Last year Jawbone released a gadget that promised a lot, it was to be a bracelet designed by Yves Behar that tracked your exercise and along with an app for your phone allowed you to plan out your daily routines in an aim to get fit. Combining fashion and fitness with the use of your phone it all looked good and the hype was in full swing, then people actually tried it. The problem was that the bracelets were breaking.
Refunds had to be given and things went silent on the Jawbone Up while they went back to the design and took a look what was wrong. Now here we are a year later and Jawbone is back with a new version of the Up looking for a second chance with the hope to redeem itself and show people what this piece of tech can do. So the question is, are the bracelets truly fixed and more importantly has Jawbone done enough to catch up with a technological world that has move on a year since the initial release?
It’s fair to say looking at the new bracelet Yves Behar’s design is looking to be less noticed than some other devices that are offered (for example the Nike+ FuelBand with its LED design). This bracelet goes for the more subtle approach with a better look for people who want to use the device and not really have to show it off. If it is noticed though it still looks good and fits around the wrist nicely. Looking at the issues with the original the 2012 version of the UP bracelet is more waterproof and more flexible in its design. This was said to be its original problem.
It’s obvious that Jawbone have concentrated on making the bracelet better, but not looked at improving the technology. Connection to your iPad or iPhone is done through a headphone jack, no Bluetooth or micro-USB support here, which is a shame. This also means that recharging is done through the jack and a converter to connect to the device. Battery life is good though with around ten days use before having to recharge.
All of the power of the Jawbone Up is in the software used with it, so whenever you want to look at the details you have to plug it into your iOS device. This will take the date from your bracelet and give you a readout of your activity for the days. The app has been given an update since the last version. One new addition to note is the social aspect where you’ll be able to comment on your friend’s progress (if they are using the Up app too). This is nice to keep you motivated and add a level of competition to your exercise, as well as adding that little bit of shame if you slack off.
Along with the data from the bracelet you’ll also be able to track the foot you have eaten by putting the details into the app, this will let you see your personal calorie intake, when you ate and other information. This includes functionality to scan the barcode of your food to make identifying it better. The only drawback to this is that some of the foods aren’t in the database yet, and of course you can be showing what you are eating to your friends, which may not be something you want to do.
The next feature is the sleep tracking with the advertising saying that it will help you improve your sleeping patterns. There is also functionality within the bracelet itself to act as an alarm to wake you up when required, whether this works is questionable though as the vibrations it creates may not be enough to get your attention. The same vibration alarm is also used to detect if you are being too idle and need to become more active which can be quite a good alert to if you are having a lazy day.
The aim of tracking your life using the Up bracelet and app is to push yourself to be fitter and to track what your food habits are. Even if you have this type of functionality available you still need control. For people who like exercise though it can be quite a useful too, but the fact is there are plenty of other devices like this that can actually do the same thing.
The problem with the original Jawbone Up appears to be that the bracelet was breaking too easy and refunds had to be made to the customers. It’s nice to see that Jawbone took the design away and improved it to make it more functional and stronger, which is obviously important if you are going to be wearing the bracelet all day. It does appear that Jawbone have fixed the issues that they have found and have provided a good solid and flexible bracelet that can be used with the app to track your life.
The problem is though that there is really nothing that new in the Jawbone Up, especially compared with newer devices that offer the same functionality. Many phone can offer tracking without the bracelet, especially Android phones running the latest Jelly Bean OS so it’s questionable if people really need something like the up anymore? Saying this there are many positives to the Up, for people interested in tracking all their exercising and life and improve their health it definitely provides plenty of tools to help you with this.