Tuesday, July 9, 2013

UP by Jawbone Review

Disclosure: I was provided the UP by Jawbone to borrow, return, and review by Verizon Wireless.  As always, opinions are all my own.  

A couple months ago I was given the opportunity to test the UP by Jawbone.  I couldn't pass on such a great opportunity so said yes and got to use the UP band for a month.  
So what is the UP band?  Essentially it is a fitness tracking device that you simply wear on your wrist throughout the day.  It tracks your steps, distance, calories, and sleep.
I have already been using a similar fitness device, the Core Armband from Body Media to track my fitness and calories since December.  I really love my Body Media (which I purchased myself) so I was interested in how another product might compare.

Let's start with the things I liked about the UP:
Easy to wear -It is a bracelet that goes on your non dominant wrist.  It can be worn 24/7, even in the shower.

Discreet - Because it looks like a bracelet it isn't super noticeable you are wearing anything out of the ordinary.
Long Battery Life - This band can go 10 days before it needs to be charged again!
Easy to sync - You simply plug the bracelet into the headphone jack of your phone to upload you information.

Records your steps, calories, and sleep - I think knowing all of this information is super interesting and is helpful in figuring out your diet and activity levels for each day.  You simply hold the button on the band when you are going to sleep and then once you wake up.  
Free App for Smartphone with no Monthly Fee -  It makes adding your food and checking your information throughout the day really easy because it's all on your phone.  In order to see the information your Body Media band collects you have become a member of the website and pay a small monthly fee.  The design and interface of the UP app is always colorful, sleek, and easy to use.  
Daily Tips & Feedback - Another good feature in the app is that you get daily tips and feedback.  

Silent Alarm - I loved this feature!  Because the band tracks your sleep it can wake you up at a good time during your sleep cycle.  You set an alarm, choose a 10-30 minute window, and the bracelet vibrates to wake you up.  Being woken up in my lighter sleep by a buzz on my wrist instead of a loud beep during deep sleep is so much nicer. 

There were a few things that could be better though:
Accuracy of information- Since the band is on your wrist I think it probably over estimates the amount of steps throughout the day, because it thought every move I made of my arms throughout the day could be steps.  I continued to wear my Body Media when I wore the UP and the UP said I took way more steps.  I think Body Media was probably more accurate on this front.  
Activity Tracking - This is a con for both the UP and Body Media (although Body Media has better ways around it).  They are pretty much good for just tracking walking and running activities and it is hard to register swimming, biking, or yoga with the bands.  You can enter it in after, but it's not really the same.
Only a Smart Phone App- This is also a con because you can only see your information on your phone.  I love that it is an all inclusive app, but I would love a website to view the information too.

Overall I liked the UP band a lot.  I find this technology fascinating and really helpful in achieving and maintaining my health and fitness goals.  It allows you to set step, calorie, and sleep goals that you try to meet everyday which makes it a challenge and a bit more fun.  At $130 it isn't cheap, but I think it is a good investment that you can get a lot of use out of.  It is a great technology tool, plus it's interesting to see how many steps you take in a day or how well you sleep at night!

An interesting side note is that Body Media was recently acquired by Jawbone.  This was another reason I wanted to see what Jawbone had to offer.  Nothing has really changed with how Body Media works, but it will be interesting to see if and/or how Jawbone's technology could merge with Body Media's.  

What kind of technology devices do you use to track your health and fitness goals - Garmin, FitBit, UP, BodyMedia, MyFitnessPal, etc?