Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Amazfit T-Rex 2, is more than an alternative for big boys

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is a really nice watch. I’ll be honest: as a lover of smartwatches, I was very biased towards a brand that, since its inception, has been all about selling cheap products with limited functionality. The story already changed with the T-Rex Pro, a decent mid-range rugged outdoor watch aimed at Garmin fans who didn’t want to spend hundreds and hundreds of euros on a wristwatch gadget. From a certain point of view, this T-Rex 2 differs considerably from its predecessor and does so, in every respect, for the better.

I’ll tell you, the T-Rex 2 can very well be alternated with the classic smartwatch you have on your wrist, to be used in the summer, during more or less difficult mountain trips and swimming sessions at the beach or in the pool.

It is not the perfect smartwatch: some sensors are inaccurate, and the Zepp app could be more user-friendly. However, the watch has many exciting features that outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate. Suppose we add to this a military-certified design, a battery that can last for days, and the presence of a GPS with satellite positioning and compass, altimeter, and barometer apps. In that case, its rugged side also comes out to distinguish the smartwatch from the crowd. In short, not a substitute but proper support for specific occasions.

Amazfit T-Rex 2
Amazfit T-Rex 2

How it is made

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is definitely a better smartwatch in terms of specifications than the T-Rex Pro. The T-Rex 2 has a bigger AMOLED display with a better resolution (1.3″ vs. 1.39″, 360×360 vs. 454×454 pixels), a bigger battery (390 mAh vs. 500 mAh), and a better GPS chip.

The T-Rex 2 also features the new BioTrackerTM 3.0 PPG biometric sensor that supports blood oxygen measurements and stress monitoring. The watch has become slightly heavier (59.4 vs. 66.5g, both with straps) but not too much either, thanks to the all-polycarbonate case – which helps keep the weight down without compromising robustness.

Like the T-Rex Pro, the Amazfit T-Rex 2 adheres to the MIL-STD 810 standard, which means it can withstand temperatures of +85 degrees or -30 degrees Celsius, high humidity, and shocks. The watch is waterproof up to 10 ATMs and durable enough for most people.

That said, it seems that Amazfit’s designers added parts to the T-Rex 2 just to make it look sturdier, not because they have any function. For example, on the side of the watch case, the insert with the words AMAZFIT on it serves little purpose. Most of the screws around the bezel also seem to be emphasized to enhance the feeling of robustness. Comfortable buttons on the four sides that mimic touch when we don’t want to or can’t use it: up, down, select, back.

Battery life is where the Amazfit T-Rex 2 is at its best. The watch charges from 0 to 100 percent in two hours and can last up to 24 days in smartwatch mode. Needless to say, if the always-on screen option is activated, the battery life will be significantly reduced. By enabling the battery-saving mode, the battery life is up to 45 days, while intensive use of a watch will reduce it to 10 days: which is still more than a week. GPS battery life is 26 hours in multi-GNSS dual-band mode, 50 hours (!) in balanced mode, and 58 hours in GPS battery-saving mode. These are crazy numbers, especially for a watch with a 1.39″ AMOLED display.

Amazfit T-Rex 2

Health management

The new model has the BioTrackerTM 3.0 PPG biometric sensor that supports 24-hour health management functions. This includes heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen saturation measurements, and stress level estimates. The watch has over 150 sports modes, of which you will use two or three. The training capabilities of the T-Rex 2 have been enhanced in general. For example, the watch can now estimate Vo2 max, training load, recovery time, and more via its self-developed training status algorithm, PeakBeats, turning the wearable device into a multisport watch.

The T-Rex 2 also has the PAI system, which is the Amazfit version of Fitbit’s ‘Active Zone Minutes.’ PAI has been criticized for being convoluted, but it does its job well. The ExerSense function supports the system that automatically recognizes eight types of workouts, similar to Fitbit’s automatic exercise recognition function. Amazfit T-Rex 2 has also made improvements to the mapping functionality. We can now import route files from the Zepp app and track movements on the watch. The T-Rex 2 also has a navigation option to return to the starting point. This will show the fastest way back, regardless of how we got to a certain point on the map.

However, the T-Rex 2 has a few downsides. For a start, you cannot install third-party apps as there is no dedicated App Store. You can control music playback from the phone but not answer incoming calls. Although the watch quickly informs you when there is a call or some other notification, it cannot detect if the user has already checked the alert on the phone. Therefore, all notifications must be deleted manually.

Unlike the competition, WhatsApp messages will be reduced to alerts of their arrival but no reading. There is also no dedicated voice assistant and no smart home control. In short, Zepp OS has improved significantly compared to the past but still lacks quantity in dedicated software, which would have closed the gap with rivals even further.

More than an alternative

Is the Amazfit T-Rex 2 the cheap alternative to top-of-the-range smartwatches? Yes and no. The watch offers many features at a considerably low price that will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who cannot or do not want to spend a lot of money on an Apple Watch, a Galaxy Watch, or, better still, a Garmin.

Amazfit has also added many new features compared to the T-Rex Pro, including a bigger display, better GPS, a bigger battery, and smart features. Things get a little less rosy when you start measuring the accuracy of some of these new features. The GPS is fine, but the new heart rate sensor needs some improvement. That said, anyone looking for a rugged wearable at a reasonable price with tons of smart and outdoor features, a bright Amole display, and good GPS can stop reading and buy it online.

Antonino Caffo
Antonino Caffo
I love technology in all its forms but I am particularly interested in consumer devices and cyber security. Quite curious about the new developments of the hyper-connected society. I'm almost always online, if it's not me it's my avatar.

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