The iPhonaddict Spends Some Time with the Jawbone Up Bracelet

 

Less than 2 weeks ago I purchased the Jawbone Up bracelet from my local AT&T store. It cost $99 and there is a free companion app in the iPhone App Store that is used to sync data directly from the bracelet using the headphone jack. Was it money well spent? Read my quick review below and I will give you my final thoughts at the end. 

So what does the Jawbone Up actually do? Well, it does a few things. First and foremost it is a great pedometer. What makes it so great? Well, for starters, you never take it off. Well not often anyway. With a full charge, you should get at least a good week out of this thing. Secondly, is the fact that it is water resistant. So,I kept this thing on in the shower with no issues. It does a great job breaking down how many steps you take throughout the day. I always wanted to know this information but never invested in the tech to perform such a task. Well, I have that tech now and I am impressed with it's ability to measure my activity along with estimated distance, time exercising (or walking) and approximate calories burnt. There is also a workout mode that keeps track of time spent working out and separates that section of activity in your feed. 

The second thing I think it does quite well is measure your sleep activity. With a quick press and hold of the only button on the bracelet, it goes into sleep mode and monitors your movement and does a decent job of monitoring your sleep habits as well as break down the statistics on your light sleep as compared to your deep sleep. It also allows you to set an alarm that will wake you at any given time within 30 minutes of the time you set that alarm. What's cool is it waits until you come out of deep sleep than wakes you with pulsing vibrations until you wake up and set the bracelet back to activity mode. This is my favorite feature as I don't sleep enough and regualrly try to squeeze the best rest that I can into a 5 hour period. 

Ok. so now onto the not so awesome stuff. The meal tracker is meant to record your energy level in association with the food you ate. Here's how that works: Before you eat, take a photo of your meal and give it a description and the location of where you ate whether that be home, work or a restaurant somewhere. In about a couple hours, you will get a push notificaiton from the UP applicaiton asking you how you feel. Are you energized? Are you stuffed? Are you sleepy? It than takes this information and puts it in your feed where you find your recent sleeping and activity habits. Now this feature is a little lame and in the short time I have owned this bracelet, less and less meals are being reported by my "Team" mates. This function of the app really has nothing to do with the bracelet and is just there for fluff in my opinion. It could have easily been left out and it would have not decreased the value of the device whatsoever. 

 

In the settings you can also do things like set an hourly activity reminder that will vibrate your Up bracelet every hour reminding you to be active. Yeah, I use this...not.

 

I would like to wrap up this review by saying a little something about the social aspects. One big negative is that there is no way to link to any social networks like Twitter or Facebook. People can only be added to your "Team" by manual searching for them via first and last name and then sending them an invite. Once added, you can see how your activity, sleeping and eating statistics match up against theirs based of the goals you and your friends set for yourself. I am looking at these stats less and less and due to the fact that these statistics are not updated in real time but only when the user syncs their bracelets so your team's stats are only as reliable as the last time they synced which could easily be 24 hours ago. If you are up for challenges, you can go to the "Challenge" tab and compete in a user created challenge or make your own. One example would be to challenge youself to sleep 8 hours a day for a week. You get the idea. I have not yet challenged myself and I am not sure I ever will. 

So, now knowing what the Jawbone Up bracelet is all about, would I buy it again? Yes. Because, I love tracking personal data. This is bracelet that is easy on the eyes, easy to manage and easy to use. It does well at tracking the data I find important which are steps and sleep. The rest of the stuff is just a bonus and can be used or not used depending on your needs. The software in the Up app leaves a lot be desired but it's not a bad start and a few minor updates could make this app pretty useful. In particular, I would like to be able to edit activity in case I forgot to set my device into sleep mode like I have a few times already. Going back and editing in some sleep is not possible and to my "Team", it looks like I just don't sleep. I would also like to see more social network functionality and some data export options. I love tech and this device is unique. I will continue to use it and hope that the functionality of the device and software grows along with the Jawbone Up community. 

So is this device for you?

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