A rugged and robust fitness watch that offers good tracking capabilities, great battery life, and a sharp and colourful screen.
- Great battery life
- Sharp, bright and colourful screen
- Robust design
- Good value
- Few smart features
- Potentially divisive design
- EuropeRRP: €229.99
- Rugged construction for outdoor useThis watch has “passed 15 military-grade tests” to prove its durability
- Long battery lifeThe manufacturer claims you can get 24 days’ typical usage
- 150+ built-in sport modesThere’s a multitude of sports modes to choose from on this device, from the triathlon disciplines to golf and more
Amazfit might not have the same level of name recognition that the likes of Garmin enjoys, but this brand has steadily made a strong reputation for itself by producing reliable sports watches at attractive prices, and we were particularly impressed by the Amazfit GT3 for its winning blend of smartwatch and fitness features.
The T-Rex 2 is not, as you might have guessed, some fearsome genetically modified dinosaur hybrid from a Jurassic Park film. It’s a rugged fitness watch that’s intended to track your progress as you take on tough conditions in all weathers. We took it running and swimming to see how it held up.
Design and Screen
- Super-rugged design
- 1.39-inch colour screen
The Amazfit T-Rex 2’s design is about as subtle as its name. Roaring into your face with jagged gradients, exposed screws, metallic accents, and the use of shouty capital letters, this watch is certainly trying to look the part of an all-action timepiece.
While this design may put off users who are looking for a watch they can wear to both casual and formal events, rather than just when hitting the trail, it’s likely to appeal to its target audience of all-weather runners who want to look the part when they’re gritting their teeth through rain and hail. I was a little concerned about accidentally scratching myself whilst wearing this device to track my sleep, as a result of all the jutting edges. Fortunately, though, that never happened.
Nevertheless, this watch is undeniably bulky, which may make it less appealing. At 13.65mm thick, it stands up high from your wrist, and with a large 1.39-inch screen set into a chunky bezel, it will be seen whenever it’s on your wrist. My wrists are noodle-thin, as you can see in the images, so it looks especially oversized on me – but if you’re made of stronger stuff then it might not look so idiosyncratic.
For input, you have the option of using buttons or the touchscreen. For a watch of this type it’s important to see an array of buttons (which as far as I can determine, you can use exclusively rather than ever having to rely on the screen), because if you’re in heavy rain or simply have sweaty fingers then you won’t be able to count on using a touchscreen reliably. In fact, I found that running water that hit the screen during a shower would be registered as touch input.
The screen itself, aside from being touchscreen, is full colour and has a 454 x 454 resolution. It isn’t the sharpest screen around, but it’s clear enough to read easily. Under the sunshine, too, it remains sufficiently bright to be legible.
Of course, this watch doesn’t just look tough; it is tough. Not only has it passed 15 military-grade tests, but it’s also rated to survive temperatures ranging from -40ºC to 70ºC, while also withstanding 10ATM of water pressure. If you want a wearable that will survive practically anything you throw at it, this one appears to be a good choice. Of course, I didn’t quite manage to test the watch at these extremes, but it still held up for me when I tried outdoor swimming in the Thames, a steaming hot shower, and running outdoors in all conditions.
Press and hold on the watch’s home screen, and you’ll be treated to the selection of default watch faces. Once again, they lean heavily into the watch’s overall all-action style, and are packed with enough stats to make your head spin. Not only will you get the time, step count, weather and heart rate on this screen, as you would on a normal wearable, but the T-Rex 2 also displays an UV index for sunburn risk, the phases of the moon, or atmospheric pressure. The interface can seem cluttered as a result; but these elements feel at home on an all-weather watch such as this, even though they’d feel like overkill on a FitBit. If you’d prefer a more stripped-down watch face, you can always peruse the options on the companion app and download one that’s more to your taste.
Features and Performance
- Zepp companion app is compatible with iOS and Android
- Plenty of useful tools on board, but not a huge range of smartwatch apps
To use the watch, you’ll need to install the Zepp app on your iPhone or Android phone. It’s pretty minimalist in design, with no frills, but you can easily peruse your step count, sleep quality, heart rate and recent workouts. There’s a control panel that lets you enable or disable notifications from your phone, depending on whether you want these alerts buzzed to your wrist, or you’d prefer to be left alone when you’re pushing yourself to the limits. You can also synchronise your watch’s activities with Strava and a couple of other apps, if you want to keep your friends abreast of your progress.
You’ll also find the PAI, or Personal Activity Intelligence, score on the app. This is Amazfit’s own metric for judging your physiological health. It’s based on “heart rate data, daily activity intensity and physiological data”, which is evaluated on a “multi-dimensional, dynamic and comprehensive algorithm to reach an intuitive PAI value.” I might disagree with Amazfit’s definition of intuitive there; but, essentially, the recommendation is that you should try to keep your score above 100 points in order to retain a good level of fitness.
The PAI system is apparently backed up by scientific research from the HUNT Fitness Study, which found that “people who consistently keep their PAI score over 100 could be less at risk of mortality from hypertension, heart disease and Type II diabetes.” Even though the workings of this number seem a bit impenetrable to the layperson, it hopefully provides a more rounded and personalised assessment of your day-to-day health than a mere arbitrary step count.
Onboard the watch itself, you’ll discover a selection of useful tools to help you perform daily tasks with a bit more ease – the stopwatch and alarm are unsurprisingly but nonetheless handy inclusions.
There’s an “app store” for your watch available on the smartphone’s Zepp app, but at the time of writing there are only 13 new apps or tools available from this source, and they aren’t mind-blowingly impressive. The extras that you can install by this method are as follows: Notify for Maps, GoPro, Home Connect, Water Time, BMI, Pregnancy Assist, Watch Storage Space, Brush Teeth, Real-Time Heart Rate, Color Identification, SOS Flashlight, Calories and Calculator.
Clearly the selection of apps on offer here can’t compete with the gamut offered by Wear OS devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, much less the brilliant selection available on the App Store that’s on the Apple Watch Series 7. Nevertheless, there were still enough features here to keep me satisfied during my day-to-day use of the Amazfit T-Rex 2.
Sleep tracking is a particularly welcome feature, and the results displayed here appeared to match with my own estimations without any bizarre readings that stood out.
- Multitude of fitness modes available
- Location tracker erred on underestimating distance covered
- One heart rate misreading, but otherwise reliable
There are more than 150 workouts available on this watch, and if you take the time to browse through them all, you’ll find workout modes not only for running, cycling, and swimming – as you’d expect – but also individual disciplines such as climbing or rowing, and even team sports such as rugby and tennis.
On top of that, and I’m not making this up, there are five dedicated workouts to “board and card games”, including chess. This appears to do nothing more than measure your heart rate and stress level during the activity – to be fair, though, mine would possibly spike even higher after blundering my rook than it would after a 100m sprint.
It’s all very well to burst at the seams with workout modes, but how accurately do these actually track your fitness? To find out, I took this watch out on five runs and an outdoor swim.
When stepping out and selecting an exercise, I found that the watch quickly connected to the GPS, taking only about five seconds or so. When running, touch controls are off so you’ll have to use the buttons for input. Once your exercise is underway, the watch face is super-informative, displaying all the information you’d want to see while being on the move, such as distance elapsed, pace, elapsed time, and the time of day all clearly visible.
In general, I found that the on-board GPS provided a decent overall estimate of the distance covered. Heart rates were generally fairly accurate, too, when measured side-by-side with a chest strap monitor. However, there was one running session that was vastly and inexplicably underestimated (by 50bpm), which caused some concern over the device’s reliability. This was a one-off, but it’s still a puzzling error.
Once your exercise is over, you can consult performance metrics on the Zepp app. Here you’ll see information such as heart rate and pace during your run, as well as VO2 Max estimates, the aerobic and anaerobic impact of your exercise, and also measurements of the altitude and gradient of your running route.
When browsing these stats there’s a good amount of detail provided, without it feeling like you’re being overloaded with information all at once. All the essential metrics are covered, delivering a good insight into how you’re performing.
- 24 days claimed battery life with typical usage
- Excellent endurance
There’s a 500mAh cell in this watch, and Amazfit has made some very strong battery claims about it. Under typical use, the company states the T-Rex 2 will last 24 days. In Battery Saver mode you could even achieve 45 days, while even under heavy usage you can squeeze out 10 days of life. If you’re planning to undertake an Ironman Triathlon with the T-Rex 2 on your wrist then you’ll be safe with some time to spare, since it can support GPS tracking for 26 hours straight.
I can attest to this impressive performance. After undertaking a tracked 5km run, the battery was down by just 2%. Following a couple of activity-packed weeks where I used the watch for several more runs, a swim, and for sleep tracking, I still haven’t needed to charge it up.
Battery life is one of the big strengths of this watch, and it’s always a relief to know that you’ll have enough juice to get through weeks at a time without having to dive for a plug socket. It also gives credit to its perception of being a watch that’s prepared for anything, anytime.
Should you buy it?
You’re looking for a rugged sports watch that isn’t terribly expensive and offers impressive endurance.
You’re looking for more smart features, or if you’re not a fan of the look.
This fitness watch is well priced and delivers a decent overall package, with enough fitness features to provide good insights into your workout.
Its uniqueness lies in its strong claims of robustness; while we weren’t able to take this to extremes, it held up just fine in all our testing conditions, and it certainly looks the part of an all-weather wearable.
While some might be turned off by the T-Rex 2’s looks, or would prefer a greater number of smart features, most people looking for a sturdy fitness companion will find that this device ticks the most important boxes.
How we test
We thoroughly test every smartwatch we review. We use industry standard testing to compare features properly and we use the watch as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Worn as our main tracker during the testing period
Heart rate data compared against dedicated heart rate devices
Side-by-side GPS comparison with competing devices
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It has a rating of 10ATM.
The companion app is named Zepp.
There are more than 150 built-in exercise modes.
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