Huami has made his name on cheap wearables such as the Amazfit Bip, one of the best smartwatches we have tested. Now, with the ultra-rugged Huami Amazfit T-Rex, the company has turned its direction to GPS sports watches. With a large display, onboard GPS, a built-in compass, and enough durability certificates to survive Jurassic Park, the Amazfit T-Rex seems like a challenge for Garmin, the megalodon in the room. And today, we are here with our Amazfit T-Rex Review.
Amazfit T-Rex Review: Design
When I took out the Amazfit T-Rex, I thought Huami accidentally sent me a Casio G-Shock. The thick case measures 44 millimeters, and the rugged exterior is accentuated by metal screw heads, textured buttons, and full protection. Four labeled buttons surround the case: one for up, one for down, one for selection, one for the back.
The bezel has a slightly raised bumper to protect the screen, which itself is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 and anti-fingerprint coating. It makes the smartwatch bulky, which some might like, but I thought it would be furious if it got on my sleeve. I also couldn’t get the T-Rex to rest comfortably on my wrist. Knowing that this was probably a “me” problem, I had someone with a larger wrist, try it out, and they suffered much less. They even complimented me on the light feeling of the T-Rex.
Huami-san here goes for durability, and you can see that in the hardware of the T-Rex. The case has a Military’s Standard 810 rating for harsh environments, which means it can bear temperatures ranging from 158 degrees to -104 degrees Fahrenheit and are submerged in 165 feet (5ATM). I couldn’t test these conditions in New York’s mild climate. Still, it certainly covered my daily life during the month I wore it, which involved a chaotic movement, a few home improvement projects, and a variety of outdoor activities.
As robust as the shell feels, I’m a little less sure of the quality of the tire. The plastic lock seems to be able to break, while the silicone straps feel as if they can stretch over time. Although we haven’t looked at it yet, the $199 Garmin Instinct has identical durability certificates and more rigid tires. Fortunately, the tires are interchangeable, in the likelihood that they will need to be replaced.
Amazfit T-Rex Review: Display and UI
The 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen on the Amazfit T-Rex is colorful and bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight. It makes the watch more expensive than it is and shines in comparison to the black and white Instinct screen.
The interface of the T-Rex is not inspiring, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve seen cheap watches try to overcompensate with complicated layouts; however, sometimes less is more. You can navigate by swiping the display in any direction or by using the physical buttons. Activating the activity menu is more intuitive than opening the main menu, but once you’re there, you can control your music, countdown, alarms, and reminders. You’ll be able to see the compass, check the weather, or ping your phone.
One of my least favorite features about the Amazfit T-Rex are the faces of the watch, and how they don’t match the aesthetics of the outdoors. Maybe I was spoiled by my Apple Watch 5, but I didn’t find any of the 30 available dials attractive. Most of them radiate the tasteless robot vibe of early 2000 technology, none are customizable, and only a few offer useful data like the weather report.
GPS, fitness features and sleep tracking
While the majority of sports watches are aimed at runners, some, such as the Amazfit T-Rex, focus on the ultimate outdoorsman. With GPS and compass capabilities, hikers and mountaineers shouldn’t lose their way if this watch is their guide. I’m not a mountaineer, but when I crossed a nearby nature reserve, I found the location data of the T-Rex accurate. It knew exactly where I was and pointed me in the correct direction when I wanted to get back to my car.
The GPS watch on my wrist tagged my route so I could return if I got lost, although it would be nice if I could download my course in advance as I can with the Garmin Explore app on Instinct. In addition to hiking, biking, swimming, running, skiing and hiking, indoor treadmill, cycling, elliptical trainer, and catch-all ‘exercise’ sports modes are available to choose from. No matter which one you prefer, you can see your training duration, distance, and speed. The altimeter also keeps track of your altitude gain.
You can see this data in real-time on your wrist using the up and down buttons – the touch screen is locked when you start training to prevent accidental tapping. You can also check in your heart rate at any time. The T-Rex even provides a continuous optical heart rate alert and gives a quick heart rate alert if it detects an unexpected pace that could be harmful to your health. However, this only happens when you are not exercising.
When it’s time to turn a blind eye, the watch follows your sleep cycle to help you get used to the quality of your snooze. It will enable a sleep score and provide a sleep analysis report. I’m not happy with the sleep tracking technology as I often find it inaccurate, but when the Amazfit T-Rex says I sleep for 6 hours and 39 minutes on average, I believe it. In my Garmin Vivomove Luxury review, for comparison, the watch told me that I sleep close to 9 hours on nights that I know I spend most of the scrolling Twitter.
Amazfit T-Rex Review: App
All Amazfit T-Rex fitness sensors provide useful data, but you will want to use the Amazfit app (available for Android and iOS) to get a full picture of your health. It stores data on everything from your stride length and calories burned to your workout loads and weight. You can enter your body measurements manually if you also want to keep track of your fitness goals.
That said, the app can be confusing to navigate at first and doesn’t provide much context on your metrics, like what they mean or whether you should try to change them. For example, it told me my current sleep average might not be suitable for my health, but doesn’t offer any suggestions for getting more rest. I appreciated that I could merge specific data with the Apple Health app and often admitted that I could check it through the Amazfit app for sleep and step information.
Amazfit T-Rex Review: Battery Life
Like the Amazfit Bip, the Amazfit T-Rex’s selling point is battery life. Amazfit said the T-Rex should last 20 days at a time, but that’s a modest estimate. In our tests, it lasted closer to 30 days with limited GPS use. The battery seeped faster when we turned on GPS for late spring hikes, zapping at about 10% per hour, which means you should get about 10 hours of juice with continuous location determination. That’s still impressive by category standard.
With a Garmin model like the Instinct, you can adjust the GPS on ping satellites at a slower pace to save battery power. In smartwatch mode, Instinct lasts up to 14 days; with GPS enabled, battery life is 16 hours, but you can extend that to 40 hours in Garmin’s UltraTrac mode, which turns GPS off regularly to conserve battery power. If you’re not sure how long you can expect your T-Rex to last, you can see how many estimated hours you have left in the activity menu. There’s also a power-saving mode for when you’re in a pinch.
Price and Availability
The Amazfit T-Rex comes in one size and costs $139.99. We have tested the Gun Grey model, although you can also choose from the Rock Black, Khaki, Army Green, and Camo Green versions. From now on, you can buy the Amazfit T-Rex at stores like Amazon, Best Buy and B&H Photo, or directly from Huami on the Amazfit website.
Amazfit T-Rex Review: Conclusion
I hesitate to call the Amazfit T-Rex a smartwatch, even if that’s how Huami puts it on the market. The interface feels sparse, the notification system could use some work, and the dials were stuck in 2003. But as a military certified sports watch with all the sensors you could wish for, the T-Rex is a beast to be reckoned with. For $140, it’s less than half the price of the Garmin instinct, making it an affordable alternative.
The Amazfit T-Rex’s bright display and stamina make it a solid, but not spectacular, the choice for all-day adventure seekers on a budget, while its name doesn’t make it a fantasy for archaeologists. For more options, check our list of Best Hiking Watch of 2020
The rugged Amazfit T-Rex is an outdoor GPS sports watch with impressive battery life and costs less than $150. But its bulky design and limited intelligence may not be for everyone.
- Affordable for a GPS watch
- Rugged design
- Impressive battery life
- Outdated watch face options
- Notifications are frustrating