Wearable Review: Jawbone UP2 Fitness Tracker

I had been drooling over the UP3 for a while–somewhere around since the summer or spring of 2014. No matter how much I cyber-stalked their website, as if clicking on the page or pressing the “customize” button would magically make it say order now instead of preorder, all my hopes were gradually dimmed when nothing happened. Turned out, this was because Jawbone was having issues making the device water resistant up to 10 meters (which they never accomplished). Then suddenly, without so much of a whisper of a hint beforehand, Jawbone released the UP2.

Overall Assessment

I had the UP2 for about 4 months (yes, I’ve already replaced it with the UP Move).

For the tier this tracker falls into, the UP2 is a great device. As someone who was already familiar with Jawbone’s UP app, I knew I enjoyed using many of its features. But like every aspect of wearable fitness trackers (and many wearable techs in general), there is no one device out there yet which is perfect. Yet.

I’ve come to think of trackers much like cell phones–you need to buy the best for your specific needs, but not necessarily the most expensive.

And like most tech out there, all these companies will come out with another device, another generation, and I promise you those will be better. Wearables are still in their growing years, from my super classy unprofessional opinion, and although they are getting much they still have a lot of improvements that I foresee happening in the near future.

The Fit

Fit with the UP2 is amazing. It’s the smallest of their bands yet, and I’d wager probably the smallest in the market. The clasp on the bottom might be an issue for some people, since not everyone is built the same, and everyone has different preferences. I’ve read some reviews of people not liking it. I haven’t had much of a problem with the clasp, although I was nervous initially. It’s really tight, and you don’t have to really worry about it un-clasping. I did once (and only once) get it caught in a blanket, but you’d have to really get something stuck exactly the right way.

As I said, I do have tiny wrists. I do have to adjust the band’s clasp almost completely up to the top. I would have preferred the little metal clip was on the bottom, too, but given my wrist size it would be impossible.

The Design

As I kind of already mentioned, the design aspect of this device is beautiful! It’s such a nice design, and that is exactly what Jawbone was going for. In a market full of devices that are centered more on function than they are on appearance, Jawbone truly makes the UP2 a wearable you actually don’t mind wearing. What’s more, it’s something you can wear all day long, with many pieces from your wardrobe–making the UP2 live up to the idea of having a fit and healthy lifestyle 24/7.

One negative to this design is that the nickle color of the metal attachments can scratch off. I already accidentally did so with mine. Although this isn’t a huge deal as they are really tiny, since appearance is one of the focus of the band it did bother me.

Device Function

The device has limited controls and abilities. The only controls directly on the device is to initiate the sleep mode. You have active mode, sleep mode, and a notification for alerts.

App Functions

This is where most of UP’s power lies. Jawbone’s UP system will track sleep, food, steps, and some timed activity (depending on the type of exercise). It also has silent alarms, and can try to wake you up during a “light sleep” period in the morning.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/77JFjqSVHIs?feature=player_embedded

Smart Coach

One of my favorite aspect of the UP system is the Smart Coach.

Jawbone defines their Smart Coach as “an intelligent guide that delivers personalized tips and well-timed reminders to help you make better choices.” It delivers well on this promise. Throughout my day, the Smart Coach will provide little tid-bits of info or encouragement to keep me aware of how well I am doing.

Step Tracking

So, I never really considered the step tracking too much until I went from my Charge HR to the UP2. Moving from the UP24 to Fitbit didn’t seem to vary my steps noticeably, but on the other hand I didn’t have as good of an idea of what my steps were at at any given hour of the day until I had the Charge. Since Charge actually displays live numbers on its device, I gradually learned what my average steps were for most part of my weekdays.

When I moved to the UP2, I no longer had that easy access. Immediately, I would say it seemed like there was a difference between what Jawbone calculated my steps were, and what Fitbit did. However, to be fair the visual display of my daily stats did encourage me to get additional steps quite a lot.

Even now as I write up this review, although I have improved my step average with the UP2, it still seems Jawbone and Fitbit track differently. Who is accurate, and who is not? Or is it simply in my head? These are things I plan on seeing if I can address for some future post soon.

Regardless, I do not use these fitness trackers to be pin-point accurate, and, indeed, I believe one shouldn’t. It would take extensive research to find out exactly how accurate they are, and even with very excellent accuracy every device would still have some margin of error.

The point of these devices isn’t to obsess over the exact numbers, but to encourage a healthy over-all day for your entire life. 

To that end, the UP2 does a good job. To help encourage activity you can set a notification step amount (every given amount of steps), have an idle alert (mine is set every 30 min), set a step goal (mine is currently 9,000 as of this article), and accept “Today I Will” goals based off of your recent activity.

The UP system isn’t without its glitches. Many people have complained of incorrect data here and there in my friend feed (shout out to my virtual fitness buds). At times, it gives Today I Will goals that make no sense (2,000 Step Goal is totally hard if you average 14,000 steps, right??), and a lot of the little cute encouragements are just that–cute little phrases it uses often that really do nothing fitness wise. They are just meant to be encouraging.

But what can I say? I’m corny like that. I love the little encouraging things, not just because it brightens me up, and makes me contemplate what I can print to the far printer next at work, but also because I love seeing these type of cause-and-effect triggers from technology. UP and I are having a conversation, and it’s quite enjoyable.

Who might like a Jawbone UP2 (or other Jawbone trackables)

Who might not be as crazy for the UP system is very hardcore fitness individuals. I will repeat the same thing for almost every lower tier daily fitness wearable. These are supposed to track everyday health and lifestyle. They are not meant for grueling exercise. There are a few exceptions to this, perhaps, in those trackers who have optional heart rate chest strap (making them more viable for tracking a real workout). Yet, it is my opinion the UP2, like many of the competing trackers in its range, are for those seeking a more average, overall fitness and wellness.

Do you have an UP2? What are your opinions on this device? Love or hate it?

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