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While I have a little bit of reputation when it comes to food, I’m actually also quite an active person with a healthy dose of gadget addiction. The active part (4-6 hours of futsal/badminton per week) is what’s allowing me to eat whatever I want, thank you for asking.

I keep track of my workouts with Endomondo (runs on Android & iPhone, or even just web). While the application tracks outdoor running/cycling very well, it doesn’t do a very good job for in-door activities that I usually partake, I usually ended up manually logging in those workouts.

This is where Jawbone Up comes in, this is my review of it after 2 weeks usage.

Jawbone Up in my wrist
Jawbone Up in my wrist, and charging via supplied adapter

WHAT IS JAWBONE UP?

Jawbone Up is basically an wristband with a concealed battery, vibrator, and g-sensors that serves as a pretty sophisticated pedometer+alarm+sleep meter all rolled in one.

The gadget is made by Jawbone, a company most famous for their higher end bluetooth headsets.

THE HARDWARE:

The finishing of Jawbone Up is a rubber compound that felt pretty comfortable on the wrist, the wristband comes in quite a few colors but apparently at the time of purchase, Machines stores only carry blue & black versions. I chose black just because it’ll match with pretty much all outfit.

One end of the wristband is an operational button, and the other end is removable for when you synchronize with your phone (Android/iPhone), or when you need to charge the internal battery. A separate dongle is supplied for charging purpose.

I had hoped that no dongle is needed, but I supposed without which there’s no way to maintain the elegant & minimally intrusive design. A single charge (an hour or so) keeps the Jawbone running up to 10 days, so you don’t really need to bring the dongle everywhere you go, chances of losing it is thus quite minimal.

I can live with that.

Jawbone Software - overview, trends, and lifeline
Jawbone Software – overview, trends, and lifeline

USAGE & SOFTWARE:

Jawbone Up basically tracks three different facet of your life – MOVE, SLEEP, and EAT.

MOVE:

MOVE is where the pedometer comes in, it tracks how many steps you take and how you measure up to the 10,000 recommended steps per day. I’ve tried this with other form of pedometer but Up makes it a lot more accurate and much easier since it’s on my wrist all the time.

There’s also a “stop watch” function to record length of workouts. For example, I now know that during my 2 x 1 hour futsal session last night, I took 10,268 steps that equals to about 8.3 km and burnt 809 cal (measured based on published MET values). My total for the day was 18,210 steps. Good job KY!

This is a valuable and new information to me, I had no idea how my futsal session translate to distance prior to using Up, GPS based app such as Endomodo would never work indoor nor it is advisable to use the phone while playing contact sports.

There’s also an Idle Alert function that you can set to vibrate the wristband whenever you idle for too long, as reminder to start moving your ass. This is a feature I don’t use though.

SLEEP:

This is my favorite part of Up, and also one that other competition such as Fitbit and Nike+ FuelBand does not provide. There are some phone application that provide similar functionality, but who’d really want to sleep with a phone strapped on their arm?

When you get in bed, press the lone operation button to switch Up to sleep mode (shown by a moon LED), the wristband then tracks how long stay in bed, the length of time it takes for you to finally sleep, and the amount of deep sleep & light sleep.

I take this data and try to improve my sleeping pattern, it also basically let me know if my fatigue is simple due to lack of sleep or something else. Very neat.

To swith back to MOVE mode, simply press and hold the button again when you’re awake. Pretty simple operation really.

logs food, smart alarm/idle alert, sleep summary
logs food, smart alarm/idle alert, sleep summary

EAT:

While MOVE function tracks your calorie output, those who want to track calorie intake can do so by utilizing the EAT module. Here you can enter information on the food you have throughout the day. The application comes with a list of dishes and you can even scan the barcode of certain food products to obtain calorie information from their database. A custom list can be made as well.

I find the EAT function quite cumbersome to use, and probably only effective if you tend to eat Western dishes or processed food in limited varieties, otherwise the calorie information is going to be sketchy at best.

I gave up the EAT function after a couple tries.

ALARMS:

The gadget also has two other Alarm features – Power Nap & Smart Alarm.

Both these features wake you up by vibration after a preset amount of time, 25-40 minutes for nap and preset time window for smart alarm. The neat part is that the alarm doesn’t kick in if you’re in deep sleep, thus giving you a better rest and supposedly feeling less groggy. I think this feature is pretty neat.

REAL LIFE USAGE:

My user experience with Jawbone Up is pretty good thus far. After a couple days or so you hardly even realize it’s there anymore. Press a button when I’m awake, and another time when I go to sleep. I synchronize it a couple times a day and charge it around once a week.

While the band is resistant to water and supposedly, I usually take it off while showering. Jawbone Up won’t survive well if you bring it for a swim, but showering, washing hand, and running in the rain is supposedly okay.

SOCIAL:

On the mobile app, you can also connect with your friends and share information of your MOVE/SLEEP/EAT. The application connects to your phonebook and facebook account to find Jawbone users in your friend list. You can customize and hide certain or all info as well.

You can also comment on your friend’s activities as well.

WRAP UP:

I got the Up for RM 469 from Machines, not exactly a cheap toy, but so far I’m quite happy with the functionality of the device and its overall construction.

The mobile application, while beautifully designed and sleek looking, relies on data connection and seems to not have a very good caching function. This sometimes results in laggy operation when trying to view your own “Life line” or friend’s updates. I also wish that there’s a web interface (you can download your personal raw Up data from Jawbone’s website) to allow better visualization and perhaps ability to input EAT data more easily.

That being said, I’m satisfied with Up and do think that it is something you might want to check out if you’re interested in tracking your activity & sleep 24/7, for without knowledge of self you wouldn’t know where to start improving.

Discuss : KY reviews – Jawbone Up usage experience

  1. Suertes

    Next, they may want to add this feature:
    http://youtu.be/1IbZ22UTfTo

  2. hi what about Fitbit One? thinking about getting one

    • anon: I haven’t got a change to try that, not sure if it’s available locally?

  3. I am a Jawbone Up user and YES I agree on your post. But recently I found out my UP battery life is not as good as the first week which 10days count down is only last for 3 days. Do you encounter the same issue?

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