Road Testing the Jawbone UP

As I type this my slim black band is sitting on my wrist. It’s pretty much been here for three weeks now. In the shower. As I walk around Boston. While I sleep. I haven’t given it a nickname yet, but maybe I should. Oh wait … it just buzzed to remind me I’ve been sitting for longer than 15 minutes.

I’ve tested out a whole bunch of these devices over the years. The BodyBugg, the FitBit, the Gruve, etc. I have to say I like this one the best, which surprised me. My former favorite was the BodyBugg.

The Jawbone band is comfortable and innocuous and was provided to me for a test drive by Verizon Wireless(thanks guys). People don’t comment on the Jawbone when they see it, unlike the BodyBugg where I got asked more than once if I had a heart condition and it was a monitoring device (that was a touch embarrassing).

But … you don’t get a lot of information and feedback the way you do with a bigger device. After all, the more room you’ve got, the more stuff to cram in there to track your every move and it does make a difference.

The Jawbone UP tracks steps and sleep patterns and that’s it. It also buzzes. This can be set to remind you to move when you’re sitting for too long (I set it at 15 minutes, but you can pick different lengths) and it works as a wake up alarm, buzzing when you’re no longer in REM sleep allowing for a more gentle wake up (a nice touch.)

The other new feature (for me anyway) is the team approach. You can connect with Facebook friends and create a “Jawbone team” where you can follow their moves and they can follow yours. It’s all opt-in so a random stranger can’t see your data.

One of my friends is a runner and I’m always trying to keep up with her mileage. It definitely motivates me to get my steps in. (At the moment I’m not running, dealing with a little foot issue, so I’m in my hiking boots cruising around Boston and environs.) More than once, I have been close to my daily 10,000 steps goal and stood in my bathroom marching to get them in.

With your team, you can comment and leave smiley faces for them, which is fun. I’m trying to talk my husband into getting one so we can be on the same team together.

Drawbacks for Jawbone UP

The drawbacks are that you don’t get a ton of information. For me, this is actually a positive because I was getting a little obsessive with the info, charts, and graphs galore my BodyBugg would provide. I have better things to do with my life than worry about every minute detail of my day.

The other drawback is that the UP really only counts steps. It does synch with My Fitness Pal and some other apps so you can connect and import workouts from other devices, but I was doing a pretty strenuous Pilates workout and my band buzzed at me that I was being sedentary (hmmph). It’s also buzzed at me on the subway when I was standing and it thought I was sitting on my butt (humph again).

Finally the UP is an Apple device mainly with only a few Android devices able to use it. So if you’re not an Apple person you might be out of luck entirely.

I like the Jawbone and will continue to use it. The UP gives me a gentle nudge to keep moving throughout the day without being obvious to the world that I’m wearing a tracking device. Thanks again to Verizon Wireless for providing me with a sample to road test.

Do you have an UP? Feel free to send me a team member request. Also let me know what you think the pros and cons are.