A review of Up by Jawbone: Know yourself, live better.
When it comes to tracking your daily activities, there are a handful of technology-powered options including the Nike Fuel Band, the FitBit and Up by Jawbone. After much research, Chris and I decided that Up by Jawbone was the best option for us.
Since I’ve been wearing and tweeting about the Up, I’ve gotten a ton of questions and comments (including, “That’s a nice bracelet!”) . I’ll try to answer as much about the product as I can.
Up is described as a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. The wristband tracks your movement and sleep. The app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that “keep you moving forward”.
I purchased my Up from the Apple Store for $129.95. The system (wristband, app and YOU) is compatible with a ton of devices including Android, iPhone, iPad, etc.
Here are some of my favourite features of the Up:
- Sleep and nap tracking.
- Workout/activity tracking.
- Food and drink tracking.
- Mood tracking.
- Idle alert.
- Smart alarm.
- 10-day battery life.
- Water resistant.
- Simple sync.
So how does it work? The wristband contains a motion sensor/algorithms to track your steps, distance, calories, active time and idle time. It calculates calories burned based on age, gender, height and weight along with activity intensity and duration. Up uses “actigraphy” to track sleep. It can sense micro movements to determine whether you are awake, in light sleep or in deep sleep.
The band does NOT track heart rate. The motion sensor tracks movement intensity and exertion level throughout the day and does not read or rely on heart rate.
Tracking what you eat:
You can really add as much details as you want when it comes to what you eat. You can use a photo, or scan a barcode. You can also simply choose a photo from a gallery of food items or search a database. For me, I create a lot of my own items since I make a lot of my own food (i.e.: smoothies, salads, etc). This is more time consuming as you have to input the ingredients and amounts in manually. The foods you log are then converted into daily percentages based on USDA recommendations.
Tracking your workouts:
Workouts are logged by entering the activity type, effort level, start time and duration. This information is then used with your personal data to estimate amount of calories burned and add it to your daily total.
Using the app, you can set up to four alarms. The UP will then analyze your sleep cycle to wake you with a gentle vibration at the most ideal time within a 10, 20 or 30-minute window. (Personally, I don’t use this feature. I’m a shift-working nurse and there is no way I am giving up 10 minutes of sleep!)
How it syncs:
At one end of the band is a lid-type thingy that pulls off to reveal a prong just like what you see at the end of your headphones. This plugs into the top of your phone (or tablet) to sync your data.
Using the trends option, you can compare variables. For example, the time you were active during the day, compared to the amount of deep sleep you got. Or, calories consumed compared with total sleep. You can even get into the nitty gritty by comparing things like protein, carbs, fat and fibre to any other variable.
Make it social:
You can share your data on Facebook and Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing. You can also create a team of friends/family so you can share your progress and cheer each other on. Like a Facebook feed, your home screen shows you what your fellow teammates are up to. Now, Chris always knows how active I am at work and I know how much junk he is eating while I’m away.
I wear my band 24-7 (unless it totally ruins my outfit) and I have to say, I get out of it what I put in. It really does take some commitment to constantly log what I am eating, my workouts, my naps, etc. With that being said, the more data you put in, the richer the insights you get out. For instance, say you had a lot of energy on Monday and had an awesome workout. If you are diligent with inputting your data, you can look back on that day to see how much sleep you got and what you ate to hopefully draw some insights about why you had so much energy. Similarly, if you had a really great sleep on Tuesday night, you can look back to see what you ate (or didn’t eat) or how much activity you logged that may have contributed to your awesome sleep.
Although I don’t use the smart alarms, I think it is a great feature - especially if you are sharing a bed with a partner who doesn’t have to get up at the same time as you. The vibrating band will wake you up so you don’t disturb your partner with a super annoying audio alarm. The vibrating alarm is also a great feature for anyone who is hard of hearing.
Up has definitely has motivated my in my more idle days. For instance, I have my idle alert set to 45 minutes. If I don’t move within 45 minutes, my band vibrates to remind me to get my arse in gear. If I sync my band at 5PM and see I have only reached 70% of my steps for the day, it will encourage me to log some more activity before bed instead of sitting on the couch watching Teen Mom.
So what’s the point? The better you know yourself, the better you can live. If you see that the days you have a cookie before bed results in a crappy sleep, then you might reconsider your pre-bed eating habits. If you see that Sunday is consistently the day you log the fewest step, maybe you can make a point to schedule a workout with a friend that day. If you see that the days you include a workout in the morning leads to a great mood in the afternoon, perhaps you should make that a habit!
It takes some work but it was definitely a smart purchase!
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