Smartwatches

Amazfit T-Rex Pro Review 2021: the convincing and the compromise

Amazfit T-Rex Pro Review
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Quick conclusion

A good outdoor watch for people with a limited budget, with a tough look and numerous fitness and sports tracking functions. However, the lack of proper navigation and some questionable data results still means it’s not quite in the same league as Garmin or Polar outdoor watches. But you can see that very much in the price.

Pros:

  • Solid sports tracking
  • Rugged military-grade design
  • Added altimeter

Cons:

  • Heart rate accuracy for training
  • No navigation functions
  • Plasticky build

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(Pocket Ribbon) – The Amazfit T-Rex Pro is a sports watch made for outdoor enthusiasts. Its creator, Zepp Health, has tried to make it a better companion for trail runs, hikes and open water swimming than the original 2020 T-Rex model – by making the Pro better suited to survive in extreme conditions and through new sensors adding it to richer stats as well.

An important part of the T-Rex Pro is its affordable price – it’s significantly cheaper than most outdoor watches, so it can save you some money if you want something to take on an adventure with. But while the price and feature set might be attractive, does this T-Rex bring future goodness or is it a bit of a dinosaur at launch?

Design and display

  • Measures: 47.7mm (diameter) x 13.5mm (thickness)
  • 1,3-inch touchscreen-display, resolution 360 x 360
  • 10 ATM water resistance (up to 100 m depth)
  • Weighs: 59.4 g

The T-Rex Pro largely adheres to the same design formula as the T-Rex. There’s a similarly sized 47mm polycarbonate body, paired with a 22mm silicone rubber strap, all weighing 59.4g. To put that in perspective, the 47mm Garmin Fenix ​​6 weighs 80g and the Polar Grit X weighs 66g. The T-Rex Pro is therefore a lighter watch thanks to that plastic case. We’d like to have almost a little more weight on it, if anything.

There’s also a sturdy bezel with exposed machined screws to emphasize its robust credentials – and it has passed more military-grade tests than the original T-Rex to make it better suited to the outdoors. The Pro passes 15 military-grade tests – more than the 12 of the original – and is built to withstand extreme humidity and freezing temperatures.

Along with those enhanced military-grade ruggedness certificates, it has also increased the water resistance rating – providing protection up to 100 meters (10ATM). The non-Pro T-Rex can be submerged in water for up to 50 meters.

At the heart of that light, rugged, sturdy exterior is a 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen, which can be set to always on. Tempered glass and an anti-fingerprint coating have been used to make it a more durable and smudge-free screen – and we can confirm it’s a screen that won’t give you that unattractive smudged look like its predecessor suffered.

It is a bright and colorful screen with good viewing angles. In bright outside light, that vibrancy isn’t as powerful as in more favorable conditions, but it’s generally a good display to find on a watch at this price.

At the back you will find the optical sensors and the charging pins for when you need to power things up again. It uses the same slim charging configuration as the T-Rex, which clips itself magnetically into place and stays securely in place when it comes time to charge.

Fitness and features

  • Support GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo satellite system
  • Firstbeat trainingsanalyse
  • Heart rate monitor
  • SPO2-sensor

In true Amazfit fashion, the T-Rex Pro goes big in sports modes – and packs the kinds of sensors that should make it a good training partner.

There are 100 sport modes, out of just 14 in the standard T-Rex. It still includes running, cycling and swimming (pool and open water), but profiles have also been added for activities such as surfing, dancing and indoor activities such as Pilates .

Most of these new modes give you the basics in terms of stats, although modes like surfing and walking provide additional options such as speed and real-time ascent / descent data. The addition of an altimeter means you can capture richer elevation data, which is helpful if you’re a fan of climbing those mountains and hilly terrain.

For outdoor tracking, there is support for four satellite systems with GPS, GLONASS, Beidou and Galileo all on board to improve map accuracy. However, you don’t have any navigation features to point you in the right direction, nor can you upload routes to follow on the watch.

For road and off-road runs, we found during our testing that the core data was reliable. GPS-based distance tracking was a bit short compared to a Garmin Enduro sports watch, and we also had trouble generating maps of our routes in the app.

Swim tracking metrics were generally reliable, and it was a similar story for indoor cycling and rowing sessions. In the pool, it was a few lengths shorter than the Enduro’s swim tracking, although the number of strokes for indoor rowing was largely consistent with what we got from a Hydow rowing machine .

But if you dig a little deeper than the core stats, some of the data from the T-Rex Pro seems a bit questionable. However, if you like to stick to the basics, then the Pro will do well enough.

In addition to manual tracking, there is support for automatic exercise recognition for eight of those sport modes. This is something we’ve seen popping up with varying degrees of success on Fitbit , Garmin, and Samsung smartwatches. On the T-Rex Pro, you must select whether to automatically track activities such as running, swimming and indoor rowing. As Zepp Health outlines, there may be instances where unintentional recognition can occur with some activities when you jump on a bus or car. Fortunately, that was not the case with us.

The latest BioTracker 2 optical sensor from Zepp Health is included to power a variety of heart rate functions beyond continuously monitoring and measuring exercise levels during exercise. It is also used for the PAI scores, which try to shift focus from counting steps to increasing the heart rate regularly through exercise. It is also used to measure heart rate variations to track stress levels and is used for training insights, such as those on Garmin watches, which generate VO2 Max scores, training effects, training load and recovery times.

As for the reliability of that heart rate measurement, the Amazfit is better suited to resting heart rate and continuous heart rate data, as opposed to relying on exercise and those additional training and fitness insights. In our testing, it generally posted higher maximum heart rate readings and lower average heart rate readings compared to a Garmin HRM Pro chest strap with heart rate monitor. Those measurements were enough to put us in different heart rate zones, undermining the usefulness of those training insights and PAI scores.

That sensor also unlocks blood oxygen readings with a dedicated on-board SpO2 app to take on-site measurements. It can be used to provide warnings when you encounter major changes in altitude. We didn’t get up high enough to trigger those elevation alerts, but compared on-site measurements with a pulse oximeter, and they were largely consistent.

You also get key activity tracking features here, such as daily step count recording and sleep and naps monitoring, sleep phases and respiration quality recording, which is tagged as a beta feature and utilizes the new built-in SpO2 sensor .

We found that the number of steps was sometimes well within the number of a Fitbit smartwatch, but there was also a much greater difference on some days when we recorded longer step totals.

If you don’t keep track of your fitness, the Pro also does its job as a smartwatch. It runs on Zepp Health’s proprietary RTOS software – and while it may not be the most versatile smartwatch experience, it gives you a little more than the basics.

Google Android and Apple iPhone users can view notifications, play music on your phone, set alarms and reminders, and change watch faces. You don’t have payments, the ability to download apps, a music player or a smart assistant, which has appeared on some Amazfit watches.

Notification support is basic, so you can view notifications from native and third-party apps, but not respond to them. They are easy to read, but what you can read depends on the type of notification. If you have multiple notifications from the same app, it will struggle to display them all and only let you know that you have multiple messages. Music controls work just as well as on other Amazfit watches, and features like weather forecasts and watch faces are well optimized for that touchscreen.

Performance and battery life

  • Up to 18 days with normal use
  • Up to 9 days with intensive use
  • 40 hours of GPS battery life

The T-Rex Pro has a battery with a capacity of 390 mAh, which matches what is inside the T-Rex. That should give you 18 days with normal use, 9 days with heavy use, with an impressive 40-hour GPS battery life.

Like other Amazfit watches, those battery numbers are usually based on some very specific lab testing scenarios. In our experience, it always feels a bit on the generous side. In our time with the T-Rex Pro, we got around 10 days on a single charge. That was with regular GPS tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, stress monitoring, and the richer sleep tracking enabled. We had the screen at maximum brightness, but not always on mode.

The standard T-Rex felt like it was good for a solid week with it in similar conditions, or 20 days in normal use by comparison – but the Pro can get you over a week, even with some of the more demanding features in use .

It seems that the front of the GPS battery has also been improved. An hour of using the GPS usually knocked the Pro’s battery just under 10 percent, while the T-Rex typically lost 10 percent after 30 minutes of using the GPS. It may not be the 40 hours that were promised, but the Pro seems to do a little better than the T-Rex when it comes to tracking.

Conclusion:

The T-Rex Pro is a solid outdoor watch that lacks one key ingredient that would make it a great ingredient: there are no cards to point you in the right direction if you think you might be lost.

Otherwise, if you want something that offers a durable design and can keep up with your outdoor activities, the T-Rex Pro’s sturdy yet lightweight design is bound to appeal to adventurers on a tight budget. The fitness and sports tracking features generally do a good enough job too.

So if you’re hoping you’ll get an experience that rivals what the Polar Grit X’s Garmin Fenix, Instinct, and the like have to offer, then this T-Rex isn’t quite the full package. But that’s reflected in the price – which is so much less that you should be willing to accept such a compromise.

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