So I have now spent around 2 weeks with the Jawbone UP and I can say that it is really a very interesting and informative device. It allows the user to find out things about themselves in an almost sci-fi way, the way people in the ’90s would have called the future.
The good: The Jawbone UP is small, looks like a piece of Jewellery and is perfectly paired with a very useful and intuitive app for both iOS and Android.
The bad: No wireless syncing and would have liked to see it able to charge via the headphone jack or have another way to charge with a more universal connector.
The bottom line: The Jawbone UP is a really amazing device, really small and really capable. It isn’t the cheapest but really does what it says on the tin. A strong competitor to the Nike+ Fuelband and the Fitbit Flex however the lack of wireless syncing and way of telling how well you are doing without plugging in is sometimes frustrating.
The biggest fault I had with the device was the way that sleep was not automatically logged. To enter sleep mode, users press and hold on the button on the side of the device, however if you forget to do this (which in fact I did last night), nothing is recorded at all, and its not very nice to get an idle alert after you’ve just drifted off (however the alert can be set to only certain times which I should have done). The device then does not log the whole sleep and you are given nothing. You can manually enter sleep, but who remembers when they drifted off and woke up? And you can’t even add in how you slept (which is also tracked by an app on my iPhone, not supported by Jawbone). I compared the stats from the app I have and the UP and they both seemed to get similar if not exact replicas of each other, meaning that they must be doing something right and must it be making it all up!
To sync, users plug in the device using the 3.5mm headphone jack located on one of the ends of the device. This has both upsides and downsides. The downside is that the device does need to be taken off and put back on quite often (2 times a day Jawbone recommends). The upside however is that you do not have to keep turning Bluetooth off and on to conserve battery life which is a lengthy process on iOS (until fixed by control centre in iOS 7). The other upside is that the UP can be plugged into many devices, all synced to one account. This is especially useful as it means that you do not have to go and search for your phone each time you want to update your stats. I found it useful to just be able to plug it into the iPad when sat on the couch. The other upside is probably in the hardware of the product. I am guessing that the device would have been much larger and have significantly less battery life than it does now.
Taking about battery life, the UP is excellent in that field. I kept getting a quota of about 10 days which is said on the device. Also, the device will remind you by vibrating and push notifications both in the UP App and on the home screen of my iPhone and iPad really helped. The only problem was when I overestimated this and accidentally left my charger at my dad’s house which meant two days without the UP, which brings me onto my next point. The UP can only be charged through the charger, no other way. This is really annoying as I would have thought that there wold have been another way however there isn’t. I know that hardware wise, the 3.5mm headphone jack cannot output a great enough current to charge the device but it would have been nice if there was another way, however I am nitpicking.
The design of the device is outstanding. Many companies will scrimp on this side but you have to have a device that looks nice otherwise you won't wear it. The UP caught many people's eyes (in a good way), and was discreet enough to tuck away if not needed. I also found that the band worked perfectly in the pocket as well, so this could be a solution if you have bought an outrageous colour. Many people complain about the fact that the UP had a very looseable cap. I disagree really. The only time you take off the cap is syncing and charging. The UP takes seconds to sync so I'm sure that you can old onto it for a while. The charging is the only time when this can be a problem. Yes, I would have been nice if the charger had a place to put the cap but I'm sure you have places where you can put the cap… You really can't find a place where the cap can live for an hour at the most?
Durability was not an issue. Neither the taps or the shower proved hurdles, with the UP sailing past each problem. I have not tested it in a swimming pool as Jawbone does not recommend it and I don't think this would really be wise. It is £99 after all… I would if someone would provide me with a band *wink wink*, but not at this current moment in time. I only dropped the band once from a height of about a metre when putting it on charge and it didn't even seem fussed. Of course, its rare that you will drop the device as it does live on your wrist but hey-ho, some people will find a way. Having said that, the UP did slip off my wrist once or twice when sleeping but I think this is just that I am quite restless as a sleeper…
Stopwatch mode was very useful when tracking runs and exercise, even telling you how much you moved in that time. Power nap has yet to be tested by me (I will update when I do!). The tracking of food is good and the scanning of barcodes has been excellent, I haven't found one which it won't scan… Yet. But the adding of 'Teammates' is really useful to compare your stats with other people and the sharing of food is really quite interesting. The feed lets you scroll through what you and other teammates have done and the little emotion icon is really quite fun and is a nice addition.
What I would like in the future would be:
-iPad app, not a scaled up iPhone one.
-Syncing with Mac/PC (if possible)
-Auto sleep detection
-Keep the no Bluetooth…
-Price to be lower… Please?
Anyway, all in all, the Jawbone UP is an excellent device and will not be one that sits on a shelf after the 'gimmicky' period is over. It really is intuitive and its always nice to tell someone that there's a fully blown computer on your wrist, tracking your movement.
Buy? Yes, but try and get a good deal on one if you can!
Jawbone UP is available from their online store or on the Apple online store