Yeah, I guess I'm Up for it.
341 days after announcing they were pulling the Up from store shelves and offering a complete refund to anyone who wanted one (even if they opted to keep their band) under their "No Questions Asked Guarantee" Jawbone announced they up for giving it another try. If they're up for it, I guess I'm up for giving it another try as well. According to Yves Behar, chief creative officer at Jawbone, this new Up is "extraordinarily different, it's really the first generation of what is going to be a part of everybody's life in a few years" – this sounds like Jawbone has some big ambitions time around.
This Up isn't the first generation of the product and by all appearances it isn't extraordinarily different from it's predecessor but Jawbone is working hard to break from the past year of dead wristbands and whiny forum contributors.
"I'm sorry we won't get to chat"
I'm not really sure anymore how many broken Up bands I went through in the past year–some I had to send back to Jawbone, some I didn't–I think I tossed one when cleaning out a desk drawer a few months ago. The pile in the picture has 12 dead bands in addition to the one that didn't break but was instead rendered an expensive napkin ring through its incompatibility with my iPhone 5. I'm probably going to remember the hassle associated with all these broken bands whenever I hear the word "up" but then again I learned Jawbone has some of the nicest, most patient and understanding customer service agents around (Alyssa, I hope you finally get that burgundy Up you've been wanting and I'm sorry we won't get to chat anymore).
Now is the time to give this new Up a fair shake. Walking up to my front door tonight I was a little disappointed that only one gigantic box was leaning there. For a few seconds I was bummed that FedEx hadn't delivered my new Up and had instead brought something as mundane as a book or some new water filters. I was wrong. It was from Jawbone, they'd just up'd their game in finding the most gigantic box available to ship this tiny little Up.
The new packaging is quite nice. It looks like a lot of effort went into designing the inserts making it much easier to open the box with a new pull-tab to pry the plastic top of the box, something that used to be a nail breaking chore with the old design. The new Up is the exact same shape as the old Up even down to the dimpled texture on the side of the button. There are only two outward differences that distinguish the two versions: the branding on the inside has gone from 9pt to 11pt writing and the entire band is more shiny. This new texture is difficult to discern in the pictures but it makes a noticeable difference from the second you put this new band on your wrist. Whereas the old bands felt sort of dry and would sometimes pinch skin as it moved around, this new band feels smoother, almost like it's been moisturizing.
There's another hardware difference that isn't immediately visible but try prying the cap of the 3.5mm plug. Those caps that were constantly falling off the old bands are probably not going anywhere anytime soon, at least not on their own.
The claim for the original Up was that it was waterproof to 3m. Jawbone says the redesigned Up is capable of withstanding showers, rain and life in general so long as life in general doesn't include swimming or submerging it completely in some other way so hopefully between the new medical-grade plastic exterior, the added internal layers of protection and the warning to keep it away from the pool this new Up will hold up better.
For as skeptical as I was about ever seeing a new Up as recently as this Tuesday morning, I've been pleasantly surprised by what I'm seeing so far. The band feels better, I'm not worried about the cap falling off, I trust Jawbone has learned its lesson and made the thing at least a bit more water resistant and it finally takes less time to sync with the Up App than it takes to write forum post about the Up. Jawbone has finally put some effort into the companion App to the band, v1.0 was a lackluster effort that looked like it'd been pasted together out of disparate ideas at the eleventh hour.
If you've been holding out for the new Up and are disappointed about the lack of bluetooth then now would be the time to move along to something like the Nike+ FuelBand or the FitBit Ultra. Those who feel the $129 price tag a bit too steep (up from $99 for the original Up), I would say wait a while and if this Up proves to work as advertised then it's probably worth giving up that Benjamin, Jefferson, Lincoln and grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you are okay with the price and the lack of wireless syncing then pick your favorite color and give it a go.
For those keeping track, I snuck "up" in
36 37 times (that last one counts).