Amazfit T-Rex an almost perfect budget, rugged smartwatch

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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

Amazfit Trex review
Rugged but lightweight.

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 Trex review
Just 55g.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
Charging cable attaches via magnets.

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

Amazfit Trex review
The AMOLED display is clear and easy to view.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
Optical heart rate monitor on the rear.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
Built-in GPS maps rides.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
Weather function.

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

Amazfit Trex review
T-Rex is a large watch.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
The strap is uncomfortable and I would want to replace it.

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 Trex review
There are 30 optional watch faces to download.

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.

Amazfit Trex review
Rugged and bulky.

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.

Comments (0)

    Wait there, I’ve just got to pop off and Google how much this budget watch is…

    Size wise looks similar to having a G-shock watch or something like Garmin Fenix 6.

    It’ll ne interesting to know whether the gps and optical HR is any good or all over the place.

    5m water resistance ? That’s garbage tho. That’s basically about ok for showering with. But no good at all for swimming with it on (remember there are pressure pulses when swimming way higher than the depth you’re at)

    I got a Polar Vantage M for about £190 last year as a ‘mainstream Company’ gps multi-sport watch that happily holds up in gps for 30hrs, and about 5 or 6 days in regular use inc having tje optical HR on 24/7 (and can get them cheaper than that sometimes) and is fine for swimming.

    So this watch its not just competing against 400 quid Garmins.

    The price is in the review £105 if you didn’t see it 😀

    Yup, hear what you’re saying but at £190 that’s £85 more than this watch. Enough for a couple of uplift days.

    Should “This and a bug with Strava have not been fixed” read now….?

    Has been fixed, sorry I didn’t completely update the review as it still wasn’t working up until last night.

    Or you could get a Garmin vivoactive 3 for under £150, know that it comes from a reputable brand with proper warranty and “it just works”, plus you can easily buy things like spare charge cables, alternative straps, etc, etc. I’ve been stung by cheap electronics that fail, with manufacturers that disappear often enough that this sort of thing isn’t for me…

    My fenix 3 is looking a bit tired so this looks like a great option thanks STW. Any idea how good the mapping is? Any navigation functionality?

    Or buy a Makibes BR1 which does almost everything the Amazfit does for £38 from China! And it looks a darn sight better too.

    Yeah, I’d like to know about navigation too. Maps presumably a stretch, but does it do a Breadcrumb trail?

    Are there any replacement straps?
    Looks like an odd type of fitting.

    I bought a huawie Pro3 ostensibly to count lengths while pool swimming. Under £50 from Argos. 3-4 days battery life. Heart monitor, not as accurate as a chest one but Ok, and a useful (or worrying in my case) sleep quality monitor.
    GPS isnt as good as my Samsung phone linked to STRAVA. but gives a route image.
    Swimming data is interesting, not sure how useful as I’m more a sportive type swimmer than tri athelete.
    Data is posted to STRAVA but only as images of the Huawei health app screens.
    Finally, touch screen is a little inconsistent, especially when wet, if and when I replace it I’ll be looking for buttons rather than anotjer touch screen.

    Does this one link to more than bluetooth headphone? Still using Bluetooth/Ant+ speed and cadence sensors here….

    Vivoactive doesn’t quite “just work” … the wife has one and the on-watch running programs are flakey. If she does a built-in running programme timed-run, the watch *always* crashes with a reboot at the end which loses the last half mile or so of data. If she just goes for a run/ride and uses the tracking, there are no issues. Garmin support have been utterly useless “ensure the watch is updated and everything will be fine” … err, no actually. So, as a tracker… it’s fine… as a training aid, look elsewhere.

    There’s also a massive discrepancy between data from her watch and my Apple Watch when we do the same ride… but we’re yet to dig into who’s device is right.

    Never mind ‘not just competing with £400 Garmins’ what about ‘£200 Coros’s’?

    My Apex does pretty much everything the big Garmin does apart from the mapping, but with huge battery life and a responsive dev team who seem able to remember that the customer actually pays the bills.

    This watch looks interesting from a cheap and g-shockey pint of view, but are replacement straps available? Review states existing strap is junk and implies they may be (‘supplied…’) but doesn’t actually state. Given the criticism levelled at the strap, this is a dealbreaker and not being clear on this point is a big problem.

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