Reviews

Jawbone UP Activity Tracker (Discontinued) – User review | GadFit

December 3, 2013

The Jawbone Up was never intended to be a smart watch or solely a fitness monitor. It wanted to be more than that.  It wanted you to “Know yourself. Live better.”  This is the second generation wristband from Jawbone. 

Jawbone UP. Here's to knowing myself better.

Jawbone UP. Here’s to knowing myself better.

PICT_20131128_170517

The plastic loop is for your to fit your size. Very clever!

Jawbone UP wristband. Onyx.

Jawbone UP wristband. Onyx.

Proprietary charging cable. Don't lose this.

Proprietary charging cable. Don’t lose this.

ACCURACY

I would walk, jog and run on the treadmill for 5 minutes at each speed; most people i know of would engage in either of these actions or more. Actual steps were recorded with a pace counter. I also figured i am going to carry something eventually so an additional test for step accuracy was devised for wrist trackers. I carried a laptop on my non-dominant hand and walked for 5 minutes.  (The one with the Jawbone UP) 

track scores

LOOK AND FEEL

The UP tracks your steps, distance, longest active period, longest idle period, sleep, active burn of calories, resting burning of calories and the total calories burnt. In terms of steps tracking accuracy, the Jawbone UP i had is pretty impressive. 

The make feels rubbery. Not the kind of rubber that grows sticky over time but premium feel material. According to Jawbone, its made  of hypoallergic, medical grade  TPU rubber. Whatever that is, it feels good. Designed by fuseproject, the look is unique yet stylish. No clips, no straps, clasps. It just wraps.

Not everyone's cup of tea. The missus does not like the look. Too "gadget-y" she says. Need to moisturise..

Not everyone’s cup of tea. The missus does not like the look. Too “gadget-y” she says. Need to moisturise..

The band is pretty thick and it will get in the way of work (typing) and leisure (folding my arms). I followed the instructions on the website with regard to sizing and I still found the Jawbone Up a tad  loose.  I find myself wanting to show off the band after 2 weeks of wearing it. It’s not a smooth black band but textured. Think many ‘W’s squeezed together. An end cap to hide the 3.5mm jack cum syncing port. And another end which actually toggles the various modes. Supposedly sweat and splash proof but definitely not water proof. i usually rinse it off after a hard workout.

FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION (Similar for Jawbone trackers)

jawbone app sample screen

Always a pleasant surprise to read the mini cards of tips for the new day.

Among all the activity trackers and their own versions of apps, the Jawbone UP app stands out the most for me. It provides news, tips, summary of researches and the occassional “Today I will” challenges. The fact that the data is used and compared versus the general UP population gives the user a better glimpse of where he or she stands. The addition of the Smart Coach is really icing on the cake.

new jawbone up app interface

Tapping on the “+” sign brings up various functions as shown on the right.

The updated Jawbone UP app for activity trackers simplifies the user interface further by consolidating everything under a single “+” sign. Tap on it and the user can access any of the 5 domains of functions; be it to track activity, mood, food, weight or sleep.

jawbone sleep and activity screen capture

Activity and sleep data presentation on the Jawbone UP app.

Users can scrutinise their tracked stats like activity and sleep for the day. Users could add a comment or simply share via Facebook or Twitter. The functions are all embedded within the app.

jawbone app trend months vs weeks

Trend data in months and weeks.

Past data can also be accessed right from the app. I’ve been a user of the Jawbone UP app since October 2013 and I can still easily access that. Nostalgia…Users can choose what to list in the trends screen.

  • Light sleep
  • Sound sleep
  • Total sleep
  • Steps
  • Active time
  • Workout Time
  • Distance
  • Calories burned
  • Calories consumed
  • Carbs, cholesterol, fiber, protein, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, unsaturated fat
  • Weight
  • body Fat
jawbone goals vs compatible apps

Adjusting goals. Compatible apps.

You can also decide the number of steps and duration of sleep to strive towards for the day. The best part is the user can see what the average UP user is clocking and judge if they should do more…or less.

Jawbone has a lot of compatible apps and at last count, it was 35 and includes popular apps like MyFitnessPal, Pact, Nest, Runkeeper and a whole lot more.

Jawbone introduced the Smart Coach into the UP app to provide more advice based on the tracked stats.

jawbone smartcoach screen captures

Smart Coach dispenses advice on activity and sleep.

For example, I took 36 minutes to fall asleep on one night and Smart Coach suggest I try UCLA’s 12 minutes guided meditation.

When I failed to hit my goal for the day, Smart Coach would chip in with suggestions on how I can increase my step count; go for walks, take the steps, walk the longer way.

Since stride length differs from person to person, distance tracked in a day though the UP app can also be calibrated. All you need is a accurate measure like a walk around a 400m track or on a treadmill. I’ve used this function to fine tune my own distance clocked per day.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Jawbone UP supposedly lasts 10 days on a single charge and it did just that during this review.  The charging cable is proprietary, if the unit goes flat and I don’t have access to a charging cable, that’s it.

Friends can also join you in your quest to better health. Unfortunately you need to have a UP band to use the app, unlike Fitbit. The band can be calibrated to accurately track distance. Syncing option to popular apps like MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Withings is available. You also get a weekly summary report sent to your registered email account with Jawbone.



JAWBONE UP IN A NUTSHELL

Pros:

  • Accurate for step counting.
  • Beautiful.
  • Great app interface and features.
  • Multiple alert features (idle, smart alarm, power nap)
  • Good battery life-10 days.
  • Splash and sweat proof.
  • Very easy to remove and put on.
  • Calibration function available.
  • Weekly summary report.

Cons:

  • Thick band gets in the way of daily activities.
  • Proprietary charging cable.
  • Lack of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) syncing function.
  • Lack of display.

The only way to access the data is through syncing. i just wished this wasn’t the case. Sometimes i just want to know if i’m 15k steps or 18k steps there and then midway through a run and not have to take out my phone. (OK, i don’t bring my phone when i run, that’s the whole point of de-stressing and disconnecting isn’t it?)

Jawbone UP  is a beautiful, well thought solution that hasn’t quite hit the sweet spot.

Listed price: Discontinued but you can still get it online at Ebay or Amazon till stocks run out.

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