The marriage of technology and fitness has been progressing rapidly with the advent of smartphones. As more processing power and capabilities are crammed into hand-sized devices, enterprising companies have been using this platform to capitalize on the peoples’ needs for healthy lifestyles. Most recently, Jawbone, a major player in cell phone accessories, has entered this arena with UP, a wristband that tracks movement and activity for the wearer. (https://jawbone.com/up) Partnered with the iPhone app, this fresh new gadget had me eager to explore its capabilities.
The UP wristband comes in a variety of bright colors and sizes, though for my testing, I opted for a black one in the largest size possible, which fit my wrist comfortably. The exterior of the UP device is mostly rubber and it touted as sweat-proof and water-resistant. The band contains a motion sensor, a vibration motor, a rechargeable battery, and a 3.5mm plug. This plug is how you connect the device with the iPhone to download the activity from your wristband to the free app that Jawbone provides on the App Store. There are two main functions that the band facilitates with the motion sensor, one for waking activity and one for sleeping activity. A quick press of the button on the wristband switches between the two modes.
During the day, the motion sensor tracks the number of steps you take, determining your distance traveled, calories burned, pace, and more. At night, the motion sensors track the number of hours slept, light sleep versus deep sleep, awake time, and evaluates the overall sleep quality. The vibration comes into a play when you set timers and alarms for your activities. During the day, you can have UP alert you when you haven’t moved for a certain amount of time to keep you in your target range of activity. When sleeping, UP can be set to wake you at a certain time. What’s neat here is that the detection of light and deep sleep that UP features can help you to wake when most effective. For example, I set the alarm for UP to wake me at 6:30AM, but if it detects that I’m in a light sleep cycle, it will wake me before I fall into a heavy sleep.
Once UP is synchronized with the iPhone and the app, it displays your activity via attractive graphs that help to illustrate your progress with your daily goals. The app also features a food journaling function that allows you to track your meals and how they affect your energy levels. You use the iPhone’s camera to take a picture of the meal, and afterwards, the app asks how you feel. In my opinion, there’s a lot more that can be added to this aspect of the app, but there are already a lot of calorie-counting apps that take this quite a bit further.
The Jawbone UP is available at a number of retailers, but AT&T stores here were some of the first to carry this revolutionary new device. When I picked mine up from the newly renovated store in Moss Bluff, I also got to check out another Jawbone device, the JAMBOX, a small wireless speaker that can fill a room with sound. Pricing for UP is $99, and JAMBOX retails for $199, and Jawbone is known for their quality products.
Since my initial review of the product, Jawbone has announced a refund program for UP wearers that have had issues with their wristband. I can report that in wearing my Jawbone UP consistently for two weeks straight, I experienced no issues with the device or its functionality. All in all, I like this new type of peripheral and even with the issues some users are reporting, I’m sure the next version of UP will work out these kinks and bring even more useful features.