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Amazfit T-Rex vs Garmin Instinct (2021): Which Watch Should Outdoor Enthusiasts Get?

For outdoor enthusiasts, a rugged smartwatch does more than just tell the time. These durable wearables serve as a smart guide and fitness tracker, too. Now, Garmin is arguably one of the most recognizable names in this field. However, budget alternatives like the Amazfit T-Rex make the playing field more interesting, especially against the likes of the Garmin Instinct. Below, we compare the T-Rex to the Instinct to see if Amazfit’s affordable offering stands squarely against Garmin’s more premium smartwatch.

Amazfit T Rex vs Garmin Instinct Watch Comparison Chart

ModelAmazfit T-RexGarmin Instinct
 Amazfit T-Rex Smartwatch, Military Standard Certified, Tough Body, GPS, 20-Day Battery Life, 1.3''...Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features Glonass and Galileo, Heart...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions47.7 X 47.7 X 13.5 mm45 x 45 x 15.3 mm
Display Size1.3” AMOLED (360 x 360 pixels)0.9” x 0.9” (128 x 128 pixels)
Weight58g52g
Waterproofing5 ATM10 ATM
SensorsOptical heart sensor
3-axis acceleration sensor
Geomagnetic sensor
Ambient light sensor
Heart rate monitor
Barometric altimeter
Compass
Accelerometer
Thermometer
PositioningGPS, GLONASSGPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Preset ModesYesYes
Distance TrackingYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Smart NotificationsYesYes
Support for CallsNoNo
Contactless PaymentNoNo
Safety Featuren/aLiveTrack
ConnectivityBluetoothBluetooth, ANT
Battery LifeDaily use mode: 20 days
Basic watch mode: 66 days
GPS on: 20 hours
Smartwatch mode: 14 days
GPS mode: 16 hours
UltraTac: 40 hours
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS

Design and Hardware

The Amazfit T-Rex has a flashier design compared to the Garmin Instinct’s more discreet and seamless form.

Amazfit T-Rex vs Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch Design
Compared to the Amazon T-Rex (left), the Garmin Instinct (right) has a more refined design.

Just like any outdoor watch, the Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct both sport a rugged design. With its thick casing and pronounced screws, Amazfit’s T-Rex bears an uncanny resemblance to another all-weather watch — the G-SHOCK. Beyond alikeness to Casio’s design language, however, the T-Rex brings elements of its own.

On the bezel, you’ll find bold red accents that evoke the device name’s strength and power. The body is crafted from robust polymer materials, too, although the silicone strap feels flimsy compared to the rest of the watch. Similar to the Amazfit T-Rex, the Garmin Instinct features a reinforced polymer bezel and case. It also brandishes a circular form while following a five-button array compared to the Amazfit T-Rex’s four.

Nonetheless, the Instinct’s slightly less protruding buttons and screw-free bezel give the watch a more refined and minimalist aesthetic. If the Amazfit T-Rex wants to show off its ruggedness, the Garmin Instinct cleverly disguises it with its seamless construction. It’s a design philosophy carried out even by the Garmin Instinct’s different variants.

The Amazfit T-Rex comes with a vibrant color AMOLED display, while the Garmin Instinct is equipped with a monochrome transreflective screen. Both watches claim military-grade durability, although the Amazfit backs theirs with multiple certifications. The Garmin Instinct, however, boasts a better water rating. Amazfit and Garmin’s outdoor watches are similarly available in four color options.

Fitness and Activity Tracking

While both watches offer accurate GPS tracking navigation, the Garmin Instinct tracks more activities and metrics than the Amazfit T-Rex.

Amazfit T-Rex vs Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch Comparison Activity Tracking
Whether on the app or on device, the Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct deliver accurate GPS navigation.

The Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct both have built-in GPS and compass. Based on user feedback, the location data you get from both watches are largely accurate. If you’re a hiker or mountaineer, then either of the two should be a reliable companion in your routes. However, the Garmin Instinct does have an advantage in that you can download courses ahead of time. Plus, it comes with an SOS functionality that allows it to connect with compatible devices — a useful feature when you’re in more remote locations.

Of course, the T-Rex and Instinct do more than just track your hiking routes. Both devices come with preset modes as well. The Amazfit T-Rex boasts of 14 professional sport modes, including outdoor and indoor cycles, ski, and pool swims. Regardless of the activity you choose, you can monitor speed, distance, and workout duration.

Garmin’s Instinct tracks several standard metrics like steps climbed, calories burned, and intensity minutes. But the watch also covers more sports modes compared to the Amazfit watch. With the Garmin Instinct, you get several outdoor recreation profiles, including rowing and kayaking. Users also get access to several running, cycling, and swimming profiles. Overall, the Garmin Instinct feels more comprehensive when it comes to fitness and activity tracking compared to the Amazfit T-Rex.

Health Features

Although the Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct offer a few health monitoring features, the latter comes with a more intuitive mobile app.

Amazfit T-Rex vs Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch Comparison Health Features
These watches come with standard heart rate monitoring features.

Today’s smartwatches basically double as heart rate monitors, and it remains true with the Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct. Both devices are equipped with optical heart rate sensors that offer all-day monitoring. They also notify users of abnormal or rapid heart rates while providing insight into your heart rate zones.

Amazfit’s T-Rex also issues idle alerts to remind users to stand up and avoid sitting for too long, a great way of developing healthy habits. However, the Garmin Instinct offers a few more thoughtful features like stress monitoring, relaxation breathing timer, and even menstrual cycle tracking. Plus, the Garmin Connect app feels more intuitive compared to Amazfit’s Zepp platform.

The Instinct even allows users to log their daily water intake and get hydration reminders. Nonetheless, the Amazfit T-Rex does deliver more accurate sleep tracking readings compared to the Garmin Instinct.

Of course, these health and wellness features are great additions to any smartwatch. But with a focus on tracking outdoor activities, you’ll find better health features in other devices. In our Apple Watch vs Oura Ring review, you can see how other wearables are taking mobile health monitoring to new levels.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct have basic smart features. Amazfit’s T-Rex, however, offers a longer battery life compared to Garmin’s Instinct.

Amazfit T-Rex vs Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch Comparison Battery Life
Amazfit’s T-Rex boasts a longer battery life while Garmin’s Instinct enjoys a better ecosystem and interface.

The Amazfit T-Rex and Garmin Instinct are equipped with standard smart features. As outdoor watches, however, they’re quite limited compared to other wearables. The T-Rex and Instinct only offer basic smart notifications. You can’t respond to these alerts, too, so you will need your smartphone within reach. The Garmin Instinct does allow you to customize the notifications you want to be previewed, but that’s about it.

There is no onboard storage on either the T-Rex or Instinct, so you can’t play music without your phone. However, you can control your music playlist on both watches. If you like the convenience of contactless payments, be advised that the T-Rex and Instinct don’t have this feature, too.

When it comes to battery life, the Amazfit T-Rex does have the advantage. Amazfit’s watch lasts 66 days on a single charge. Of course, this comes with the fine print that you’re on a basic watch mode with several features turned off. With average usage, you’re more likely to get 20 days from the T-Rex. Turn on the GPS, and you should still get about 20 hours of battery life.

Meanwhile, the Garmin Instinct’s smartwatch mode will give you about 2 weeks of battery life. In GPS mode, those 14 days turn into just 16 hours. If you need the navigation feature but also want a longer runtime, you can opt for the UltraTrac mode. This reduces GPS updates to give the Instinct about 40 hours of battery life.

Verdict

Choose the Amazfit T-Rex if you want a rugged design and longer battery life. Go for the Garmin Instinct if you need to track more activities or want a better mobile app.

If you want a watch that isn’t afraid to look obvious, then choose the Amazfit T-Rex. Its in-your-face rugged design tells people it’s made for the elements. Beyond appearances, however, the biggest selling point of the T-Rex is its battery life. This does come with the caveat that those impressive single-charge numbers have the T-Rex’s GPS turned off. But for regular outdoor use — like a day-long hike or a quick run at the park — you’ll get more use-time from the Amazfit T-Rex.

The Garmin Instinct, on the other hand, sports a more refined design. Its seamless exterior, however, doesn’t compromise its durability. Like the Amazfit T-Rex, the Garmin Instinct is military-grade as well. Nonetheless, Garmin’s outdoor watch feels like the more complete device. The Instinct tracks more metrics, offers more outdoor profiles, and has a better mobile app experience. While it doesn’t have advanced health or smart features, it feels more capable of an outdoor watch than the Amazfit T-Rex. If you’re willing to spend more on a wearable, then going for the Garmin Instinct is better than settling for a budget alternative.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between the Amazfit T-Rex and the Garmin Instinct.

Amazfit’s T-Rex is more affordable compared to the Garmin Instinct. However, Garmin’s outdoor watch monitors more outdoor activities and fitness metrics compared to the Amazfit T-Rex.

📌 Is the Zepp app the same as the Amazfit app?

The Zepp app was previously branded as the Amazfit app. Today, the Zepp platform is the official app for both Zepp and Amazfit-branded devices.

📌 Does the Amazfit T-Rex come with SpO2 monitoring?

No, the Amazfit T-Rex does not have SpO2 monitoring. For oximeter features, you can go for the Amazfit T-Rex Pro instead.

📌 How long is the warranty offered by the Garmin Instinct?

The Garmin Instinct comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Last update on 2021-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.