Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jawbone UP First Impressions


A few days ago I was talking about getting a deeply discounted Jawbone UP.  After a few days of using it a alongside my Nike+ FuelBand, here are my first impressions of the UP.

Hardware

The Jawbone UP comes in a variety of colors.  When you buy your device, you pick your color and that's it.  The Nike+ FuelBand SE is the same way.  If you like accessorizing, then you might want to consider a Fitbit Flex because you can put the tracker into different bands.

Jawbone UP (left) & Nike+ FuelBand top view
Jawbone UP (left) & Nike+ FuelBand bottom view
The UP does not have a display of any kind or interlocking clasp.  This trade off keeps the UP band  more narrow then the FuelBand.  The FuelBand has both an basic LED display that shows basic information (Fuel points earned, calories burned, steps taken, and the time) and has a metal clasp.  While I've not yet been in a situation where I felt that Up band was going to fall off, it does not sit as tightly on my wrist as the FuelBand does.  The UP, being Jawbone's most basic fitness tracker does not have any wireless radios, so the only way to synchronize the data that was collected is to plug the UP into the headphone jack on the iPhone.  While this isn't ideal, it does work most of the time.

My favorite feature so far, has to be the sleep tracker.  With the built in actigraph sensor, when worn while sleeping, the UP can track how restful your sleep was.  Another nice addition over the Nike+ FuelBand is a tiny vibrating motor that can be used to wake you from sleep or to remind you that you've been still too long and that it's time to get up and move around a little bit.

Software

When you buy and UP fitness tracker, you has free access to the (blue) UP application.  (There is also a purple UP application for a different Jawbone tracker.)  The software works fairly well.  Since the UP does not have a display, the iOS (or Android) app is the only way to view and sync the data from the band to your iPhone and the Jawbone website.

The main screen is a colorful,  linear scrolling, top down list of data from the band.  If you want to get the most out of the UP, you can also enter in additional information as exercise, your mood, what you've eaten, log your weight, and if you forgot to wear your UP band to bed, when you went to sleep and when you woke up.

If you are the type that likes daily motivators, the "Smart Coach" feature will help keep you working toward your goal.  The Coach gives you helpful tips based on the additional information that you enter into the app.  This is a marked difference between the Nike+ software and the Jawbone software.  The Nike+ software only tracks your exercise and movement activity.  The Jawbone gives you a more holistic view of how your body is performing toward any fitness or health related goal you are working toward.

Wrap Up

Over all, I'm fairly impressed with the features of the entry level Jawbone UP.  Simply based on the hardware and the stock app, I'm considering retiring my original Nike+ FuelBand and replacing it full time with the UP. Knowing what I know now about the Jawbone UP, the UP24 and the current Nike+ FuelBand SE, I would definitely purchase the Jawbone UP24 and use it as my daily fitness and activity tracker.  At least until the Apple Watch Sport goes on sale later this year.

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