There is a lot of emphasis these days on living an active, healthy lifestyle and there are a plethora of gadgets and devices to help us achieve that. One of them is the Jawbone UP wristband. It is not only an activity monitor but it also keeps track of your sleep patterns. And for good measure it can monitor your food intake and calculate the calories that you then have to walk off....
But there is a bit more to this wristband so let me "walk" you through it.
The Jawbone UP is a sturdy, almost elegant design that comes in 3 sizes to fit most wrists and several colours to suit most tastes. I chose the largest one in black, figuring it would be the least obtrusive in public. Not that you would be ashamed to wear one and having a loud colour might actually be useful if you want to draw attention to your newfound active lifestyle or if you think that you might misplace or lose the unit.
You're supposed to wear it 24 hours a day and that's why they made it waterproof. The magic inside the band contains an accelerometer, vibrator and battery that will last you a solid 10 days. The built-in motion sensor will also register very subtle movements once the unit has been put into sleep mode.
The app that goes with the Jawbone UP is simply brilliant. Very well designed and a perfect companion for the wristband, which has no display of course but only a red LED for charging and green LED which looks like a crescent moon when you put the band in sleep mode. The clever thing about these LEDs is that they are not visible on the band but only displayed briefly when you switch modes.
Here below are a couple of screenshots of an active day and a pretty restful sleep.
You can also set it to wake you up with a vibration around the time when you want to get up and when you're in a light sleep. That's the best way to be woken up. Your partner might also appreciate it if you don't have to use your loud alarm clock anymore that even wakes up the roosters in your neighbourhood!
I did not bother to put in my daily intake of various foods (primarily because some of my favourite ones were not on there) but it is a well-known fact that if you want to lose weight you need to keep track of your intake.
The app is also good in that it gives motivational quotes and hints as well as compliments you when you have reached your goals. The more or less standard goal of 10,000 steps in a day is easily achieved and it is pretty accurate compared to the S Health apps that Samsung has on its new Galaxies.
The data on the Jawbone UP needs to be synced with your smart phone every once in a while (probably daily is best) and is done by taking off one of the ends of the wristband which reveals a typical headphone connector. After you insert this in your headphones socket the app can be launched which prompts you to sync the data. The band is not recharged through your phone but through a bespoke USB connector which you can plug your wristband into.
The Jawbone UP is reasonably comfortable to wear all day and all night. If you wear it on your active hand the thickness of the band might bother you as you rest your wrist on the desk.
Probably the main issue people might find with a type of device like the Jawbone UP is that it is fairly limited in its functionality. We have been spoilt by smartphones that can perform a variety of functions, including keeping track of activities such as walking or running. Granted, monitoring sleep patterns is not one of them: you still need some sort of wristband for that. Hard on the heels of our constant companion, the cellphone, the multifunctional smart watches are doing a lot more than just telling the time. In fact, it won't be long before everything that the Jawbone UP can do, will be taken over by smart watches.
I was quite impressed by what the Jawbone UP delivered in the way of accuracy and encouragement for a more active lifestyle which, funnily enough, also includes keeping track of the most inactive period in our daily life: our sleep.
For less than 145 bucks you can have a lot of fun discovering how you're going in your current lifestyle and where you need to improve.
Have a look at MobileZap's Fitness page where you can find the UP and many similar devices.
Highly recommended but hoping that there will be many downloadable functions added for the Jawbone UP in the months to come. They might even want to bring out a Jawbone UP Smart Watch which is probably the holy Grail for this type of device.