The market is flooded with bands that act as pedometers, exercise and heart-rate trackers, calorie counters and the whole bit. Frankly, I find these wearable bands boring, annoying, dated and, oftentimes, overpriced -- with one exception: Jawbone’s new wristband.
PRODUCT: UP by Jawbone, $129, jawbone.com/up, available at Apple Stores
WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO DO: Jawbone’s UP allows you to track and analyze an array of personal data, such as sleep, steps, workouts, caloric intake (by scanning or manually entering barcodes of food products) and even mood via your choice of emoticon any time of day you feel like recording.
Other notable features include a silent alarm that vibrates to wake you up; the ability to add teammates -- i.e., friends and family -- and see their stats; and insights in response to trends spotted in your own data.
Take sleep, for example. After wearing the band all night, an insight notification could look like this:
Was It Good For You? Your body naturally cycles through light and deep sleep. Last night 52% of your sleep was deep, putting you in the top 36% of UP users. How do you feel? Log your mood.
DOES IT WORK? Yes. I have always been a fan of Jawbone’s UP, and now it’s back and better than ever. (Note: UP was on the market last year but was pulled in response to reported band failures related to water getting inside the band’s circuitry.)
The difference between UP and the competition? Pretty much everything. First off, UP has more than 2.9 million hours of testing, 100-plus patents and 220 design plans. It is quite clear that they didn’t mail it in and there is a lot packed inside.
Here’s what stands out:
• The appearance. You should like the way your band looks, because, typically, you have to wear these types of gadgets 24 hours a day to get the full benefits. I’ve worn bands in the past that have been such an eyesore, someone once asked me if I had a medical condition. Not so with UP. The band is subtle but cool-looking and comes in a multitude of colors.
• The functionality. It’s easy to use and simple to pick and choose functions. Don’t care about tracking your food and mood? If you’re like me and just want to track sleep and steps, you can use only what you want. (The sleep tracking is really cool -- it records light sleep, deep sleep, time it took to fall asleep, how many times you woke up and how long you were awake).
At the end of the day, simply pop off the cap on the end of the bracelet and put it in the headphone jack of your Apple device to find out how you’re doing. It takes only about three seconds to sync and showcase your data, and the battery charge lasts for days.
I usually lose interest in these devices within a couple of days, but not with UP. I’ve been using the band for a week and still love plugging it in daily to see my results.
PRODUCT 2.0: There are a couple of very small things I’d love to see updated with UP. First, the vibrating silent alarm is a little aggressive, and at this rate, I’d rather wake up to Marimba. I vote for a more gradual alarm.
Also, I’d like to see more color and design options. Currently, there are eight colors to choose from, but if I’m going to be wearing this band every day, I want to be able to mix and match and have a lot more variety.
I’d like to see UP go the way of Jawbone’s Jambox The Remix speaker, which has hundreds of custom color combinations and designs from which to choose.
For a closer look at UP, check out the Jawbone video below: