Jawbone Goes UP, Fitbit Down


The folks at Jawbone continue to expand beyond their iconic Jawbone Bluetooth headset line. About a year ago, they introduced the Jambox – a versatile, portable Bluetooth speaker… that I picked up on discount. And now they’ve totally left Bluetooth and audio behind with the introduction of UP ($100), which is something of a lifestyle monitoring wrist band.

In many ways, UP is similar in concept to the Fitbit ($100) and other supercharged pedometers for the digital age. At the most basic level, these devices track steps via an integrated accelerometer. Additionally, through a clever interpretation of vibration, they also attempt to grade your sleep patterns based on movement. But whereas the Fitbit is an accessory that clips to something on your person, the Jawbone UP (review) is a water resistant wristband designed to be worn full time. Another notable difference: Instead of syncing wirelessly, UP hides an iPhone-compatible headphone adapter for data transfer duties… which is convenient for iPhone (or iPad and iPod Touch) owners. But every other smartphone owner (or non-smartphone owner) is out of luck.

Despite the potential platform limitation, UP offers two other notable features over the Fitbit. Jawbone provides a silent, vibrating “smart” alarm within the wristband — although to be most useful, we’re going to need to distinguish weekdays from weekends. Also, via the companion iOS app, UP mates a GPS-tracked route to the steps taken for what would probably be a highly accurate representation of a real-world walk or run.

I briefly owned the Fitbit, but wasn’t impressed by its accuracy or integrated clip… that actually requires an additional holster (included) to overcome. Also, at the time Fitbit didn’t provide a complete mobile website or app. And I’m finding the Jawbone UP a better fit(bit) for my lifestyle. Yet, do I really need a $100 gadget to tell me if I’ve been active or had a good night sleep? Not sure…

9 thoughts on “Jawbone Goes UP, Fitbit Down”

  1. Agree that they need to have different times for different days for the alarm. I do find it a neat function though as every time I’ve woken up, I haven’t been groggy at all.

    Meal tracking needs an overhaul, as it’s really basic. Of course my wife can still yell at me for taking a picture of the McMuffin I just ate, so maybe it is affective.

  2. But Grandpa, how would you know if you got a good nights sleep?

    Well, Billy, we’d just think about it and try and feel whether we were still tired or not.

    Wow Grandpa, I don’t know how you guys even got up in the morning.

  3. I bought the UP because it’s cool looking (i’m a gadget geek) and the fact that it tracks my steps and wakes me up asleep for less than 30 dollars over a LARK (returned that thing because it’s overpriced) makes this a winner for me. Nobody really needs a fitness gadget to help them get into better shape or measure their health but owning one can be really neat and help motivate you to do more about your fitness.

    I also own a FitBit I’m always losing that and probably never will with my UP. Plus I know if I keep using that thing much longer I’ll probably forget that I clipped it to my belt and have rain pour on it which will render the device useless. And that’s if I haven’t lost the device by then!

  4. The forum is full of people wanting Android phone capability. Now if it would track blood sugar, blood pressure, and other vitals it would be perfect.

  5. Is there a display on this jawbone UP? I’ve been using my Fitbit for around 1.5 years now and it has been rock solid. It has been extremely accurate. I’ll check out a measure mile or half mile distance several times a year and it has always been within .01 of that distance.

    I like the Jawbone BT ear pieces but for the UP, I don’t need an alarm and without a display like the fit bit it makes it more limiting. Since with the Fitbit I can start and activity and see my stats right away during that activity.

    The thing that seems nice about the UP is that it’s says it’s designed to be worn all the time. The FitBit is also water resistant and I’ve never run into any issue with it while out in the rain. But I wouldn’t take a shower with it.

  6. There’s some icons/shapes that light up, but no LCD.

    A few people on Twitter that I follow got UPs early… and they’ve failed. So I wouldn’t contemplate a purchase at this time.

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