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Huami Amazfit T-Rex review: Aggressively simple

The Amazfit T-Rex is an aggressive smartwatch with a surprising amount of fitness features.
February 5, 2020
huami amazfit t rex review watch face on wrist

Huami Amazfit T-Rex

Buying a crazy-expensive GPS watch might get you a high-end device, but it also gets you plenty of things you may not use. That's why the Huami Amazfit T-Rex is so appealing. It's not the best watch in any one particular category, not by a long shot. But it offers the basics at a price point essentially no one else is targeting. The built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, durability rating, and 14 sport profiles make the T-Rex an overall great value, though Huami has a lot of work to do with its software features.

What we like

Low price point
Plenty of sport profiles
MIL-STD-810G durability
5ATM water resistance
20-day battery life

What we don't like

No third-party app support
Heart rate sensor needs work
No quick release straps
Watch case and straps feel too cheap, even for this price point
Updates and syncing take forever, sometimes don't work

Huami — the company most well-known for making the uber-popular Mi Band series — isn’t trying to build the expensive Apple Watch competitors many people are clamoring for. The company’s goal is to get its wearables on as many wrists as possible. How does it do that? By making smartwatches like the Amazfit T-Rex.

For $140, Huami’s new smartwatch offers quite a few advanced fitness features in a rugged, in-your-face package. Read our full Huami Amazfit T-Rex review to see why $140 is the perfect price for this cheap smartwatch.

Huami Amazfit T-Rex review notes: I used the Amazfit T-Rex for seven days, with firmware version V0.0.1.41. The Amazfit T-Rex was paired with my Google Pixel 4 XL for the duration of this review.

What is the Amazfit T-Rex?

huami amazfit t rex review gun gray and black colors 3

The Amazfit T-Rex is Huami’s latest affordable smartwatch. It’s made to be worn by those who spend a lot of time outside and don’t want to take their watch off for outdoor activities. It has all the water resistance and durability certifications you could want from an outdoor watch, which are really the big selling points here. Add in 14 sport modes, built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, and nearly three-week battery life, and you have yourself a compelling package.

Huami sees a market where people don’t want to pay over $150 for a rugged smartwatch, but also don’t want to sacrifice on some of the high-end features only found on more expensive devices from Garmin and Suunto. The T-Rex is priced pretty aggressively compared to Huami’s other Amazfit smartwatches, and very aggressively compared to outdoor watches from other brands. It undercuts the Amazfit GTR, Stratos, and Verge price-wise, and even the lackluster GTS we recently reviewed.

Huami isn’t going full-on Garmin-killer with the T-Rex, but it does land at a price point that bigger companies aren’t paying much attention to.

Amazfit T-Rex design: What’s good and what’s bad?

huami amazfit t rex review watch face display on table 4

Like its name, the Amazfit T-Rex is an aggressive smartwatch. Not everyone will dig the design (especially people with smaller-than-average wrists), but it definitely has a look. It’s unapologetically rugged, with gigantic bezels and stark lines throughout the case and strap. It’s big, too, and dwarfs my average-sized wrists. It is relatively lightweight at 56.7 grams.

The Amazfit T-Rex is unapologetically rugged. It'll appeal to a lot of people, but will also turn a lot people away.

The watch case is made of plastic and features four mushy buttons: up, down, select, and back. I don’t love the buttons themselves, but I like having physical keys to press when I’m exercising. No one wants to fiddle with a touchscreen when they’re trying to keep their heart rate up.

The big design of the watch case allows for stellar battery life. The Amazfit T-Rex can last 20 full days on a single charge with normal use, or 20 hours with GPS use. I haven’t used the device for 20 days so I’m unable to comment on the full battery life, but my Amazfit T-Rex review unit only went down 25% over the seven days I tested it. That includes notifications, sleep tracking, and multiple workouts. I kept the always-on display off for the majority of the time.

huami amazfit t rex review strap on wrist

The straps are not good. They’re made of a soft silicone that catches on every clothing material ever made. It also collects lots of hair and dust. Unfortunately these aren’t quick release straps either, so you’ll need a little Allen wrench to swap them out. They’re comfortable, at least.

Huami made up for the cheap-ish hardware with the display. The Amazfit T-Rex has a 1.3-inch AMOLED panel covered in Gorilla Glass 3 that gets plenty bright outdoors and dim indoors. I left automatic brightness turned on during the review period and didn’t have any issues.

There is a reason for this super rugged aesthetic: The Amazfit T-Rex has a MIL-STD-810G durability rating and 5ATM water resistance, allowing it to brave whatever elements you throw at it. These aren’t very common features on smartwatches at this price point. Normally, smartwatches or fitness trackers at the sub-$200 level sport IP67 or -68 ratings, and most of them don’t have durability certifications.

The rugged look also extends to the colorways. The T-Rex is available in Camo Green, Army Green, Khaki, Rock Black, and Gun Gray (our review unit).

Hands-on: The new Amazfit Bip S has 40-day battery life, 5ATM rating, costs $70
huami amazfit bip s on display

Is the Amazfit T-Rex a good fitness and health tracker?

huami amazfit t rex review running stats

This watch has a robust feature set. It’ll track your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, resting and active heart rate, and sleep.

It also has built-in GPS and GLONASS, making this perhaps a better buy for runners over, say, the Fitbit Versa 2. With GPS, you’ll get accurate pace and distance metrics during outdoor activities. Speaking of, the Amazfit T-Rex can track 14 different activities, including outdoor and treadmill running, cycling, hiking, pool and open water swimming, elliptical training, a generic exercise, and more.

You can also turn on an auto-pause feature during exercises; again, a rare feature on cheaper wearables.

There’s an optical heart rate sensor on the Amazfit T-Rex, which will keep track of your resting and active heart rate throughout the day. I tested the Amazfit T-Rex’s heart rate sensor during a four-mile treadmill run against the Wahoo Tickr X chest strap.

Unfortunately the T-Rex’s heart rate sensor was slow to pick up on major highs and lows. At the 25-minute mark I slowed down and hit 162bpm on the Tickr X. The T-Rex also hit 162bpm at that time, but only after jumping around quite a bit before and after that short break.

In my testing, the T-Rex has been capable of hitting highs and lows, but it takes a while for it to lock onto a steady heart rate. Overall I don’t think the T-Rex’s sensor isn’t bad or unreliable, but it’s not as advanced as other sensors from Garmin or even Fitbit.

I’m happy to report that the step tracking issues we had with our Amazfit GTS aren’t present on the T-Rex. I didn’t wake up with hundreds of extra steps in the morning, nor was my step count wildly off compared to other devices.

Wearing bulky wearables to bed isn’t the most comfortable thing to do. If you can get over the size, the T-Rex will track your sleep overnight. In the morning, you’ll get an overview of your night’s sleep, including deep and light sleep and your time awake. As far as I can tell, sleep tracking with the T-Rex is accurate; I didn’t notice any crazy outliers in the app.

All your fitness stats will populate in the Amazfit app, which isn’t too different from the Mi Fit app (both were developed by Huami). I’ve found the Amazfit app to be clunky and hard to use at times. Just as we discovered in our Amazfit GTS review, the app can freeze at certain points if you tap on a certain area, especially when messing with the settings.

When it does work, it works well. It’s easy to navigate, and gives you much more information than the Fitbit app or Google Fit. The first Status page shows your daily health and fitness stats. You can page over to manually start walking, running, or cycling exercises. Aside from a dedicated “add friends” page and your device settings, that’s about it.

The Amazfit app can integrate with Strava and WeChat, but not Google Fit, MapMyRun, Runkeeper, or any other popular fitness apps.

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xiaomi mi band 4 review watch face clock google home mini

Is the Amazfit T-Rex a good smartwatch?

huami amazfit t rex review quick settings on wrist

Huami didn’t go overboard with smartwatch features on the Amazfit T-Rex. It has about the minimum you’d expect from a smartwatch in 2020.

You can receive notifications from any app you have installed on your smartphone. Unfortunately the notifications aren’t actionable, meaning you can’t reply to messages from your wrist or delete emails as they come in. You can also control your smartphone’s music from the watch, though there’s no option to store music locally.

Also, and this is a small gripe, the Amazfit T-Rex doesn’t recognize very many apps. When a Slack message or text message rolls in, for example, the T-Rex says it’s from a generic “app,” with no clue as to which app is actually notifying you. You have to read the message and make your best guess as to which app is sending that notification.

Adamya mentioned that she ran into notification issues with the Amazfit GTS, but I haven’t noticed any with the Amazfit T-Rex.

huami amazfit t rex review always on display

Third-party app support is nonexistent. Aside from the few apps I just mentioned, you can’t download any third-party applications to the watch itself. For a smartwatch in 2020, I would’ve liked to see some more software integration. Also, no contactless payments support.

Third-party app support is a must-have. Unfortunately, the Amazfit T-Rex doesn't have it.

A total of 30 watch faces come preloaded on the T-Rex. There’s a pretty good variety, with plenty of options for digital and analog. None of them are customizable, so what you see is what you get. A total of 30 watch faces come preloaded on the T-Rex. There’s a pretty good variety, with plenty of options for digital and analog. None of them are customizable, so what you see is what you get. Also, there is an option for an always-on display feature, which is always nice to see, though it is limited to one digital and one analog option.

huami amazfit t rex review translation issues whether to give up the workout

Our global Huami Amazfit T-Rex review unit has a sprinkling of awkward translation issues. See above for an example.

Smartwatch platforms can be overly complicated at times, but the Amazfit T-Rex is super easy to use. You can use the physical buttons or swipe around to navigate to different screens. Swipe up or down to check your daily activity and quick settings, click the select button to pull up the workouts screen, swipe right for your notifications, and that’s about it. Easy.

This isn’t something you’ll run into often, but software updates are a drag. They take so much longer than other wearables. I’m talking around an hour to install one software update. My Amazfit T-Rex review unit also failed to update multiple times, making the setup process even more tiresome.

Huami Amazfit T-Rex review: The verdict

huami amazfit t rex review step count on wrist

The Amazfit T-Rex is listed on Amazon for $139.99 with a ship date of March 1. It looks like you can only get the black model from Amazon, so you may have to look elsewhere if you’re interested in the other color options.

huami amazfit t rex smartwatch press image
Huami Amazfit T-Rex
Huami's first rugged smartwatch, the Amazfit T-Rex, is big, durable, and inexpensive at only $140. With a built-in GPS and heart rate sensor, the T-Rex is quite the feature packed wearable for the price.

Buying a crazy-expensive GPS watch from Garmin or Suunto might get you a high-end device, but it also gets you plenty of things you may not use. That’s why the Huami Amazfit T-Rex is so appealing. It’s not the best watch in any one particular category, not by a long shot. But it offers the basics at a price point essentially no one else is targeting. You might be able to find a years-old GPS watch for around this price, but even then you’re buying old hardware.

The Amazfit T-Rex delivers on the basics at a price point no one else is targeting.

That $140 price point is extremely competitive, and it’s frankly the T-Rex’s saving grace. Still, I won’t hesitate to say that you should give the T-Rex a shot, faults and all. Let’s just hope Huami improves the software sometime soon.

Not interested in the Amazfit T-Rex? The Fitbit Versa 2 provides a good smartwatch experience and decent fitness tracking at $150. The Honor Watch Magic 2 also shouldn’t be looked over — it costs about the same as the T-Rex and has a similar feature set, though it’s not as rugged.