Amazfit T-Rex 2 review

Finally, an outdoor watch from Amazfit fit to take on an adventure
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Amazfit T-Rex 2
By Amazfit
The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is the type of outdoor watch we hoped the original T-Rex would be. It ticks the box of giving you something that feels built to handle tough environments but still has desirable features like a sharp touchscreen display and slick operating system in general. Adding navigation features and the ability to import routes is the big deal here, which helps to make this solid sports tracking watch one that's actually useful to have when you venture further afield. If you don't want to spend big on an outdoor smartwatch, the T-Rex 2 is one to definitely check out.

Hit
  • Added navigation features
  • Dual band tracking performance
  • Strong battery life
Miss
  • Heart rate tracking accuracy
  • Some big features not live yet
  • App store still work in progress

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is the company's third attempt at proving it can make a great budget outdoor watch.

For $229/£219, the T-Rex 2 gives you a watch that can survive in extreme heat and cold, has sports tracking modes aplenty and sensors like heart rate, a barometric altimeter and an SpO2 sensor.

Amazfit is also addressing our biggest gripe with previous T-Rex watches, by finally adding navigation features and the ability to import routes to make it a better fit for exploring.

There's big battery life here too, with the promise that this outdoor watch can go for weeks as opposed to days.

It's cheaper than most top outdoor watches, including the more affordable Garmin Instinct 2 – let alone the Garmin Fenix and the Coros Vertix 2. The T-Rex 2 could be a great option for lovers of the great outdoors.

Should you pick it up? This is our take on the Amazfit T-Rex 2.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Design and screen

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Like the T-Rex and the T-Rex Pro, the T-Rex 2 sticks to largely the same design formula. There's a big case and bezel with machine screws. It's an all polymer case, which means it's relatively light, but this is watch that wants to stand out.

The 47mm case measures in at 13mm thick, which means it's the same size as the Pro. It's heavier now though, weighing in at 66.5g, but it's still a surprisingly light watch to wear.

The standard edition of the Garmin Fenix 7 for comparison features a 47mm case and is around 14mm thick, so it's not far off the stature of other outdoor watches.

However, the oversized case isn't too female-friendly, and the Fenix offers its smaller 42mm S range, which is far more unisex.

The T-Rex 2 comes in astro black, ember black (pictured), wild green and desert khaki and as a package it's been slapped with just the 15 military grade certifications to assert its ability to handle extreme environments.

Whether's it's strong heat, cold, humidity, shock, freezing rain or a salt spray, this watch is built to survive in those conditions.

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(Left to right) Amazfit T-Rex 2, T-Rex Pro and T-Rex

Along with military grade levels of protection this is a watch that's waterproof up to 100 metres depth, which is usually the level of moisture protection you'd expect to find on pricier outdoor watches. So if you like going deep, this is a watch you can do it with.

Dotted around the case are four physical buttons, each with a nice textured finish to make sure you get good purchase with wet or sweaty fingers.

They surround a 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen display matching the screen size on the T-Rex Pro, but it's jumped from a 360 x 360 resolution screen to a sharper 454 x 454 resolution one.

That screen, which can be set to always on, is nice and bright, offers accurate colors and we found viewing angles strong both indoors and outdoors in bright outdoor light where AMOLED screens can often struggle.

Keeping that polymer case in place is a very plasticky-feeling 22mm silicone strap that doesn't look easily replaceable, but does have a classic pin buckle to make sure it does not budge.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Outdoor tracking and mapping

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Until now, the T-Rex has felt more outdoor watch in look, but beyond some dedicated activity modes, it's felt more like a sports watch. That is changing with the T-Rex 2.

Amazfit is including key sensors like a barometric altimeter and compass for that additional hit of outdoor data, but it's crucially adding navigation features and the ability to import routes onto the watch as well.

In terms of that navigation support, it's pretty basic giving you the option to direct you back to the starting point of your expedition. It works with 18 of the supported activities included on the watch, which includes outdoor running, walking, cycling, climbing, hiking, cross-country skiing and open water swimming.

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You won't see any sort of rich map on screen, but you will see a a simple line of your route with an arrow pointing you in the right direction. It won't buzz your or notify you that you've gone off course. Instead, a change in arrow color will alert you that you've gone off track. It's a simple approach, but it's handy enough to help steer you in the right direction.

On gripe in the process is that you have to pause the tracked activity to get into those navigation features, but aside from that, it works as advertised.

There is also the promise of syncing routes to the watch, which can be done via the companion Zepp app. That particular support has been promised in an OTA update, we expected to drop during our testing time, but has yet to land. So we can't vouch for how well that works. What is available from a navigation point of view, works perfectly fine. Is it the best navigation support you'll find on a watch right now? No, but it should do a good job for most.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Sports tracking

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It's fair to say there's no shortage of sports tracking features on the T-Rex 2 and there's some welcome new modes that didn't appear on the T-Rex Pro that should make the sports tracking experience an even better one.

You're getting 150+ sports tracking modes, which includes automatic exercise tracking for 8 of those modes. Amazfit's Peakbeats insights offer training load, VO2 Max and recovery insights to help better optimise your training time.

You're now getting the promise of building training templates for a range of activities and there's a bigger emphasis on tracking strength training with support for 15 strength training movements.

Again, some of these new features haven't gone live yet, like the promised training templates and richer strength training support. What is here so far does largely deliver the goods.

Outdoor running and GPS accuracy

On outdoor runs, you now have the added benefit of a dual band mode to improve tracking accuracy by improving communication with the five supported satellite systems.

You can now head into the app to pick from highest accuracy mode, which uses that dual band mode or drop down to balanced (single band), power saving (single band and low-power GPS) or pick the custom mode.

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We stuck to using it in that high accuracy mode and found in general accuracy fared pretty well up against the highly accurate multi-band mode on Garmin's Forerunner 955 and Epix watches.

There were still a few runs that were a bit off on the distance tracking front, but core metrics like average pace and calorie burn offered similar data to those reliable Garmin watches.

Heart rate tracking and accuracy

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It wasn't quite the same story on the heart rate tracking front however.

Amazfit includes its Biotracker 3.0 sensor, which we found performed well against a MyZone MZ-3 heart rate monitor chest strap for steady paced runs, but like a lot of optical sensors delivered low average HR data and a difference of around 5-6bpm for maximum heart rate readings for higher effort level runs.

It's definitely not the worst performer, but if you want that best accuracy, it's not quite there.

Unfortunately. you can't pair up an external monitor to remedy those accuracy issues.

Swimming: Indoor and outdoor

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Pool swim tracking: T-Rex 2 (left) and Garmin Forerunner 955 (right)

For swims, the T-Rex 2 performed well indoors in the pool but was a bit more sketchy in some short outdoor swims we put it to the test for. In the pool, it matched the swim tracking in general with Garmin's swim tracking whether it was distance, lap counts or pace.

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Open water swim tracking: T-Rex 2 (left) and Garmin Forerunner 955 (right)

On the outdoor swims we put it up against the open swim tracking on the Garmin Forerunner 955 and it tended to overestimate distance covered in comparison. Open water swim tracking on watches in general isn't fantastic, and it feels like it's a bit of a similar story here.

Treadmill and indoor workouts

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Back indoors and treadmill run tracking wasn't very accurate for us either and tended to be over 1km out from treadmill readings and tracking on the Garmin Forerunner 955 and Epix.

Things were slightly better for indoor rows, where stroke counts and average stroke rates largely matched up with tracking on those Garmin watches, though heart rate data was wildly off at times.

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Peakbeats training insights

Delving into the Peakbeats training insights and we compared similar insights delivered by Garmin, which also offers insights into training load, training effect and recommended recovery times. These insights can be found in the workout status menu on the app while training effect data is included in the post-workout stats in the app.

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In general, aerobic training effect scores were similar to Garmin's scores, while training load and suggested recovery times were similar for us too. There was a big disparity in VO2 Max estimates with the T-Rex 2 scoring us 47 compared to the 60 delivered by Garmin and a chest strap.

So there's some useful information in there that can offer some guidance on the decisions you make about your training.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Fitness and health tracking

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If you want the T-Rex 2 to track your steps, heart rate and sleep, it can do those things. It also offers features like guided breathing exercises, blood oxygen tracking and menstrual cycle tracking to enhance its health and wellness tracking capabilities. There's also those PAI heart-based scores to keep you motivated to keep moving.

For steps, we found it largely in the same ballpark of step tracking on a Garmin and Oura Ring 3 on some days and on other days had a difference of a 1,000 steps compared to those devices.

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Sleep tracking accuracy

When you're tracking sleep, you're getting a breakdown of sleep stages, sleep duration, a sleep score and you can additionally turn on sleep breathing quality tracking, which remains a beta feature.

In the app, you can also see insights into your sleep regularity, see how your data compares to other users and there's some simple suggestions made based on your sleep data. So it recognised we fell asleep too late and suggested an earlier bedtime. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's a useful piece of advice.

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In terms of the accuracy, we tested it alongside the Oura Ring 3 and found it performed reasonably well. It generally captured similar times we fell asleep and woke up and sleep duration numbers. Sleep duration was generally about 20-30 minutes out the Oura, though breakdown of deep, light and REM sleep told similar stories of our bedtime.

If you care about monitoring your heart, you should decide the interval measurement rate you want to track that heart rate with 1 minute tracking intervals having a more noticeable impact on battery life. We found real-time heart rate readings were generally 20bpm higher compared to the reliable real-time tracking on a Garmin and the Oura.

Looking at the average all-day heart rate data and it posted similar resting heart rate data, but average heart rate in general was higher than what both Oura and Garmin reported.

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Stress and PAI

Heart rate also drives stress tracking and PAI scores, which are designed to encourage users to raise heart rate on a regular basis over a week to get to 100 PAI points.

You can see PAI points scored for the day and when you earned them during the day. It's an attempt to shift focus away from steps and onto heart rate, but it still feels like a bit part of the overall tracking process.

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Tracking blood oxygen data is another one of the T-Rex 2's skills and you can see a breakdown of average, maximum and minimum readings throughout the day. Like heart rate, there is the option to set up high and low SpO2 alerts, though this isn't a feature designed for medical use.

On the spot readings matched up with our dedicated pulse oximeter, so if this is a metric you're interested in, the numbers do feel reliable on the whole.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Smartwatch features

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Amazfit has clearly made a concerted effort to make all of its watches feel more like a proper smartwatches. While the T-Rex 2 doesn't inherit all of those big new features, it has enough to make it useful to have on outside of hiking and trail running time.

It does work with Android phones and iPhones and we spent our testing time pairing it up to an Android phone with no major issues to report in the setup, pairing and syncing process.

It runs on Amazfit's new Zepp OS operating system, which offers a familiar gesture-based interface where menus, notification streams, quick settings and widget feeds are all a swipe away.

You can change watch faces and there's a nice mix of static and animated ones to pick from here. Swipe right from the watch screen and you can see your notification stream where you can reply with default responses or send an emoji response.

There's detailed weather forecasts including telling you if it's a good day to wash your car. There's plenty of watch faces including some neat animated ones and you can view calendar invites, use the Pomodoro timer to aid productivity and there's a find my phone feature here too.

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Zepp OS brings an app storefront too and since its introduction some more useful apps are starting to appear here. There's a GoPro controller app and a Notify for Maps and notifications apps that lets you view Google Maps directions or notifications once you've downloaded an additional phone app to set things up.

It's a bit clunky getting the apps to run correctly, but it feels like a store front that's a step in the right direction, adding value with those additional apps.

The smartwatch experience is good enough. It won't do payments and misses out on the smart assistants you get on other Amazfit watches. If you want something to offer notifications, access to a slowly improving app storefront and other smartwatch staples, the T-Rex 2 will serve you well.

Amazfit T-Rex 2: Battery life

Big battery life is basically something you associate with outdoor watches. These are watches you might spend days away from a charger, so having something that lasts longer than a day is pretty much a necessity.

Thankfully, the T-Rex 2 isn't a watch you need to worry about charging on a regular basis and overall shows good levels of stamina even in tracking mode.

There's a 500mAh capacity battery, which is a bigger than the 390mAh battery packed into the T-Rex Pro. Amazfit says that will get you up to 24 days in typical usage, 10 days in heavy usage and 45 days in battery saver mode. That's in improvement on both fronts compared to the Pro, but more so in typical usage mode.

Amazfit also breaks down battery numbers when GPS is in use and even when you're using it ultra low temperatures. The most accurate GPS mode gets you up to 26 hours and that jumps to 50 hours in Balanced GPS mode and 58 hours in power saving GPS mode.

In ultra low temperatures with GPS on, it's up to 10 hours or up to 9 days with GPS disabled.

We can mainly vouch for those typical and heavy usage scenarios and using that high accuracy GPS mode and we'd say that you can expect anywhere between that 10 to 24 days. Over an hour of outdoor running saw battery drop by 5% with that highest accuracy GPS mode, which would work out to about 20 hours of GPS battery life. So not quite the 26 hours promised.

The battery performance in general though has been strong. Switching on richer heart rate and blood oxygen tracking and keeping the screen on 24/7 will noticeably eat into battery, but you're getting a watch that can go far.



Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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