When your typical fitness regime is a little more… adventurous than a jog around the local park, a regular fitness tracker or smartwatch just isn’t going to cut it. Think rock climbing, windsurfing, and hiking into the wilderness without a map, where a rugged build matters more than refined looks. Those are the kind of activities Amazfit had in mind for the T-Rex 2.
It’s the firm’s latest rufty-tufty wearable, one that’s been tested to withstand real punishment – but that won’t also ruin your wallet the way some rivals will. An evolution of the current T-Rex and T-Rex Pro, it brings plenty of upgrades including a higher-resolution screen, improved water resistance and a bigger battery that promises longer stints away from a plug socket. Better GPS and fitness tracking also make the grade.
The price has gone up compared to those older watches, though. Amazfit still undercuts the Garmin, Suunto and Polar alternatives at the spicier end of the spectrum – but can toughness and value for money really go hand-in-hand?
Amazfit T-Rex 2 design & build: I’m a survivor
There’s no mistaking the T-Rex 2 for anything other than a rugged watch. It’s properly chunky, with a bit of a G-Shock vibe – especially if you go for the Astro Black & Gold colour scheme. The Wild Green looks a bit jungle warfare to us, with our Ember Black review unit being a bit more of an all-rounder.
The watch is made from polymer alloy, which was tough enough to shrug off a few accidental bumps and knocks during our testing without picking up any battle scars. It’s ATM10 water-resistant, so you’ll be able to take it swimming in both the pool and the sea.
Two physical buttons on either side of the watch face largely replicate the touchscreen controls, which is ideal when you’re wearing gloves. The crown guard on the right side is just for show, though. The thick watch bezel should do its part to keep the screen free from scratches, although given the T-Rex 2 is an affordable watch, there’s no sapphire glass here. A screen protector might be a wise move if you want to keep the face looking factory fresh.
The silicone strap is suitably tough and has plenty of buckle adjustment holes for a secure fit. There’s no quick release and the fittings are proprietary, so you’ll need tools and a compatible band if you’re planning to swap it out.
‘Military standard’ testing is a bit nebulous, given there’s no single procedure and manufacturers can come up with their own measurements, but Amazfit is pretty confident in the T-Rex 2’s ability to survive against the odds. It’s rated for a temperature range of -40°C to 70°C, won’t corrode under salt spray or high humidity, resists ice and freezing rain, and can survive shock impacts – although to what degree isn’t clear. We didn’t fancy taking a hammer to our test unit to find out – but it certainly kept ticking after spray with a garden hose and being lobbed down the stairs.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 screen: Full circle
Just like previous T-Rex watches, the T-Rex 2 gets a circular AMOLED display – only it has grown slightly to 1.39in, up from 1.3in previously. Resolution has also been given a bump to 454×454, which is sharp enough that text and images look crisp even with the watch held right up to your nose.
It delivers the excellent contrast and punchy colours we expect from AMOLED, along with deep blacks and respectable viewing angles. The auto-brightness adjustment is fairly quick to respond, and ensures good visibility even in direct sunlight, but you can tweak it manually if you prefer.
The always-on display makes a return from the T-Rex Pro, with multiple designs based on what watch face you’re currently using. There’s also an option to pick your own, so you can have one style always-on and another when the watch kicks into action. There’s a decent variety, and all suit the watch’s rugged design.
It could be a little quicker to wake up when you flick your wrist, though – there can be a second between bringing it up to your eye line and the always-on mode swapping into the regular watch face.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 interface: minimal gains
Functional, not flashy, has been Amazfit’s software approach for a while now. The bespoke Zepp OS is easy to navigate, either by touch or with the physical buttons, and puts the most useful functions front-and-centre.
Quick settings like a theatre mode, do not disturb and screen brightness are accessed with a swipe down, while swiping up opens a stack of customisable cards for things like weather, heart rate, training recovery time and step counts.
A left swipe brings up the main menu, as does the ‘back’ button. The list of apps is extensive, but you can shuffle the order through the smartphone companion app so the most useful ones are near the top, or hide ones you never use entirely. Notifications are a right swipe away, and while you can reply to them on your watch, you can only choose from a series of canned responses. These can be customised in the app so they sound less robotic, but it’s a shame there’s no way to compose custom responses without reaching for your phone.
There’s no shortage of pre-installed apps, but their usefulness is limited. The to-do list can’t sync with third-party apps, the alarm can only vibrate instead of ring, and the music app is purely for controlling playback on your phone. There’s no internal memory, and no way to pair to a set of Bluetooth earbuds, so you can’t go for a workout and leave your phone at home. You can install ‘third-party’ apps, but the list is only ten or so strong, and they’re all made by Amazfit anyway.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 fitness & health tracking: sport-centric
In all other respects, though, fitness is well catered for. The T-Rex 2 has an uprated PPG heart rate sensor that can measure blood oxygen (SpO2) and stress levels, plus dual-band, five-satellite GPS, a compass and barometric altimeter for recording location and altitude. It also has a direct return function in case you get lost while adventuring.
It can keep track of more than 150 different sports and activities, with the more familiar ones like running, cycling, swimming and strength training near the top, and less everyday events like skiing, snowboarding and triathlons near the bottom. There’s An even more in-depth list hiding in the menus, which includes 12 kinds of combat workouts, 31 different ball sports and even car driving, for some reason. So yeah, it’s comprehensive.
Tracking accuracy and consistency seemed largely on par with other sports watches we’ve tried, with no GPS dropout. It did read heart rate slightly higher than we were expecting, and the PAI metric it uses to judge your overall fitness seems a bit vague. There’s also not the greatest support for exporting your data to other apps. Google Fit, Apple Health and Strava make the cut, but that’s your lot.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 battery life: won’t let you down
Amazfit’s watches have never struggled to eke out plenty of life from their batteries, and the T-Rex 2 is no different. It’s packing a 500mAh cell, which is a welcome step up from the outgoing T-Rex. Where that model could manage 20 days in normal mode, the T-Rex 2 will tap out at 24.
If you’re doing some serious exercise, recording your sleep, tracking heart rate and getting a distracting amount of notifications from your phone, that figure will drop – but even with all that and the always-on screen enabled, you’re looking at ten days between charges. We comfortably lasted two weeks, with a mix of running and cycling, 24-hour heart rate monitoring and notifications from some very chatty WhatsApp groups not managing to sap it entirely.
Lithium batteries hate the cold, so winter sports aficionados should switch on the Extreme Low Temperature mode. This disables the touchscreen, but helps extend the lifespan in conditions down to -30°C. Given it’s a balmy June here in the UK, the closest we could get was lobbing the watch in the freezer. Where it dropped between 5 and 10% over the course of a day at ambient temperatures, it lost 3% after two hours nestled between bags of frozen peas.
There’s an extreme battery saver mode that’s reportedly good for up to 45 days if you’re planning a proper wilderness escape. It only records steps and basic sleep info while active, though, and our review unit didn’t stick around long enough for us to verify the claim.
The charging cradle uses magnetic pogo pins rather than more complex wireless charging, which would probably have forced Amazfit to bump up the price. It clips onto the watch easily enough, and takes about two hours for a full recharge.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 verdict
Whatever your preferred sport or discipline, the T-Rex 2 will almost certainly be able to track it, and track it accurately. The rugged construction and chunky design help it fit in just about everywhere, from the slopes and the surf to your back garden, and it shrugs off the elements too.
This is a fitness watch first, with the handful of smart additions being on the basic side. It’s also lacking one or two features that would let it excel standalone, like on-watch music playback over Bluetooth. But if you want those extras and insist on a hard-wearing watch, you’d have to pay a fair bit more from Garmin or Polar.
As long as you’re not already tied in to a range of different health apps, there’s lots here to like – whether you’re a true adventurer or not.
A capable and comprehensive fitness tracker that can survive more than a bit of rough and tumble. It lacks features for true standalone use, but otherwise doesn’t disappoint for the price
Detailed sport and fitness tracking
Excellent battery life
No music playback support
Very little third-party app support
Limited notification replies
Amazfit T-Rex 2 technical specifications
|1.39in, 454×454 AMOLED
|Accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, biometric sensor, geomagnetic sensor, ambient light sensor
|Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
|500mAh, 10-45 days
|MIL-STD 810G, 10ATM,
|47x47x14mm, 67g (with strap)