There’s nothing like collapsing on the couch after a long day of work. The stomach is full from dinner, I’m caught up on my chores, but alas, there is a buzzing on my wrist; A friendly reminder that I’m being lazy and have yet to reach my activity goal for the day. Time to get moving.
That’s the life of a Jawbone UP2 user. A welcomed reminder that working hard and getting exercise are not necessarily the same thing. The UP2 is a lightweight, minimalist fitness tracker that monitors the steps you’ve made for the day,and pushes you each day to excel past your previous records. It can also track your sleep, and monitor your calorie burn via the Android/iOS app. Data is shared between the phone and the band via Bluetooth and this all happens automatically once set up. The tracker itself is a slightly curved unit filled with touch sensors, accelerometers and a few led notification lights all attached to a stretchy silicone band. It straps on using a unique connection system that allows for a fine tuned adjustment by sliding an adjustment clip up and down the band with a small hook latching on top to secure it. A small magnetic attachment point allows the tracker to be charged via the included dongle through a USB connection. It’s splash proof, so it can be used in the shower or the rain and comes in a variety of colors and textures. It’s available now and retails for $99.
What I liked
Primarily, I’ve found the UP2 to be exceptionally comfortable and feathery light. The actually mechanical component is incredibly thin and can barely be felt against the wrist while being worn. The silicone strap stays in place without being tacky, so it doesn’t pull on hairs or any of that nonsense. Because of the small profile it stays out of the way while doing push-ups, unlike many larger trackers, and it doesn’t push against the wrist or the back of the hand when being bent back. Wearing it throughout the day feels completely unobtrusive to the point that I actually forget that it’s there at all, even while sleeping.
Accuracy is surprisingly good, producing a very true to life count of how many steps I’ve made throughout the day with little margin of error. It knows the difference between walking, typing, and just generally moving about and this results in readings that can be trusted. In my tests, it’s been accurate to about +- 10% of the actual number of steps I’ve taken both on flat and on stairs, with minimal false counts while moving my arms around and working.
The app provides solid feedback and utilizes past events to make suggestions that are not only logical, but doable. The so called “coach” takes in your data and uses it to push the user to reach new goals, but also allows the user to rate the feedback that the app is providing. Don’t like it’s advice? Give it the thumbs down and it uses this feedback to provide a better user specific experience. I really like the way it tailored itself to my needs and desires, without me having to dig through menus and manually configure it.
It calculates calories burned, and breaks it down into idle and active subgroups, showing how much was burned from just sitting around and how much was burned by actually being active. This drives home a realization that a little bit of motion in daily life goes much further than a whole lot of sitting around. This makes it easy to see where you’re burning calories, and where you’re stacking them up.
That said, the app also allows for the tracking of food intake and sleep, further providing a grander view of what is having an affect on the body and how. Sleep is tracked automatically and food can be added via a simple itemized list that tracks and organizes your favorites into a convenient menu. Small tips will also appear on the app like how using chopsticks tend to reduce overeating. These small details are very helpful as it brings awareness to the little details and changes that can be utilized through the day to have a much larger end effect than one might consider. The app provides an easy to read output of sleep patterns, discerning deep sleep, light sleep and awake, and will also track your weight and goals, assuming you input it manually. It does allow for the input of other fitness activities such as biking or kayaking that the band wouldn’t normally be able to register.
The band can also be used to provide reminders of when to sleep, when to get moving, and even when to wake up. These are all customizable by length, duration and challenge and they can be used to provide feedback to the band in the form of vibrations and visual cues, such as an illuminated running man for action or a moon for sleep.
What I didn’t like
Tasks such as biking riding do not count toward the step goal for the day. After getting up early and putting down a 8 mile bike ride, I was surprised to see that I’ve only reached 4% of my step goal for the day. Yay for accuracy, as it knew I wasn’t walking; Boo for assuming I still still to walk 10,000 steps today to reach my fitness goal.
I’d really love to see a model with a simple, efficient time readout as I constantly find myself trying to check it for the time.
I quite like the Jawbone UP2. It’s impressively sleek, attractive and very easy to use thanks to the automatic tracking of movement, calories burned and sleep. It’s so comfortable that I actually miss having it on when I do take it off to charge it every 9 days or so. The app does an exceptional job of presenting valid information in a way that’s actually helpful, and this brings a heightened sense of awareness in my daily life. I’m more attuned to how I’m shaping my own body, and it’s having a positive effect on my life choices. Minus a couple quirks on how it calculates if I’ve reached my daily goals or not, it’s an exceptional tracker that provides real value.
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For more information on Jawbone and their line of trackers, check out https://jawbone.com/
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Jawbone and ExperCity for their support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.