Wristband activity monitors have had a tumultuous journey over the past few years. The very profitable Nike Fuelband team disbanded (RIP Fuel points), Google Watch just got a "Last Look" in Vogue's October issue, and
Gerald Flores, EIC of Sole Collector
The best part: The sleek design.
The worst part: Can’t tell time.
Coolest feature: Vibrating reminders to get up and move.
Underwhelmed by: Nothing
Overall rating: Good.
Style factor: Fair.
Comfort level: Fair.
Lessons learned: I walk a lot of steps.
Will you keep wearing it? No.
Before I rocked the Jawbone Up, I was a Nike Fuelband user. One of the big differences between the UP and the Fuelband is that the UP doesn’t use the Nike "Fuel" metric, just steps. I like the straightforward measurement that counts how many steps I take to and from the office, and how it shows me how to add more throughout the day. The design was a lot slimmer than the Fuelband, but it doesn’t have that rad LCD display that tells time. Another feature of the UP I really liked was how it let you set alerts to vibrate when you’ve been sedentary for period of time. It was cool to have a reminder to get UP and walk around the office every 30 minutes, but if you forget to turn the alerts off, the vibrations can really be a bitch. Especially if you’re at the movies.
Calvy Click, EIC of Sneaker Report
The best part: Seeing how long I slept every night.
The worst part: Having to wear it 24/7; it’s too clunky to ignore.
Coolest feature: The buzzer alarm!
Underwhelmed by: The overall food tracking aspect of the product. Most restaurants aren’t listed and it’s impossible to input everything you eat.
Overall rating: Not great. I thought it would be less annoying to wear and update.
Style factor: It looks great when Tommy Ton's ladies pair it with a crazy look, but not in everyday life.
Comfort level: It’s too bulky and just not comfortable.
Lessons learned: I burn more calories on a day where I sit at my desk for eight hours than I do on a six mile hike? Thinking this was a bit off on Jawbone’s behalf.
Will you keep wearing it? Nope.
One of my favorite parts of the day is removing my jewelry, sweeping back my hair, and slipping into stretchy leggings and marshmallow-y kicks for a run. Jawbone UP went against my tradition completely. Having to wear a bulky plastic wrap on your wrist all day isn’t comfortable and made me all too aware that I was supposed to make “lifestyle changes.” It encourages you to change little things like taking the stairs (I live in a very old building so taking the stairs is the smart, I-want-to-keep-my-life option) or going to sleep earlier (this just isn’t going to happen as long as I have a Netflix subscription and a library card).
The diet aspect of the Up band is a joke. If you can't put in your favorite juice from Juice Press or that yummy kale salad from Organic Avenue, what's the point? Shouldn't it promote healthy options over chain restaurants? UP loved to point out that I live near a Pinkberry, tempting me to pick up a low-cal frozen treat just because it would have been easy to input. I didn't succumb to Jawbone's poor dining choices and instead abandoned the food aspect after three days.
I did like the fact that I could log my runs with the Strava app, but you don’t need to have the Jawbone UP for that. I learned that I am definitely not their core customer. I don’t need a high tech device to lead a healthy lifestyle; I do it for myself, by myself, every day.
Hanuman Welch, Editorial Producer at Complex
The best part: Keeping track of my sleep patterns.
Worst part: It can't track specific food items, so most of the food inputting was a chore.
Coolest feature: The wireless pairing with my phone.
Underwhelmed by: The overall design, as it's really not particularly inconspicuous. It always feels present and I was always aware of it.
Overall rating: Average.
Style factor: It's pretty much the opposite of stylish. I was always close to taking it off.
Comfort level: Sitting at desk working, it was massively irritating. But, for actually working out, it was good.
Lessons learned: Wearable tech still has a way to go before it becomes essential to my fitness regime.
Will you keep wearing it? Nope.
I love the idea of wearable tech. A piece of hardware that tracks my workouts, calories consumed, sleep patterns, and everything in between is an impressive undertaking. Jawbone seems to be the paleolithic cousin of some far off future piece of fitness tracking tech to come. It seems like a grand conceit on paper, but the day-to-day realities of tracking my fitness goals using the app and the bracelet became tiresome after the fifth day.
For starters, the tracking your food intake in order to log your calories consumed is massively clumsy. Entering every food item manually took way more time than I wanted to spend typing K-A-L-E into the app and hoping for the best. The autofill prompts provided by the app skewed mostly towards places like Boston Market and Subway Subs, which is fine, but when there's not an option for green juice or beet juice or just grapefruit juice, then what are we really doing here?
Easily the feature I spent the most time enjoying was tracking my sleep. Tracking when deep REM kicked in compared to light sleep and tracking how many times I got up to use the bathroom was sincerely cool. I don't know if it was the placebo effect, but the more deep sleep I was told I was getting, the more inclined I was to get my ass in bed at a decent hour. The UP seems like a cool first step towards tech that integrates itself into my fitness regime in any unobtrusive sense, but it's a tentative one.
Shanté Cosme, Deputy Editor at Complex
The best part: The challenges really motivated me to step my, err, step game up and even skip happy hours in favor of an earlier bedtime.
The worst part: Logging food was an excruciating process.
Coolest feature: The smart alarm, which wakes you up during a period of light sleep for a less-than-rude awakening.
Underwhelmed by: A run and a walk are not nearly equal, but UP doesn’t automatically differentiate between the two.
Overall rating: As a wearable tech virgin, UP really helped me make positive changes, and for that, I give it props.
Style factor: There’s only so much you can pair a black, texturized-rubber band with.
Comfort level: No matter which size you choose, it manages to be a little snug on the wrist.
Lessons learned: Being active isn’t something you do once a day; it’s a product of the thousands of tiny decisions you make.
Will you keep wearing it? When I actually remember to charge it, definitely.
I've always been vaguely aware of my ability to turn any/all things into a competition, but UP officially confirmed this fact. UP awards a grade (well, technically a percentage of the goal made) for both sleep and steps and the thought of being beat on the life/fitness exam accounted for 75% of my motivation. By week two, the quest for the elusive double hundo (insert hundred emoji here) had me on a bedtime routine that would get props from your grandma. If it was 10 p.m. and I hadn't reached my 10K step quota, I might have—just once—maniacally paced across my apartment to hit my goal. I schemed ways I might counteract the shameful amount of time I spend sitting and typing. I took walking lunches. I skipped the taxi in favor of walking the 15 or so blocks. I woke up at 6:45 a.m. to run (which basically ensured my step goal would be met by roughly 3 p.m.).
Logging that run, however, wasn’t so easy. I usually use MapMyRun to measure my pace, but the app doesn’t sync with UP. Manually inputting my workout yielded bizarre, totally inaccurate stats on the distance ran/calories burned. The food logging feature was similarly flawed. A search for "Fat Free Vanilla Creamer" spat back "cooked vegetables," "roasted potato," and "mashed potato" as the top three results, which—what?
The sleep tracking feature is truly UP's saving grace. I became borderline-obsessive about getting a full eight hours and, more specifically, with getting more deep sleep. I set a bedtime reminder for 10 p.m. each night that helped me establish a routine and was so effective, it threatened to made me a hermit. Perhaps most telling is the state of my life post-UP. I haven't worn the band in a few weeks and I'm back to late week nights, 12 p.m. bedtimes (at best) and too many idle hours at my desk. I'll be in a better place when I re-affirm my commitment to UP and get back to out-sleeping and out-moving my co-workers. Yes, even if that means jogging in place in my living room.
Julian Patterson, Social Media Manager at Complex
The best part: The competition made by tracking how you measure up to your peers.
The worst part: Wearing it to bed and tracking sleep.
Coolest feature: The challenges.
Underwhelmed by: The food tracking capabilities.
Overall rating: Good, not great.
Style factor: It's a "cool" thing to wear. I see other people wearing it and I feel like we're in on a secret.
Comfort level: It wasn't always a snug fit.
Lessons learned: Get up and get active!
Will you keep wearing it? Yes.
I've been in the market for a movement-tracking device for quite some time. I saw people wearing them around—different brands, colors, styles—and I was intrigued. I wanted to see what it was all about, so when I was presented with the opportunity to try out the Jawbone UP, I was game.
The band itself serves its purpose. It's not a flashy statement piece like an expensive watch, but it's far from a swagless accessory. Jawbone UP is designed with both function and aesthetics in mind. In fact, I like wearing it on my wrist. When I see other people with theirs, I feel like I have a weird connection with them, like we have similar interests or priorities.
I hardly notice my Jawbone during the day. However, at night it is bothersome, to the point where I take it off before going to sleep every night. But that's not a deal-breaker for me. I'm more interested in the fitness aspect than sleep tracking. And, for the most part, I didn't run into many issues with the movement-tracking technology. I found the information about steps, distance, and calories burned useful, especially for losing weight and building endurance. One thing in particular that bugged me, however, was the Jawbone's inability to actually quantify fitness. For instance, someone who runs 15,000 steps is probably more fit than someone who accumulates 15,000 over the course of a day.
Overall, the Jawbone UP is a good tool to not only help you increase your activity, but also to set the bar higher for you and your friends/followers. All of a sudden you find yourself getting off the subway two stops early to walk an extra 10-15 blocks—kind of like "Get Steps or Die Tryin'."
Carmen Villafane, Social Media Director at Complex
The best part: The design, the all-inclusive nature of the app, and the sleep tracking.
The worst part: Too much manual-inputting.
Coolest feature: Sleep tracking, hands down, and the alarm function.
Underwhelmed by: The food log and the activity log.
Overall rating: Poor, didn't love it.
Style factor: I love the design and how seamless it is.
Comfort level: The size small is REALLY small.
Lessons learned: The less I have to do myself, the better.
Will you keep wearing it? I will continue to wear a fitness tracker, but I don't know that it will be this one.
I've been on some form of diet and track my food intake mentally, even if not always writing it down. I also have a pretty solid foundation of wellness and a strict workout regimen. Basically, I am OCD. So, for me, the manual food and activity-tracking functions of the app were kind of unnecessary. I got frustrated early on because you have to be so detailed in your activity levels that I didn't feel like it was accurate. That said, is ANY fitness tracker actually accurate? When I consider that a "Nike Fuel Point" isn't an actual unit of measure, maybe the UP band wasn't that far off. I did find that comparing myself to my co-workers made me feel very competitive, if not embarrassed to admit that yes, I ran...to get a bagel. I also found myself chuckling internally when I'd see them slugging into work because I knew they only got three hours of deep sleep the night before. Party animals. I also found myself paying attention to my sleeping habits more closely, and waking up to a gentle buzzing around my wrist was highly preferable to my iPhone's jarring alarm. That said, I needed both because I was terrified of oversleeping should the UP band's gentle nudge not be enough to get me out of deep sleep. (I'm now obsessed with how much deep sleep I'm getting vs. light sleep.)
As far as the design is concerned, I feel like they run kind of small. Sometimes, I even took it off in my sleep which––when sleeptracking––is kind of an issue. I love the design of the UP band in comparison to the much clunkier and less sleek Nike Fuel band. But as a longtime Fuel Band wearer, I found myself really missing the screen where I could easily click to check my progress throughout the day.
All in all, the function I liked best was the sleep tracking and alarm function. But for someone who works out every day, and is already pretty consistently health-conscious, I think a fitness tracker that measures activity first and foremost is probably a better buy. From a practicality perspective, I can't see myself inputting all that data daily. Not to mention, I felt like my phone was CONSTANTLY dying because the Bluetooth connection between my band and my phone was always on. I probably will go back to my Nike Fuel Band for fitness tracking, but I think for someone who is maybe just starting to take better care of themselves, or needs to add some structure to their wellness goals, the UP band is a great tool.
Shelby Calvert, Community Manager at Complex
The best part: Tracking your steps and other movements throughout the day.
The worst part: It's unfortunately uncomfortable.
Coolest feature: The charts it generates and the alarm clock feature.
Underwhelmed by: The app drains your battery and sends too many notifications. I found it too complicated.
Overall rating: Fair, largely due to the fact that mine broke.
Style factor: Too masculine looking for me.
Comfort level: Not comfortable because of the thickness of the band.
Lessons learned: I sit for a long time during the day!
Will you keep wearing it? No, I will not.
Ahhh—the Jawbone UP band. Initially I was really excited to try it out, as my boss wears a band that tracks her movement. I thought it would totally change my workout habits, my outlook, level of fitness, and basically my life—but from the get-go I wasn’t thrilled. It isn’t stylish (it’s heavy, thick, and masculine) and it’s pretty uncomfortable. It is fitted, so it doesn’t move around like a bangle, as the Nike Fuelband would.
Style and comfort aside, I was determined to wear it for a month and committed myself to 11,000-12,000 steps per day. It was a great resource to see how much (or how little) I was being active and pushed me to get outside or on the treadmill, especially on the weekends. Although I didn’t set alerts, I did accept many of the challenges, save for the sleeping ones—there’s no way I am going to bed before 11:00PM, Jawbone. I also really enjoyed the tips; I found them to be insightful and useful. Overall, the band is a great way to gauge how active you are being day to day, but that’s it. The food log is overwhelmingingly complicated, it’s super uncomfortable, and at the end of the month—it broke. Maybe it was a sign because the UP and I are over.