For those of you with an interest in tech, you will probably be keeping a close eye on CES and what new gadgets are headed our way for 2020. One of those new high-tech releases is a rugged smartwatch from Chinese tech manufacturer Amazfit.
Amazfit has had a lot of success over the years releasing affordable smartwatches that sync data to a connected smartphone, but the T-Rex represents their first foray into rugged design.
Amazfit T-Rex Design
The first thing that strikes you about the Amazfit T-Rex is just how bulky the watch is. I wouldn’t say that it is particularly good looking, but it certainly has a rugged build that promises to shrug off knocks and bangs.
Amazfit’s plan to build a durable watch has created a body that meets MIL-STD-810G durability ratings and will remain watertight at depths of 5 meters. Those of you looking at the bulky design and expecting a high weight will be interested to know the T-Rex weighs just 55g thanks to a largely plastic construction.
The large plastic casing is attached to a silicone strap that although soft to the touch is overly stretchy and feels quite cheap compared to the rest of the watch. Being so elastic actually caused some comfort issues too, but I’ll get into that below.
4 large alloy buttons surround the watch face, these can be used for navigating the onscreen menu and are large enough to use even with gloves on. The screen itself is a 1.3in AMOLED panel which can be touched and swiped to enter different modes and settings. The screen is built from a tough Gorilla Glass 3 material and coated in a fingerprint-resistant coating.
On the rear of the body are an optical heart rate monitor and a couple of metal contacts for attaching a magnetic charging cable too.
Amazfit T-Rex Features
Beneath the 1.3in AMOLED display the watch houses a built-in battery that Amazfit claims will last 20 days on a single charge. There’s the aforementioned heart rate monitor, Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting to your smartphone and even built-in GPS and Glonass. There’s also a built-in compass, and advanced sensors for light, geomagnetic, and acceleration monitoring and recording.
Built-in GPS makes the Amazfit T-Rex especially appealing to mountain bikers as it allows you to track and map a ride directly from your watch, without having to use your phone. The T-Rex will even create a visual map or your ride, with heart rate and speed information all accessible from the watch. Once synced with your phone the info is available from within the Amazfit application and if you connect your Strava account, activities will automatically be updated there too.
Being a smartwatch for active users, the T-Rex has built-in activity modes for most indoor and outdoor sports. You can manually set an activity from the list, the GPS will connect and away you go. During the activity, the T-Rex will map your ride, and constantly monitor your heart rate and log all the info to your watch, and sync that to your smartphone with via the Amazfit application.
Speaking of the application, I had issues creating an account and although there are options to log in using Google or WeChat accounts, the only way I could activate the app and upgrade the watch was by using my Xiaomi account. This and a bug with Strava have been fixed and the launch edition of the T-Rex and application are all working bug-free.
Once connected I also had a few teething issues with getting the T-Rex to show notifications from messaging apps and social media. In the end, it was a simple fix, but the UI of the app didn’t really aid in working out how to get everything up and running.
In addition to the sport-centric features the T-Rex also has functions to control music on your mobile, there are alarms that will help you find your phone if you lose it, there are water forecasts and temperature warnings and you can even customise the watch face using over 30 different downloadable options.
Amazfit T-Rex Comfort
With a large and thick body, there is no forgetting you have the T-Rex on. The bulky design needs consideration when walking about a cramped office and I often caught the body on chairs and door handles.
The fact the watch has a built-in heart rate monitor means you have to wear the watch as close to your skin as possible, but I found the elastic stretch in the strap was either slightly too loose or way too tight.
In the end, I opted for the slightly loose approach as I enjoy allowing blood to flow to my hand. Even fitted like this the heart rate monitor appears to work as it should, however, this also meant the large body of the watch is able to chatter and bang upon my wrist.
After a full day of riding at Bike Park Wales, the rattle and banging actually hurt so much I had to remove the watch for a day. Amazfit recommends wearing the watch slightly further up the arm to avoid this, but I feel swapping to a high-quality watch strap would be the way to avoid these issues.
Amazfit T-Rex Battery Life
Amazfit claims the battery in the T-Rex will last 20 days on a single charge, but that is under normal conditions i.e using the watch as a smartwatch that sends a notification to your wrist from your phone.
With GPS on continuously, you’ll get 20 hours from the watch. In my time with the T-Rex, I managed 4 days from a charge. That was 3 days of normal use and 1 day at Bike Park Wales with GPS and heart rate monitoring constantly on.
Amazfit T-Rex Conclusion
Amazfit has priced the T-Rex at a competitively low price of just £105 or $139.99 and for that, you get many of the same navigation and sports monitoring features as a much more expensive Garmin or similar.
From a hardware and features point of view, the T-Rex is hard to fault. The battery life is good even when pushed hard, the AMOLED screen is crisp and easy to ready and GPS locks on quickly and stays locked on during a ride.
My only complaint is the included watch strap. It feels cheap and really is uncomfortable, causing the watch to either sit too tightly or bounce around too much on the trail.
If you’re after a feature-packed, well priced, rugged smartwatch the T-Rex is worth a look but factor in the cost of an upgraded watch strap when you do.