Update: (10th September 2015) Sleep tracking is now automated rather than manually activated. There are also new colour variations.
Barely 2 weeks back, Jawbone announced the availability of the Jawbone UP2 together with the confirmed shipping of the Jawbone UP3. Sticking true to Yves Behar’s design principles, smart phone notifications are starkly absent from the new fitness tracking bands and the look is sleeker than before.
I’ve had the Jawbone UP2 for a week now and here’s what I have to say.
LOOK AND FEEL
The new Jawbone UP2 is extremely light and slim and appears almost accessory-like.
The design is simple and feature etched wall paper patterns on anondized aluminum. It’s also a one size fits all with adjustable clasp system which is made of TiN coated stainless steel.
Throughout the week of review, there were 2-3 times when the clasp did come off on its own.
Back when it was initially released, there were only 2 colours; silver or black. The black version is the one featured in this review. A new slate of colours with a new clasp system was released in early September 2015 and it’s gorgeous. Scroll towards the end of this review to take a look at the full range of colours and straps.
There are 3 LED indicator lights beneath the anodized aluminum surface of the tracker.
- An orange man for activity
- A white message icon for notifications
- A blue moon for sleep.
The activity tracker wears comfortably probably due to the slim band and adjustable clasp system.
The charging cable is proprietary and features a magnetic catch that attaches to the Jawbone UP2 during charging. Battery is supposed to last 7 days on a single charge and it’s about right during the review.
Other than that, it’s really inconspicuous even by my standards. If you’re hunting for a low profile activity tracker that doesn’t scream “I’m tracking my fitness!” Look no further than the Jawbone UP2.
There are no buttons nor nodes, zilch. Everything works by taps and long holds. And even after a week, I found the controls difficult to grasp and often a hit and miss. Sometimes a light double tap would suffice, other times it took big whacks to get a response. Jawbone released a firmware to tackle this situation.
FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION
Step counting and activity logging
The Jawbone UP2 measures activity through steps and calculates other stats like distance, calories burnt and so on from there. Motion tracking is powered by Motion X. The user is unable to see progress from the wrist band though the band buzzes multiple times upon reaching the set goal.
Unlike the Jawbone UP24, bouts of activities must be initiated from the connected smart phone device. This is not a big issue if you’re engaged in moderate and high intensity activities in the day because the Jawbone UP2 will detect the motions and ask you within the UP app later if you would like it recorded as an activity. as seen in the screen capture above.
An update in September 2015 has enabled automatic sleep tracking.Sleep tracking, powered by Motion X, will further break your sleep quality down to sound and light sleep.
The Jawbone UP mobile app is where all the data is presented and it continues to do that superbly. The interface has seen little change since a year ago with the exception of the addition of the the Smart Coach function which I’ll elaborate in a bit.
On a daily basis, I will receive snippets of advice or information on the benefits of staying active. Over the 2 years I’ve been on the Jawbone UP platform, I can let you know that some of the information is repeated but it’ll take a while before you actually experience repeats.
What seperates the Jawbone UP system from the other fitness tracking platforms is the analysis and then recommendations of your tracked stats; also known as Smart Coach. In the screen capture above, you can see Smart Coach challenging me to up my physical activity and also recommendations to connect the MapMyFitness app.
Vibrating alerts and alarms
The user can set multiple alarms with the vibration enabled Jawbone UP2 and also include reminders such as time to take medicine, go for walk etc. The mobile device and the Jawbone UP2 tracker work in tandem with one vibrating while the other displays the reminder.
The idle alert has been one of my favourite features among all the trackers I’ve seen to date. You set a duration which the Jawbone UP2 will detect if you’ve been inactive. Once that duration is passed, a buzz goes off to remind you to get up and move about.
The Jawbone UP system is also compatible with many other 3rd party apps like MyFitnesPal, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper and even Apple Health.
Food logging and weight tracking
The mobile app has an impressive list of food items to choose. I always found it tedious to tap and check item by item what I’ve consumed but I’m sure there are those users out there who use this function to their own benefit.
The UP app also features a weight tracking function to chart your weight loss or gain over time in app.
Mood and activity logging
Ever wanted to track your mood? Well you can now with the Jawbone UP mobile app. Either slide up or down to capture your mood at a particular point of the day.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the user is unable to commence activity tracking from the wristband but that can be done in the mobile app.
The beauty of the Motion X powered Jawbone UP2 is that it tracks all the movement throughout the day so the user can highlight any time of the day to be included as an activity to be logged. The Jawbone UP mobile app has a pretty impressive list of activities that can be logged including zumba and cross training.
Set goals and view trends over time
Right from the Jawbone UP app, the user can set and amend step and sleep goals. Users can also examine the trend overtime, either by day or week month.
If there’s one complaint, it’s the tapping controls. It’s nothing short of frustrating at times and I honestly wished it worked better.
I also found the medical-grade hypoallergenic TPU rubber strap prone to signs of wear and tear. Just a week into the review and the band looks as if it’s been through some tough times with scratch marks and all.
Like the UP24, the Jawbone UP2 is splash-proof only; good for showers and the sweaty workouts but it’s a no-no for swims and dips.
I also particularly like the fact that there’s no display of phone notifications.
All controls are intiated from the Jawbone UP mobile app so there’s no web platform to log into. Users can download their tracked stats from Jawbone.com.
- Looks like an accessory than a fitness tracker
- Tracks steps, distance, sleep duration and quality, mood, calories burnt.
- Tracks different forms of activities like Yoga and runs manually.
- Smart Coach makes sense of tracked stats
- Weight tracking and food logging functions
- Set vibration for idle alert, alarm, goals, and reminders
- Works seamlessly with connected mobile device
- Add friends who are on the Jawbone UP system
- About 7 days battery life
- One size fit all
- Activity tracking manually activated from mobile device only
- Not for swimming
- Can’t tell progress towards step goal without mobile device
The Jawbone UP2 is a worthy successor to the famed UP24 and at a lower starting price too. In going for a sleeker more accessory-like appearance, physical buttons were all replaced and the entire look overhauled.
There are very few products on the market that work like the Jawbone UP2. The Smart Coach makes sense of the tracked stats and offer challenges and advice. Set reminders for taking pills or meetings and the UP2 will buzz when the time arrives. Go about your day and track your activities inconspicuously and log all your activities later. Record your food intake, mood, sleep and challenge friends. All that right from your mobile device. It’s a tough feat to repeat.
There are more economical products out there like the Xiaomi Miband but you won’t get the user experience of the Jawbone ecosystem.
Jawbone UP2’s price may put off some potential customers but those who take the leap will find an activity tracking experience that grows on them; hopefully towards a more active lifestyle. It is currently available in 8 different variations at the recommended retail price of $99.
Buy the Jawbone UP2 from Amazon.com where there’s usually a slight discount and free delivery depending on where you reside.
Thanks for reading!
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