In September, we exclusively leaked the details for the new Jawbone Up fitness band. Fast forward to November, Jawbone, a company used to making Bluetooth headsets, announced the Jawbone Up, a stylish fitness band that tracks your steps, distance traveled, pace and calories burned throughout the day. The band can also track sleeping patterns and energy obtained from food. The Jawbone Up integrates with an iOS app, where users can sync all of their data for detailed reports.

The Jawbone Up is available for $99 on Jawbone’s website and also at Best Buy, Apple, and other retailers. Is the Jawbone Up worth the $99 price tag?  What’s with the recent bricking reports? Read on for our full review:

Hardware

The Jawbone Up currently ships in black, but more colors are on their way. Jawbone focused on giving the band a stylized look to it, and ships in three sizes: small, medium, and large. If you buy the band at a local retailer there is a sizing guide on the box, but if you buy it online Jawbone makes available a print-out sizing chart that is pretty accurate. The Up has a rubberized coating — for those of you familiar with other Jawbone products you’ll know what I’m referring to — and a spring-like band that snaps around your wrist. The Up can withstand sweat and up-to 1M of water, so wearing it in the shower isn’t a problem.

I’ve found the rubber to be somewhat uncomfortable on my arm, but after wearing it for long periods I began to forget about it. To me, something that you wear all the time should feel great, but the rubber that the Jawbone Up is made with just doesn’t feel good on my skin for some reason. When it comes to the style of the Jawbone Up it comes down to personal preference, and for me I just don’t think it looks that great. People were often asking me what the band is, because they obviously knew it wasn’t just another bracelet. For me personally, I don’t like that added attention for a band, dare I say bracelet, that is focused on my daily fitness. There was also the hassle of actually telling people what the Jawbone Up does. Then again, the style is all up to personal preference.

Underneath the rubber, the Jawbone Up packs a MotionX sensor, vibration motor, and 10 hour rechargeable battery. The MotionX sensor is the big feature here seeing as it tracks your steps and sleeping patterns. I put the sensor under a few tests and found that it was really accurate with sleeping patterns, and was off by a little, but not much, when it came to tracking steps. A really great selling point on the band is the vibration motor, which will remind you to get up and perform activities and wake you up at your lightest sleeping point called Smart Alarm — a feature that I really enjoy. There is also a button on the band to switch between sleep, normal activity, and working out.

When it comes to battery life on my Up it seems to do fairly well, spanning out for a couple of days. Jawbone promises 10 days of battery life, and I’ve gotten pretty close to that. Luckily the band charges in about 5 hours when hooked up through its adapter into a Mac. While I was a lucky one, numerous users have reported their Jawbone Ups being bricked completely or running out of battery in under 24 hours. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration before purchasing.

For $99, Jawbone has made a pretty decent set of hardware. Personally, I would have chosen a different design and made the rubber a little more comfortable, but overall it does what it needs to pretty well. The built-in 3.5mm headphone jack is a pretty nice bonus for on-the-go syncing, and the vibration motor is even better. Seriously, the Smart Alarm on the Up is my favorite feature.

Software

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While the band does all of the tracking for you, you’ll need to download Jawbone’s free app to sync to. The Jawbone Up app provides daily reports on sleeping patterns, how much you’ve walked, and how much energy you’ve obtained from food. The application also has a social aspect to it, letting you compete against friends to set challenges and to see who is the healthiest.

The app is broken up into three main categories and displays a number and percent for each. Upon registering your Up for the first time you can set daily goals to reach, for instance 8 hours of sleep or 7,000 steps. Each category will tell you how close you were to reaching that goal for the day. In the app there is also a detailed view of your day, showing how many calories you’ve burned, if you got enough sleep, and if the amount of food you’ve taken in provides enough energy for you. This feature of the app is nicely laid out, and is very detailed.

The next part to the software is the ability to create a photo journal of your meals so you can track the energy obtained from them. I don’t use this feature personally, because I don’t like the idea of constantly taking pictures of what I eat, but it does make sense. The act of taking the picture makes you more concise about what you’re actually eating and what impact it plays on your health. A few hours later you’ll get a prompt asking how you feel after your meal.

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For working out, the app offers ‘Workout with Band’ and ‘Workout with GPS’ features that will track miles ran, steps, pace, etc., and will also play music back to you. Think Nike+ GPS, but with the band tracking more detailed. While not working out, throughout the day the Up can remind you in timed intervals through the vibration motor to get up and move around. This is a feature I really enjoy.

When syncing the band I have run into a little issue a couple of times causing me to have to close out of the app to get the band to sync. This only happens on occasion, but gets pretty annoying when it does. Besides that one issue, the software seems to work really well. It offers very detailed statistics throughout the day, and offers a rewarding feeling when you see your progress laid out in front of you. It uses height and weight to determine the figures like calories burned, so you know it’s pretty close to accurate. There’s also more possibilities to add in future updates, like how much water you’ve consumed throughout the day.

Wrap-up

At a $99 price tag, the Jawbone Up is pretty featured pack. For those looking to move to a healthier lifestyle I would recommend this. There are a few flaws — especially for a few users — which will leave some to consider waiting for version 2.0 of this product, which is understandable. For the average user this product is very easy to use, and in my testing has been relatively accurate throughout the day. The only changes I’d like to be made would be the style and feel, but the technology inside is definitely compelling.

If you’re looking for a little help with your move to a healthier lifestyle, the Jawbone Up is for you. The Jawbone Up is available at Amazon for $189, and at Best Buy, Apple, and more for only $99. Already a Jawbone Up user? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Pros:
  • Ease of use
  • Relative accurateness
  • Free and detailed application
  • Price point
Cons:
  • Look and feel
  • Battery and bricking issues for some

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