Amazfit T-Rex, the rugged smartwatch from Huami, is now available in India. This is also the smartwatch that I have had for the longest time. I have been holding onto the review unit of this smartwatch since February. First announced at CES 2020 in January, Huami Amazfit T-Rex was slated to debut in India in March. However, the lockdown starting March 25 forced the company to delay the launch. Now, that it is finally available for purchase, I’m free to tell you everything about it. Also Read - Huami Amazfit Dual OS Sports Watch Stratos 3 set to launch soon in India; Everything we know
To set the context, Huami is the biggest smartwatch brand in the country. According to IDC India, Huami’s Amazfit brand led Q1 2020 with a market share of 22.4 percent. It is ahead of Fossil and Apple, which had a market share of 17.7 percent and 17.4 percent respectively. However, Apple is the leader when it comes to smartwatches capable of running third-party applications. Huami is on top and with Amazfit T-Rex, the question is whether this wearable can extend its lead. The answer is Yes and to know why, you will have to read this review. Also Read - Amazfit T-Rex rugged smartwatch launched in India at Rs 9,999: Check details
Design and Display
One of the real challenges is to design a wristwatch that is not only circular in shape but also comfortable to wear. It is this difference that sets traditional watchmakers apart. Even in this space, it is rather difficult to make a rugged smartwatch well. No brand does this quite the way that Casio does. So, that’s the baseline for the design of Amazfit T-Rex. The smart wearable has a sandwich design that seems inspired by Casio G-Shock and Hublot’s Big Bang line. From the circular arc on the top to the base plate, the Amazfit T-Rex is designed to impress. Also Read - Huami Amazfit Bip S launched in India for Rs 4,999; check features, specifications and more
Though the better way to describe would be that it is designed to imitate the Casio G-Shock. It is not a bad thing and those planning to buy the T-Rex must note that they are getting one watch that does imitate G-Shock very well. It is a really high bar to match and I’m amazed that Huami could do that. A lot of the design of this watch is done with aesthetics in mind. There are four buttons in total – two on either side. The purpose of these buttons is to select, go back, scroll up or down on the interface.
These buttons are also circular in shape and are textured for an extremely great feedback. You can close your eyes and touch buttons and you won’t get it wrong. The feedback of these buttons reminded me of those old FM receivers which had circular knobs for most functions and were clicky even on the cheapest versions. I was mighty impressed with Amazfit GTR but T-Rex shows that this company can think like a watchmaker. The Rolexes and Omegas of this world sell for millions of dollars for a simple reason: the ingenuity of their design.
It is true that smartwatches will never be able to reach that kind of value. However, they can certainly try to match the quality of that craftsmanship. The top of the case even has markers for “Select, Back, Up and Down” and two additional triangular shapes punched into the enclosure. Lastly, there are two lines that separate the two semicircular sections of this smartwatch. The review unit that I have came with a rock black color and strap. However, I would choose the army green color since it looks like a regular watch rather than a fitness watch.
This design of Amazfit T-Rex is not just a ploy but it has purpose. The fitness watch comes with 12 military grade certifications, making it as rugged as it can get in this segment. We are looking at a wearable that is resistant against heat, cold, humidity and even salt spray. It has a 1.3-inch AMOLED display that looks smaller in reality. This display supports always-on mode and is plenty bright. However, I don’t think it is in the same league as the Amazfit GTS. There are a number of watch faces to choose from but the default memory of the watch is limited. As a rugged fitness watch, it doesn’t really have any competition and can thus own the space.
Activity Tracking and Other Features
When you get past the design, the Huami Amazfit T-Rex is identical to other Huami watches available in the country. It means it shares the same user interface (more on that in a bit) and fitness features. The heart of the fitness experience is support for 14 different sports modes. These include running outdoors or on a treadmill, skiing, hiking, swimming, triathlon, among others. Before the lockdown, I went for a run with this watch and I found the accuracy and GPS positioning to be as good as those from the more expensive product segment.
It can replace the Polar or Garmin used by an athlete but serves as a good place to start. It uses Sony-made GPS for accurate positioning and it always manages to lock onto my path faster than few other wearables that I have tried at this price point. Since it is water resistant to 50 meters, there is no need to worry about swimming with this smartwatch. Beyond that, it is capable of doing the usual things like all day heart tracking using a self-developed PPG Bio-Tracking Optical Sensor. It seems accurate but should not be conceived as a medically approved reading.
The Amazfit T-Rex does all the other smartwatch functions like tracking steps and converting that data into calories burnt. It also tracks sleep really well. The good thing is that it does not track REM sleep and limits to light and deep sleep. As I have mentioned in previous reviews of wearables from Amazfit, the data interpolated is really good. It tells you how to better balance sleep, which I think, a lot of us will appreciate during this lockdown. I really wish it had support for SpO2 measurement as well and also measured stress during the day.
Interface and Battery Life
In order to pair the T-Rex with your smartwatch, you will need to download the Amazfit app first. When this review unit came in February, the app had an antiquated look and experience. Amazfit pushed an update sometime back that brought the interface to the current era. There are big bold icons to indicate each and every parameter. The app also uses rectangular grid style layout to display some of the most important fitness related data. I suggest checking the app design from our Amazfit GTR and Amazfit GTS reviews once. This new design is clearly winning my heart.
With the app, you can control almost every possible setting on this watch. You can enable or disable continuous heart rate monitoring or start an exercise. It is also your gateway to look at a full scope of your activity. You can see the sleep data on the watch but the granular breakdown showing details such as light sleep, deep sleep is only available on the app. Yes, you need this app to change the watch face to those beyond the preset. Speaking of watch faces, Amazfit has one of the most vibrant community for third-party watch faces.
I tried a Rolex Day-Date watch face for a few days in white ceramic finish. No, I didn’t get the Rolex vibe but it shows the creative genius of the community. The Amazfit T-Rex also shines bright in terms of battery life. It is rated for 20 days of daily use and 20 hours of constant GPS use. With the basic watch mode, you can stretch the battery life to 66 days. These might sound like a tall claim but they are not. I left the box and charger of the Amazfit T-Rex in my office. Since I have been switching to different wearables, this has been in my backpack for sometime.
I had turned off the watch at 55% in late March and kept it safe. When I heard that Amazfit is getting closer to launch, I started the watch once again to use it on a daily basis. Guess what, I found the watch with a 55 percent battery as I left it. I still have 20 percent juice left, which should be enough for a few days if you use auto-brightness and don’t do a lot of activities. However, don’t make the mistake that I did by leaving the charger behind. The magnetic charging system is hard to find in the marketplace. So, if the watch dies, you cannot connect a USB Type-C charger and get going like it’s a smartphone.
Should you buy?
As a rugged fitness-centric smartwatch, Amazfit T-Rex has no competition whatsoever. However, it has competition when you look at the larger smartwatch market. The closest competitor is the Huawei Watch GT 2e, which has a sporty design, lot of fitness features, impressive battery life and even support to store and playback music over earbuds. They both, however, suffer from the same limitations. You can see all the incoming notifications but cannot reply to them directly from your wrist. You can also not do things like getting your next ride, which is possible on Wear OS, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch. Once you look past that limitation, here is what you should know for sure. At Rs 9,999, Amazfit T-Rex is really well priced.
I would bet that the company has cut Rs 2,000 from the price to accommodate for the delay in its launch. For that price, you get a smartwatch that has etched metal buttons, metal screws on the back and a convex watch body. It is not easy to find these design elements anywhere else. The Amazfit T-Rex looks so good that you forgive for other shortcomings but it does not have a laundry list of those. It does basic fitness tracking really well and it has a vibrant community that produces excellent watch faces. It is a smartwatch that tries to overachieve for its price and that makes it a winner for those who plan to buy it.