Choosing the right Jawbone tracker

Jawbone claims that its fitness trackers are currently the most advanced on the market. While most other fitness bands display raw figures and leave it at that, Jawbone trackers will provide you with tips throughout the day on how to improve your health and fitness.

There are four devices currently on offer. The entry level UP move, and the more advanced UP2, UP3 and UP4.

The devices are offered in in a bunch of different colours. As the fitness band is so light, you may find yourself looking to make sure you are wearing it. The device is a one-size fits all affair – so no sizes to choose from. The bands are water-resistant, but not waterproof.

There is no screen, so the UP devices are not a substitute for a watch, although the UP Move does display the time on its very basic LED display. The UP 2, 3 and 4 bands have a trio of lights that indicate what mode they are in. On the upside there is no display to sap the battery.

The revamped UP app, which is used for all of its devices, is one of the most comprehensive out there. Jawbone created something they call Smart Coach. Smart Coach goes well beyond delivering measurements, to show you the meaning behind the numbers. This is an intelligence engine that turns raw data into your personal fitness advisor. A clever guide the helps you make at least one healthy choice every day.

We believe that its Smart Coach feature is a glimpse into the future, where wearables will become much more intelligent and will be able to provide much more meaningful analysis of our vitals data. This makes the Jawbone app one of the best fitness tracking apps out there at the moment, although there is still much to be improved.

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UP Move | UP2 | UP3 | UP4

or choose trackers to compare features and technical specifications.


UP Move

The UP Move has a standard pedometer design, with a belt clip case that lets you wear it on your clothes. Jawbone has also launched a range of wristband accessories that allow you to wear the tracker like a watch.

The device tracks steps, exercise, overall calories burned and sleep. It is water resistant, but you don’t want to go submerging it. As mentioned, the battery lasts a whopping 6 months.

The main face of the device doubles as a large single button, which you press in a combination of short and long presses to initiate different modes. The big two, are step tracking and sleep, but like previous models you can also pop the Move into stopwatch mode. LED display indicates time and progress towards your goals.

The device does not include a vibration motor, so is not able to function as a wake up alarm – but the omission was necessary to improve battery life and reduce the price.

For those looking for are entry level device at a reasonable price, the UP move is a great choice. In a way however, the device more of a gateway drug, designed to entice you to upgrade to a more comprehensive UP band.

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UP2

The UP2 is the middle child in the company’s range of fitness trackers. It is a direct replacement for its UP24 band – which has now ceased production.

The fitness band is basically a standard step and sleep tracker, worn on your wrist, helping you towards your daily goals. The UP2 packs in a tri-axis accelerometer, bioimpedance sensors, as well as skin and ambient temperature sensors. The main difference between this device, and the more recent UP3 and UP4, is that the UP2 band does not have a heart rate sensor and offers more basic sleep tracking.

The UP2 has three modes. First is daily activity mode, which keeps tabs on your steps, calories burned and exercise. The second is sleep mode and the third is a stopwatch. The sleep mode also has a smart alarm feature. As mentioned, there are no physical buttons or a screen – although you can switch between modes by tapping on top of the unit.

Overall, the UP2 offers a complete range of basic features, which stops short of heart rate sensing. It means the picture of your health will be less accurate, but for those looking to ensure they’re getting enough sleep and exercise, it is more than adequate.

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UP3

The Jawbone UP3 was originally ment to go on sale last winter, but problems during manufacturing led to months of delays and ultimately the UP3 was downgraded to water-resistant as opposed to waterproof.

The UP3 is a smart activity tracker with advanced sleep tracking. The device measures your steps and resting heart rate and estimates calories burned. With the recent firmware update, the UP3 is able to track your heart-rate periodically throughout the day – and it now automatically recognises when you fall asleep.

The UP3 is loaded with sensors that give you a comprehensive picture of your health. Like all bands, Jawbone UP3 measures the steps you take, and like some, monitors the quality of your sleep.

We like the advanced sleep tracking and the ability to automaticaly recognise when you are dozing off. You will gain a deeper understanding of your sleep as the UP shows you details of light, deep and REM sleep. It does this by monitoringyour heart-rate, respiration rate, body temperature and galvanic skin response.

The ability to periodically check on your heart rate throughout the day, in addition to viewing you resting heart rate, is definitely a welcome addition to its wide range of features. The ‘Passive Heart Rate’ as it is called, is captured periodically throughout the day during moments when you are still. Passive Heart Rate, when combined with your Resting Heart Rate, gives you a more complete picture of your heart health and helps you become aware of how factors such as caffeine, stress, and other stimuli can affect your heart in daily life.

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UP3
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While there are many positives, there are also a few negatives. The UPs are ‘water-resistant’ rather than waterproof and they have no GPS for more precise distance tracking. The ‘fiddly’ clasps could do with further improvements. There are no screens – hence no clocks, caller IDs or alerts, and you are dependent on the app to check the progress towards your daily goals. Also, even though the UP3 now tracks your heart-rate throughout the day, it does not track it continously. Continuous heart rate monitoring is necessary for training in intensity zones.

The UP3 definitely has room for improvement. However, it does offer a rich set of features some of which are not available with other fitness trackers. While the UP3 may not be the perfect choice for those looking for a sports watch, or those looking for detailed 24/7 heart rate monitoring – for those who want a simple, unobtrusive device to track exercise and sleep, and improve overall health and well-being, the Jawbone up3 is definitely an option worth considering.

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UP4

Jawbones most recent addition, the UP4, is identical in every way with the UP3 band with the added function of being able to make Amex payments. This means that you can connect your device to an eligible American Express Card for payments on the go at participating stores.

According to Jawbone, An “eligible American Express Card” for the UP4 means an American Express U.S. Consumer or Small Business credit or charge Card that is not cancelled and that is issued to you by a U.S. banking subsidiary of American Express.

Prepaid cards and products, American Express Corporate Cards and American Express-branded cards or account numbers issued by other financial institutions are not eligible.

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