Jawbone UP 2 Wristband Reviewed

Jawbone UP 2 Wristband

UP is a system, wristband + iPhone app, that tracks how you sleep, move and eat so you can know yourself better, make smarter choices and feel your best. Know yourself. Live better.

TRACK YOUR SLEEP. Small and comfortable to wear all day and night, UP senses your micro-movements while you sleep and uses advanced algorithms to determine how many hours you slept, how long it took you to fall asleep, time spent in light vs. deep sleep and how many times you woke during the night.

TRACK YOUR ACTIVTY. Wearing UP captures a complete picture of your day, so you don’t have to guess how active you are. UP tracks your steps, distance, calories burned and time spent active vs. idle. TRACK YOUR FOOD & DRINK. UP’s mobile app lets you log what you eat and drink and get as detailed as you want. Take a photo of your food, scan a barcode, browse the UP image gallery or search the ingredient database. UP also helps you track calories, fats, carbohydrates, protein, sugar, fiber and sodium.

GAIN INSIGHT. UP simply and beautifully visualizes your information so, at a glance, you can understand the meaning behind your data. UP also delivers personalized insights and clear, actionable tips to help you achieve your goals.

TAKE ACTION. UP helps you set daily goals and tracks your progress over time. It also lets you set helpful alarms and reminders. You can set a Smart Alarm to silently wake you at the ideal moment in your sleep cycle to help you wake up feeling refreshed. You can also set Idle Alerts to remind you to move when you’ve been sitting too long.

A couple weeks ago I received my Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black after a few months pre-order wait. I had it two full weeks, got to know and learn it, and lost it swiftly. The fact that I lost it so easily made me decide to try Jawbone Up– thinking that if I lose my arm, I’ve got larger issues… My review will be a comparison of these two devices for those trying to decide between the two. Early spoiler: I recommend Jawbone Up over the Fitbit One for most people. I’ll tell you why…

Hardware itself

The biggest frustration I had with the Fitbit One was that I wanted to use it for daytime activity monitoring and for sleep monitoring. Using it for both activities included moving the device from my belt clip, taking it out of the rubber clip, putting it in the wrist strap, and reversing this process each day. It felt like a chore after a few days, and some mornings I even forgot to put it back on my belt after showering & changing. These issues aren’t faced with the Jawbone Up because you can leave it on your wrist at all times– even in the shower. No annoying loss, no annoying moving it from clip to pouch to clip, no forgetting it at home in the morning. The Fitbit met it’s ultimate demise after only its second fall off of my belt. It’s so light and in rubber, it didn’t even make a sound when it left me and met the ground. It was never found. Long live my FitBit One on however many belts it ends up on before it’s lost again terminally…

Battery Life & Charging

Battery life on the Fitbit One can be as much as 14 days. The Jawbone Up is rated for 10. Both devices include a USB dongle for charging, and charge in about the same amount of time. Both charged fine when I used my iPhone charger to USB for their dongle.

Syncing

The Fitbit One bluetooth sync’s wirelessly to an iPhone if you want, or to a PC. The fitbit comes with a charging dongle, a bluetooth adapter– which must be used as it won’t work with most or all other bluetooth adapters already built in to a PC. Plan to use up one or two USB slots for the Fitbit One. It’s not a constant sync– you have to initiate the sync if you want it to sync “now”.

The Jawbone Up syncs by removing the cap and plugging in to the headphone jack of the iPhone. At first this felt like it may be a step back from the Fitbit One, but ultimately it’s simpler and I waste less battery having bluetooth activated on the phone all the time. It’s simple, works reliably, and you can sync to multiple devices if you want.

Wearing

The FitBit One is quite small and the rubber belt clip is smooth and small. Many users simply drop the device in the pocket, but I’m not one to let that happen and risk loss– ironic because I lost it via the belt clip. I also have some belts that it would’t clip on, so I found myself doing creative things like clipping it inside my change pocket.

The Jawbone Up is basically a bracelet– and a stylish looking one at that. I found that the fitment guide on the back of the box ran a little large, so I originally bought a medium. After wearing, it felt too tight. I returned it for a large. I have so far been very happy with the large size. I recommend using the print out PDF from the Jawbone site as it clearly marked me as large when the plastic guide on the box made me think medium. They recommend going “up” a size.

From a daytime perspective, the wrist band of the Up hasn’t bothered me at all, and actually I see it and it reminds me to move! I never saw the Fitbit One, and thus thought about it less often and had fewer reminders. More about reminders in functions/software!

I do wear the Jawbone Up in the shower, and have had no issues with that so far. It feels sturdy without feeling stiff. You can manipulate it by squeezing to fit tighter, looser, reverse which side meets which, etc. It isn’t a “bendy straw” style where it holds shape. It always holds the wrist shape. The rubber on rubber is what lets it grip more or less. It doesn’t feel heavy or annoying.

Software

Aside from the functionality of wrist vs belt clip, the software is really what differentiates the Jawbone Up from the Fitbit One for me. The Jawbone Up software is infinitely more useful, visually appealing and informative for me than the Fitbit One software. The Jawbone software tracks your performance over time and so does the Fitbit One– but the Jawbone analyzes your data and makes observations– “Hey you had 2x your normal amount of deep sleep last night– did you do something different?” and other observations like that. You can also compare your sleeping data to your day’s activities. The ability to view, review, and drill down/compare your data is easier/simpler/more automated and more enjoyable on the Jawbone Up than on the Fitbit One.

Fitbit supports some more social features– like sharing to Facebook. Both support having friends in the system who also have the device that you can view/cheer on, etc.

As far as food logging goes, I’m not a huge user of this feature yet. What I do know is that the Jawbone Up supports scanning barcodes on food to capture what it is and content. The interface to browse and add food is far more visually appealing in the Jawbone Up than in the FitBit software.

About sleep monitoring: I don’t know if it’s accuracy or philosophy, but from a span perspective both units were accurate. I actively tell them when I am about to drift off and when I’m done sleeping. From there, the data varies. The Fitbit One would say that I woke up some 20 – 40 times per night! Maybe each time I roll over it thinks that qualifies as awake, I don’t know. The Jawbone Up rates that much less, but also gives me info on “deep sleep vs light sleep and awake times” which I find more useful than just knowing how many times I was awake. I’ve found this analysis interesting because some nights I’ll feel like I slept all night, but don’t feel rested in the morning, and the Up will conclude that I didn’t have much deep sleep at that night. That allows me to look back at my day before and contemplate why: too much caffeine too late? Too little exercise? Too much food to late? etc. Helpful data to influence how you live your days.

Both of these devices sync your data to a website. I personally rarely visit either of these, and don’t plan to, thus my lack of review on that regard. In the iPhone age I only go to a PC when it involves a lot of typing, for the most part.

Functions & Added Benefits — most of my conclusions here are about the Jawbone Up.

Fitbit One: It has an altimeter. This is how it guesses how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed. It also counts dual propeller flights I found accidentally on a recent business trip. If your’e a person who is not interested in tracking sleep or want to spend the least, this device could help you start getting an idea of your day & night activities.

Jawbone Up:

-A “power nap” feature that utilizes data from your normal light sleep cycle at night to determine optimum number of minutes for a power nap under 30 minutes. You can initiate a power nap by a series of button presses on the wrist band.

-An inactivity reminder: The wrist band can vibrate you every so many minutes that you’re inactive, and you can configure this in the iPhone app

-A wake up alarm, at a custom time and you can additionally have it wake you at “an optimum time around your alarm” depending on your sleep cycle

Both devices allow you to customize your stride or calibrate the distance walked.

I’m still only in my first week of owning the UP, and I prefer it over the Fitbit One. To me, the Jawbone Up is more of a “holistic life data device” due to the software and the fact that you can wear it all the time. The FitBit fits more in the fitness data device for me, because of the lack of insight the software provides on the phone and the fact that it isn’t as simple and easy to wear all the time. I’m an IT guy who spends too much time in front of computers, a lot of time traveling, and generally not feeling like I am active enough. I wanted these devices to help me improve my awareness of wellness, activity and sleep results. For me, the Jawbone Up was the right answer all along.

You might know that a year ago the Jawbone Up was released and recalled within a month. There were some technical reliability issues and the company took the opportunity and almost an entire year to rework the device, refund all customers and let them keep the potentially failure-likely device. They have some impressive videos at their website about how they re-worked the device.

Both devices are good devices and neither had any critical flaws. n that, I hope this review may have helped you decide which fits your needs most. I plan to respond to any specific questions below so feel free to ask!

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