amazfit GTS (£116; below), which also looks rather like an Apple Watch, and has GPS and a higher-quality screen (348 x 224 resolution), and can provide swimming metrics such as SWOLF (a measure of your swimming efficiency).

Orthe Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro fitness tracker (£135). This comes pre-loaded with the Speedo On app, which gives you detailed swim analysis.

The Bip has GPS, which the Bip Lite doesn't. If you want the Bip Lite to track your run, walk or cycle ride, you'll need to take your phone out with you so that the watch can use your phone's GPS. In most cases, it will be more useful to have the GPS than the waterproofing, given the lack of swimming stats on the Bip Lite.

How much can you save on the Lite version?

Currently, not much. You can pick up an Amazfit Bip Lite for £60 and an Amazfit Bip for £64 on Amazon.

Check out our reviews of the Amazfit Bip and Amazfit Bip Lite to find out how they fare when it comes to accuracy of fitness tracking, comfort and ease of use. Or discover other cheap alternatives to the Apple Watch.

Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 (£223) vs Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro (£176)

The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro and Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 are practically identical. Both have have a traditional, rather masculine, look about them, a solid, well-made feel and numbers on the bezel.

Both have an innovative two-layered display: an AMOLED screen, that gets used most of the time, and an LCD screen, that gets used when the watch is in battery-saving mode. You'll only see one of these screens at a time, though.

You'll find on-board GPS for phone-free route-tracking, NFC for contactless payments through Google Pay and both can be used to track your sleep. Sleep-tracking wasn't available on the Ticwatch Pro back when we tested it, but Mobvoi rolled out its new TicSleep app in October 2019, allowing the movement and heart-rate sensors on its TicWatch Pro series to track sleep.

You'll get detailed analysis of your sleep through the TicSleep app - although, as with any wearable sleep-tracker, the data can only ever be an estimate, so don't get too hung up on it.

Bizarrely, Mobvoi hasn't chosen to make your sleep data available on your smartphone. You can only view it on the smartwatch screen (pictured below), so you'll have to do lots of scrolling.

As The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro and TicWatchPro 2020 are Wear OS watches, although they're compatible with iOS, some of the smart features won't be available to you if you're an iPhone user. For example, Android users can send and respond to texts, but iPhone users can't. You'll be able to read texts and emails and receive phone calls - but not make calls - either way, though.

Find out more about how to track sleep with a smartwatch or fitness tracker.

What's new with the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020?

As with the Amazfit Bip, this is a minor update rather than a significant redesign. If you've already bought the original Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro, then you won't need to upgrade just yet.

The Mobvoi, the 2020 version has 1GB of Ram, is designed to be more responsive and is made from military-grade, highly durable materials. When we tested it, we found that it was more responsive - but you'll still find yourself swiping repeatedly at times, as both often fail to register your swipes.

How much can you save on Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro?

Mobvoi has stopped selling the Ticwatch Pro, but you can pick it up on Amazon for £176. Or, you can buy a refurbished model from Mobvoi for £145. This won't be refundable, so do make sure to read our Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 2020 review beforehand to find out if it covers all your requirements.

Be aware that, like the original Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro, it's a hefty watch that could easily tire out a small wrist.

More deals on smartwatches and fitness trackers

If you're not taken with either of these, a few other popular smartwatches and fitness trackers are currently on sale, too.

Smartwatch deals

Fitness tracker deals

Click the links to see whether they're worth buying, head to our full list of smartwatch reviews and fitness tracker reviews to see all the wearables we've tested, or check out our new guide to home exercise equipment.