The original Jawbone UP could be considered one of the most expensive beta tests of all time. It leaked, it broke, and it didn't accurately track your activities—that may have been due to all those wet, compromised components.

A year has gone by. A glut of other activity trackers have entered the market. Now, Jawbone is trying once again, with a reengineered version of its wristlet. Can new hardware and an updated mobile experience make you choose the UP over alternates like the Nike FuelBand or the Fitbit One?

 

What Is It?

An activity monitor and app that tracks what you eat, how you sleep, and the way you move throughout the day.

 

Who's It For?

Anyone interested in improving their sleeping, eating and fitness habits.

 

Design

Made of TPU rubber, the extremely comfortable UP comes in three sizes and a variety of colours. A single button interface activates certain functions. A covered 3.5mm jack lets you access the UP's data.

 

Using It

Wear it on your wrist when you sleep, shower, eat a salad or take a run.

 

The Best Part

The vibrating motor inside the band. You set it to tell you if you've been inactive for too long, and it vibrates to get your off your ass. It's rather effective if you spend hours tethered to a desk. You can also set it as an alarm to wake you up in the morning.

 

Tragic Flaw

There's no Bluetooth. That's right. Every single thing you do with the UP, whether it's setting the alarm or logging a workout, requires you to take the band off, uncap the 3.5mm jack and plug it into an iOS device. Isn't this company known for Bluetooth?

 

This Is Weird...

The updated app now includes a motivational feature Jawbone calls "insights." These little nuggets of information, based on your habits, tell you to do things, like, walk more than you did the other day. Not that useful.

 

Test Notes

- Charges in about an hour. Lose the proprietary charging cable and you're SOL. Battery life is rated at 10 days. Maybe I haven't been active enough to really push the sensors, but it lasted as advertised.

- Unlike the Nike FuelBand, the UP allows you to manually input workouts and level of exertion to calculate calories burned. Also, if you forget to activate sleep mode on the band, you can also manually log your sleep from the previous night.

- The one-button interface only serves three basic functions: entering/exiting sleep mode, power nap mode, and stopwatch mode. It's pretty limited—there's no visible display to show progress, or even the time. The FuelBand, Fitbit One, and even Striiv Play all do that.

 

Should You Buy It?

Despite its problems, the second generation UP is a much improved activity tracker. Take a look beneath the rubber shell, and you can immediately tell that the company overhauled the manufacturing process, going so far as to invent their own standard for testing the band's water resistance.

But still. You'd think a company whose entire freaking product line is built around Bluetooth would stick a wireless chip into its activity tracker. Every other popular activity tracker syncs wirelessly. Plus, you have to remember to push that tiny button to switch modes. And keep track of the little 3.5-mm jack's cap. And physically connect your UP to an iOS device any time you want to scroll through a food list to log what you ate. Taken together, it all makes using the device more annoying than informative.

The Jawbone Up is on sale in the UK next year