Product: Jawbone UP
Jawbone is mostly known for their bluetooth products (headsets and Jambox speakers), but they definitely changed direction with their new product, UP. The fitness wristband inspires one to "move more, sleep better and eat smarter." After spending a week with it, we'll take a look at the UP (as well as its accompanying app) and see if it's worth the wearing 24 hours a day.
UP is a health and fitness tracking bracelet made to be worn 24 hours a day. It's made to work with the accompanying iPod/iPhone app that tracks your sleep, meals and steps taken each day. The UP's motion sensor monitors movement during sleep and daily activity. There is no web interface and the app is iOS only for now, so Android users are out of luck. UP is synced using your iPhone's headphone port and comes with a USB cable to charge it. The battery last about 10 days (I am going on my 7th day and I am at 26%). There is a button on the other end to select Sleep or Workout Mode.
The water-resistant band is made of soft touch flexible rubber wrapped around a steel band. UP comes in 3 sizes (small, medium and large) and the box has a plastic fit guide to make sure you purchase the right one. I purchased a Medium and although the fit is slightly loose on the wrist, it stays comfortably in place throughout the day. Sleeping with it, on the other hand, is as uncomfortable as you would expect wearing a thick bracelet to bed would be. The soft touch texture also doesn't help since the bracelet snags on bedding. The UP is also a bit cumbersome while resting your wrist on a laptop as you type and use your trackpad. The cap that covers the headphone plug for connecting to the iPhone app is also easy to lose--I lost mine on the third day. Luckily, Jawbone offers 1 replacement if you call their customer support line.
When you go to bed you set UP to Sleep Mode by holding down the button until a little blue moon lights up. UP tracks your quality of sleep by sensing movements during sleep. One of the main reasons I purchased the UP is because of its Smart Alarm feature. UP identifies the best moment to wake you 30 minutes before your desired wake up time. It claims to help you wake up refreshed, picking the ideal moment based on your natural sleep cycles. With regular use it does work as advertised and gives you a nice graph, showing you your quality of sleep. This feature by itself is pretty neat and gives you a perfect silent alarm so you won't have to wake up your partner in the morning. Unfortunately UP is only limited to 1 alarm time.
Daily Activity and Step Tracker
UP also keeps tracks of your steps during the day just like a pedometer. You can activate a workout mode on the band so you can get more accurate readings while exercising. The steps are then calculated so you can see your total distance, calories burned and the amount of time you've been active. This part of the app seems to be the most useful. By setting up a daily goal you can keep track of how active you are during the day and take action if you want to move a little bit more each day.
This aspect of the app is so far the most disappointing. It doesn't have much to do with the UP band itself. At every meal you simply take a photo of what you're eating and in a few hours the app asks how you feel. The choices are slim, ranging from Energized, OK and Stuffed. This portion of the app provides you with a photo journal of the food you eat, but Jawbone could have taken it a step further and have at least added a calorie tracker or nutrition guide.
Overall, I really like the idea of Jawbone's UP. There are similar products, like Fitbit, that do the same thing and aren't limited to just an iPhone app. There are also products like Nike+ that do a better job of tracking your activity. Compared to other products, the hardware is where the UP seems to excel. The software, however, is where it's lacking. With all the data collected so far, I feel like it could show me more ways to live a healthier life style. Perhaps Jawbone could have my information compared to a database of other users. Or I could set a more specific personalized goal based on information I give it. Having to wear a bracelet around your wrist 24 hours a day is asking a lot for getting not that much in return. If the UP application were continually updated and added more features and better graphical representation of data, the commitment might pay off. As for right now, UP is just good enough for people that like personal data tracking. Others, however, may feel like the UP doesn't quite pay off.
- Comfortable to wear all day
- Long battery Life
- Good use as a silent alarm
- Keeps you aware of sleep quality and daily activity
- Easy to lose cap
- Uncomfortable in bed
- Software is a little bare
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.