Jawbone UP - User Review
It was highly talked about and eagerly awaited. Does it live up to it’s potential, is it awesome? Read on.
As many of you must have already seen, the UP is a bracelet-ish wrist band with a sturdy rubber finish. Jawbone claims that the UP is water resistant up to 1m. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack on one end that is used to sync the UP to your iPhone, the other end is a button which controls different modes - sleep, workout, shut-off alarm. Underneath the hard exterior is a 10-day rechargeable battery, a vibration motor for alarms and a precision motion sensor to track your movement during the day and when you sleep at night. The technology is powered by MotionX. MotionX is also used by Nike and in numerous GPS systems.
At first the UP will feel heavy on your wrist, it carries a slight weight. Over the matter of a couple days, I got very used to it, to such an extent that when I removed it, it felt weird. The weight and the design grows on you.
I have used the UP for about 6 days now and my battery is dead. I have been plugging it in 3-4 times a day to update the iPhone app. The battery may calibrate over the next little while but I don’t see it lasting more than a week, tops.
Jawbone claims that you would where the UP 24x7. There is one BIG reason I don’t see that happening, it’s the two ends. The two ends intersect in a criss-cross way, which effectively doubles the thickness of the band on the bottom. Hence, if you are resting your hand on a table while writing or on a keyboard, it is very uncomfortable. I had to remove the UP whenever I was doing any kind of desk work. I fail to understand the need of two ends, if the 3.5mm headphone jack would insert in to the other end making it a complete circle, it would have made a world of a difference.
Jawbone has made a name for themselves by making brilliant Bluetooth products, but still every time I want to update my progress during the day or set an alarm I have to remove the band, remove the headphone jack cover and attach the band to my phone. It’s mind boggling to see why Jawbone couldn’t have integrated bluetooth into the UP. I would take 2 days less battery life and slightly more weight for wireless connectivity. It slowly comes to the point where I have started to sync the bad less and less with every passing day, effectively defeating the purpose of tracking my progress through out the day.
My second plight is with the button that lies on the other end of the UP. The button is used to stop the alarm, press and held to signify going to sleep and pressed and pressed and held to signify beginning of a workout. This button gesture feels iffy, even though it tries to notify you with a slight vibration and a blinking light, it certainly isn’t up to par with todays technology. This is something that should have been controlled by Bluetooth and a simple press of a button on the app.
But, this is a plus side to all this. The fact that you don’t have to carry your iPhone/iPod Touch to the gym and you are still able to use the UP. Still, I can’t help but be underwhelmed.
The food tracking is pretty much a joke and I haven’t able to convince myself to keep up with it.
Even though certain software and hardware issues do cripple the comfort of using the UP, they don’t undermine the advantages the UP tries to stand up for.
These issues are not something that would be solved with mere software updates. I also can’t seem to cut Jawbone some slack even though it is a 1.0 product because to the available alternatives in Nike+ and Lark among others. Jawbone is world class company and I expected a little more maturity in the product from the start. The technologies they use are not new and hence should have been better integrated with the software.
All said and done, I plan to keep my UP and can’t wait for the 2.0 version which, I hope addressees at least some of my concerns. If you already own a Nike+ or Lark, I wouldn’t bother switching, but if you are looking to a multipurpose fitness assistant to give that extra push you need, the UP will suit your needs just fine.