Update: 12/8/11 at bottom of this post – I have to say; when I looked at doing a Jawbone UP review I expected something pretty common.
We have all seen a seemingly endless supply of new tech gadgets that are meant to work with your phone in an effort to make day-to-day living more exciting (or at least more efficient). Most of these items end up on eBay or in the back of a drawer somewhere.
The Jawbone Up could have easily fit into this category – especially in the hands of a techno geek. Anyway, here is what I found with the Jawbone UP.
Ok, maybe not the most exciting thing to start with, but what good is a wrist worn tech gadget if it is not at least comfortable? The Jawbone UP is meant to be worn all day and all night. It is water resistant to 1 meter – so that means showers and swimming laps is just fine.
If you check the retail packaging, you will find a size cart on the back. It looked like a medium might work but after trying one on, I clearly needed to go with the Large. At this time Jawbone does not offer an XL. I suspect given the amount of complaints they will offer one soon.
The band is comfortable to wear. Although the “plastic” texture might take a bit of getting use to – if you can handle a watch, you can handle the Jawbone UP just fine.
One thing to realize is that the wristband does not actually “talk” to your mobile device. At least not wirelessly (which is a surprise coming from one of the top Bluetooth headset players). The Jawbone Up runs a fine line between on board tech and syncing with the phone.
Any syncing with the phone is done by the headphone jack. This initially seems like it might be a pain, but in the end, you realize that you don’t really need to sync the info that often. I do hope Jawbone is able to create a Bluetooth sync function on a future version. If the Bluetooth is only active during the sync process the battery drain would be minimum.
I have an iPhone, so that is what I use for the App portion.
The Jawbone UP App is where some functions exist – exclusively. For example, the feature that allows you to take a snapshot of your meal and have UP check with later to see how you feel is all within the App.
You can also use the App for your run or walk by utilizing the GPS function – no band needed. [Although at this point the GPS has yet to find my location]
The battery on the wristband reportedly lasts for 10 days (I am seeing more like 7-9). It will not charge when syncing with the phone so to charge you use the headset plug – USB adapter (provided).
Features – The Quick List
So, how does the Jawbone Up fit into your fitness goals?
The wristband will track your movement throughout the day via “Steps.” You can set goals for your self to move more each day or check out Jawbone’s community of people creating challenges for one another.
Frankly, I think a whole lot of movement gets confused as “steps.” Flop around enough or drink a beer and I am pretty sure you are going to get credit for a couple hundred steps. So, if you are like me, you will find yourself bumping up your overall activity challenge to compensate. [Update…full “lab” test coming to prove this theory].
Another cool feature is the ability for the wristband to “remind” you to move. You can set the vibration alarm to alert you when you have sedentary for a specific period of time.
I set mine for 45 minutes. At that point a gentle vibration tells me, “get your butt off the chair for a few minutes” (at least that is what I think it is saying). You can also set it to only do these reminders during a specific time every day (say 9-5).
Although Jawbone is very silent when it comes to describing the whole “sleep cycle” process, it is pretty cool. Basically the Jawbone Up monitors your movements. Reporting awake vs deep sleep vs light sleep.
You can even set an alarm and the wristband will wake you up within 30 minutes of your desired time (reportedly when it knows the best part of your cycle for you to wake). I will have to report back on this part – so far I have awakened before the wristband.
The Final Word
So, is the Jawbone Up worth it?
Well, it comes in several colors (I picked black to go with my tux or match my shoes).
If you are looking for a great device to help you monitor several different areas (food intake, movement, sleep patterns) it is probably worth it. I suspect this is the future of companion devices for smart phones. If you already use the variety of Apps out there for these features, you might want to hold out for the next version.
At $99 it does not break the bank. The challenges are fun and I will take any excuse (even from a wristband) that it is time to get up and walk away from the computer for a bit.
Now, if it could just help you make more money.
Update: 12/8/11 – At this point Jawbone is having some problems with some UP units. So much so, they have offered an unprecedented refund – and keep the band. Here is the open letter from Jawbone…
To the UP Community:
Earlier this year, we unveiled Jawbone’s vision to help people live a healthier life with UP. We’ve been thrilled by the passionate response to this product. We heard from tens of thousands of you through emails, tweets, blog posts and on our forums about how you’re changing your lifestyle and becoming consumers of your own health. In just four weeks, UP users have collectively taken over three billion steps, gotten more than 300 years of sleep and captured hundreds of thousands of meals.
While many of you continue to enjoy the UP experience, we know that some of you have experienced issues with your UP band. Given our commitment to delivering the highest quality products, this is unacceptable and you have our deepest apologies. We’ve been working around the clock to identify the root causes and we’d like to thank everyone who has provided us with information and returned their bands to us for troubleshooting. With your help, we’ve found an issue with two specific capacitors in the power system that affects the ability to hold a charge in some of our bands. We’re also fixing an issue with syncing related to the band hardware. Typically, these issues surface within the first seven to ten days of use. The glitches are purely performance related and do not pose any safety risk.
We’ve also received helpful feedback on the application experience, including bug reports, ways to make signup and finding friends easier, user interface suggestions and new feature requests. Your comments are invaluable as we continue to improve, so please keep them coming and check back frequently for updates to ensure you’re always enjoying the latest features and enhancements.
We recognize that this product has not yet lived up to everyone’s expectations – including our own – so we’re taking action:
The UP No Questions Asked Guarantee
This means that for whatever reason, or no reason at all, you can receive a full refund for UP. This is true even if you decide to keep your UP band. We are so committed to this product that we’re offering you the option of using it for free.
The program starts December 9th and full details can be found at http://www.jawbone.com/uprefund.
For most of you, this program is simply meant to offer peace of mind. Please continue to enjoy your UP band and keep sharing your experience with us. If you encounter any problems with your UP band, contact Jawbone directly for your choice of a replacement and/or refund under this program. It’s that simple.
Jawbone remains deeply committed to addressing all issues with UP, investing in the category and giving our customers the tools to live a healthier life. We’ve temporarily paused production of UP bands and will begin taking new orders once these issues have been sorted out. In the meantime, we’ll continue to release app updates for existing users.
We regret any disappointment we’ve created for our community of users and appreciate the trust you’ve put in us. The fact that you’ve taken the time to talk with us and help us make a better product is simply phenomenal. Our customers have always been part of our team and we’re incredibly grateful for that.
Please know that we’re doing – and will continue to do – everything we can to make things right. This is just the beginning for UP and we are excited to keep improving until we realize the powerful vision of what this category can be.
If there is absolutely anything else we can do for you, please let us know.