I’ve been meaning to write about Jawbone’s UP band since I got my first UP band in December 2011. I loved Jawbone’s UP 1.0. I know it was flawed because the bands would stop working every other month or so, but when my band worked, I loved using it. My old band broke for good last September, but I got the new UP 2.0 for my birthday this year and have been using it ever since.
The premise of UP, in the words of Jawbone:
UP™ is a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. The wristband tracks your movement and sleep in the background. The app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that keep you moving forward.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. You wear the band like a bracelet throughout the day and it tracks how many steps you’ve taken each day and converts those into miles you’ve walked or ran. If you wear it to sleep, it will track your sleeping patterns to let you know if you’re a good sleeper or not. I have a screen cap of my own sleeping to the right; the orange means “Awake,” the light blue is “Light Sleep” and the dark blue is “Deep Sleep.” You can even set up something called the “Smart Alarm” which wakes you up when you are in a period of lighter sleep in the morning. UP also gives you the option of keeping track of what you eat, either by taking pictures or using a barcode scanner to get the nutritional facts of what you’re eating. Finally, you can keep track of your moods to see if there are any patterns in your feelings and behavior throughout each week or month.
I primarily use my UP band to track my sleep and track my steps. It’s a bit bulky, but once you get used to it, it’s no different than any other accessory you wear. I have actually discovered that I feel better when I get 6-7 hours of sleep than when I get 8 hours a night and have learned what influences my sleep, like drinking or taking NyQuil/ZzzQuil. I am also fascinated with the validation that I do in fact wake up around the exact same time every night to use the restroom and love knowing how long I lay awake (as in whether or not “hours” is in fact just like 10 minutes, haha). When it comes to using UP to track my movement, I like getting a roundabout idea of how far I’ve walked each day based on the amount of steps I’ve taken. Setting a goal to walk a certain number of steps each day and having to hold yourself accountable to it does make you think twice about taking the elevator when you can take the stairs!
I only have two issues with my UP band. The first is that it is not compatible with my iPhone case. I have the LifeProof case (which I LOVE, btw) and because you can’t directly put the bracelet into the headphone jack, it doesn’t pick up that your band is trying to sync with it. I hate that I no longer have the convenience of just putting my UP band into my phone whenever I want to sync it. Luckily, it works with my iPad, so I can still use it! Not being able to just plug it into my phone deters me from using it as much as I did before I got this case. The second issue I have with my UP band is that while it’s really awesome when it works, it’s not perfect. Some mornings I wake up and find that I must’ve triggered the button to change modes in my sleep and it stopped recording my sleeping patterns in the middle of the night. This isn’t a nightly occurrence, but it’s happened a handful of times. Another thing to note is that when you track your distance, it measures it in foot steps, not in actual GPS reading. I know that there is an option to calibrate your steps, but because I can only sync using my iPad, I haven’t done it yet.
In summary, here are some pros and cons of using Jawbone’s UP band:
- Tracking and getting a better understanding of your sleeping patterns
- An alarm that wakes you up when you’re in the appropriate stage of REM to do so
- Tracking how far you’ve walked each day
- Battery lasts a good week
- If you want to, you can take advantage of the social aspect of it by seeing what your friends or “team” members have done
- Doesn’t sync with all phone cases
- Isn’t always accurate when reporting actual GPS distance walked
- Mode can switch overnight and stop tracking your sleep
I totally recommend getting Jawbone’s UP band. It comes in a few different colors, including basic black and a pretty bright blue color. If you’re looking to get familiar with your body and lifestyle, then it’s a great place to start. At $130, it’s a little pricy but if you make the most of it by utilizing all it has to offer, then in my humble opinion, it’s worth it.