What if we told you that you can track the way you sleep, what you eat and how it makes you feel, exactly how much calories you've burned off and how many steps you took to do so. The Up by Jawbone isn't another Bluetooth headset or speaker, it's a fitness band you'll want to wear regardless if you're into looking after your health or not. Jawbone's Up is a well lubricated system that can track your sleep, activity and eating habits with the help of software and hardware.
Fitness tracking gadgets never looked this good and that's a fact. Jawbone knows how to make the little things stand out and sound great, but will the Up band turn out to be the best $100 you'll be spending? Questions will be answered, sweat will likely not be sweated but the review is after the jump!
In typical Jawbone packaging fashion, the Up band is proudly presented inside the clear iconic packaging as if it were a museum art piece. Good packaging? Check. How about accessories? The Up comes with a short, and I mean short charging cable that can flex and hold its shape. What isn't included and should have been is a wall power adapter for charging the Up band instead of having to rely on a USB port. With that being said, the Up has an estimated battery life of 10 days which in theory means that you'll be spending less time recharging this thing and more wearing. More on that later.
Of course one of the most important part of wearing a wrist band is for it to be as comfortable as possible. Jawbone markets the Up band as a 24-hours accessory that you'll be wearing. Because every step counts, you won't wont to remove that rubber bracelet off of your wrist and that means having to shower with it. And because the Up band is constructed from sweat and water-resistant rubber cladding, you don't have to worry about ever having to take it off your wrist until it comes time to bring it up to full charge. Wearing the Up band for a period of 10 days without ever having to take it off felt really painless and surprisingly very comfortable. I don't think I've ever worn a bracelet this comfortable before. My wrist is respectively hairy and I haven't had any discomfort whatsoever. It greatly depends on personal feeling, but I could wear this until the cows come home and at times forget it's even there. The rubber didn't pull on my skin or hairs but it does tend to attract a lot of lint and dust. Each time you wash your hands it'll look new again.
There are different sizes in which the Up band is available in ranging from small, medium and only recently extra large. You can find your wrist size with the help of the wrist checker on the back side of the packaging at the store while some locations have demo units that you can try on for size. The Up band has a fixed form that flexes when you want to wear it on your wrist and it'll stay on securely without any latches or magnets.
It's made out of thick rubber, accented with chic lightweight metal and has a metal inner band that is set to flex when putting it on your wrist. Other than that, wear and tear does seem to start taking affect on the memory of the inner metal band. I can definitely see it becoming more and more less tightly put together in the loop-shape that it comes in out of the box. It can take a lot of abuse though thanks to the durable rubber.
The Up band uses a clever connection than your typical USB. Removing the end cap reveals a 3.5mm jack that plugs into the charging adapter cable directly when it comes time to recharge. I know I said that Jawbone should have included a wall power adapter but a spare end cap would be even better. You'll end up losing this little cap very quickly if you're not careful. Sleeping with this band has caused the end cap to detach several times and boy is it annoying.
You would think Jawbone, being a Bluetooth focused product brand would equip the Up with Bluetooth connectivity, but the truth is it didn't. Instead you'll be awkwardly plugging the Up band into your iPhone's headphone port to sync all the data with the Up app. Fortunately, the process couldn't be any more awesome! It works flawlessly and within a matter of seconds you're done syncing. You can use most cases that allow for slim 3.5mm headphone plugs to fit with the Up band as well. There's a good reason for not including Bluetooth into the Up band however. The battery life is terrific. I went without ever charging the Up band out of the box for straight 10 days until it died on me. That's fantastic because you want to spend as much time wearing the Up band as possible and the battery life is just remarkable.
There have been some issues with many Up bands having bad battery life and ceasing to function. Jawbone is aware of these issues, starter a great refund program and has temporarily stopped selling the Up bands and is working on making new ones without issues which will be available very soon. It just so happens that even my band completely died on me after only 11 days.
The second I got my hands on the Up band I ripped open the packaging and slipped it on my right wrist. I don't think I was ever that enthusiastic about wanting to use a product so quickly ever in my entire life. Maybe it was because I was dying to start knowing what was going on in my daily life, and the Up was the right tool I actually saw myself wanting to use on a daily basis. But there are some downsides that I came across. The Up is an app-based accessory and without an iOS device like the iPhone, the Up is a useless good looking bracelet.
There are many gadgets that depend on an app or are just app-enhanced out there but none of them have the eye candy and beautiful user interface Jawbone delivers with the Up band app. The Up app is so easy to use I'd have to call it idiot proof. Step by step pop-up messages guide you thru the initial set up of your Up band and with info on where to tap in order to start seeing all of your results statistically show up in full vibrant color. This is what it looks like when you open up the Up app. You are shown a quick summary of how much you've slept, steps you've took that day as well one of the least favorable of mine, what you've had to eat.
The Up's internal hardware consists of a motion sensor, rechargeable battery and a vibrate motor similar to the one found inside the iPhone 4S and recent smartphones. This vibrate motor vibrates very quietly and will allow you to set specific alarms so that you can wake up when your Up band vibrates on your wrist without disturbing your significant other in bed. How awesome is that? And it works very well might I add and has a strong vibration. It sure beats any annoying buzzing and noise making alarms that's for sure! You can also set vibrate reminders to help you remember to move about all by using the Up app.
On the end of the Up band is a single metal cap button with a discrete status indicator that lights up thru the rubber when you push the button to cycle thru different modes. There are three different types of modes to cycle thru. The first is the standard activity setting, workout activity setting, sleep setting. You'll need to set those yourself according to your situation. Each time you switch a mode, the band will silently vibrate as well.
Orienting your iPhone to the landscape orientation, the Up app goes into further detail and shows you a timeline of all the days, sleep - steps and meals aggregated with the date and time as well as separating each category with vibrant colors so it is easier to find the info you're looking for.
Along with the visuals, the Up app also gives its input on how well you've improved each of the three categories in percentages. Say you haven't had much sleep the day before and you recently just woken up, synced up your Up band with your iPhone and found out that hey, you slept really well this time and the Up app will praise you for that with motivating shining beams of awesomeness that you are. Supposedly with these stats along with setting alarms that wake you up in the best possible scenario between a set time should make you feel more refreshed in the morning. Personally, I see both the sleep and eating tracking a big fat gimmick. Call me what ever you want, but I don't see the benefits here. This band isn't smart enough to know whether you've woken up and turn off its sleep tracking so you end up with false results if you forget to turn it off yourself after you wake up.
It's ridiculous inaccurate to think that by wearing the Up band, taking photos of what you ate and telling the app itself how you felt some time later - is pure gimmick that you aren't going to benefit from. I don't need an app to to tell me what I already know and feel thank you very much.
What isn't ridiculous and possibly the best feature of the Up as a fitness wrist band is the activity tracking capabilities. Wearing the Up on your wrist on a daily basis will give you a very good picture on how many steps you've taken and how many miles you've walked. It will keep track of all this data in an organized and easy to understand way inside the Up app. You get to see how much calories you've burned and that translates into great data pints for motivating yourself into walking more and being more active knowing exactly how much you're doing to burn those pesky calories. Having used the Up band for quite a while now, suffice to say that it tracks steps accurately without counting your hand movements like scratching your head and picking up stuff. Do know that you'll need to move your hands while walking because if you walk a mile in a mall holding a shopping bag, you'll lose all the data since the Up band will not account for that.
Those red stats above mean that you've turned on workout mode for when you're at the gym, running and hiking which means that you're burning more calories than walking while yellow stats mean that you are in the default activity mode. The larger spikes tell you how intense you've been active at the time.
The downside is that even though your data is backed up on Jawbone's servers, you cannot access the data online using a browser or with your Jawbone Up account. Sadly, the data is only available via the Up app on your iPhone.
What it comes down to is whether this is worth recommending, and the answer is yes but it also comes with limitations that I think you should consider before going out and getting an Up band. If you want to keep track of how much calories you're sweating off and exactly how much you've moved on a daily basis without wearing annoying fitness tracking devices and forgetting to clip them back on, the Jawbone Up is worth trying out. You've got something that not only was designed to look stylish, feel very comfortable to wear, but also backed up by a user friendly app and the vibrating alarms add to the value as well. $100 is still steep knowing that the Up band is in many ways a good looking gimmick. Jawbone needs to include more or drop the price.