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Which one is better UP3 or UP24? (Jawbone UP3 Review)

A couple of weeks ago Jawbone released their new UP3 fitness tracker. According to Jawbone, the company couldn’t keep up with originally promised release date of “Holidays 2014” because of difficulties they faced to make the device water proof. Finally the company declared new release date with with compromised water resistant device. The new UP3 is no more friends with water than it’s predecessors UP and UP24.

Jawbone says, UP3 has heart rate monitor, bio impedance sensor and blah blah blah; all the big words. Here is what you need to know if you have pre-ordered or thinking of ordering one.

Why to go for UP3?
Sleek design – It is definitely better looking tracker out there. On the wrist it just looks like a regular jewelry band people would wear. Even though Jawbone advertised multiple band types and colors if users want one right now the only color options are black and white. Black band looks cooler than the white one but then, beauty lies in the eyes of beholder.
One size fits all – UP3 sports a newly designed clasp which is adjustable and makes one size fit most of the wrists out there.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR) – if you are crazy about all the numbers about your sleep information then you would absolutely love this thing. Jawbone says resting heart rate helps you get better picture of your over all health.
UP App – UP3 required new UP app which is different than the blue one. The new app icon is purple colored and the app is considerably faster and reliable than the blue counterpart which supports UP Move and 24 trackers. Notifications on new UP app are way too reliable than the old one.
Future updates – even though active heart rate monitoring is not possible today with UP3, Jawbone promises (yeah right!) to enable more HR related features in future firmware updates. We don’t know when that will happen but, if you are loyal to UP system then you might want to invest in UP3 now.
100% goal celebration – everyday when you reach your goal the band vibrates and throws you a little light show using it’s three indicator lights.
Magnetic charger – the band effortlessly latches to the charger making it easy to connect. Band takes about 1.5 hrs to fully charge.

Why not to upgrade to UP3 or UP2 and stick with you UP24?
Clasp – The clasp that latches band around your wrist is really tough to go around (Ladies, remember those Pandora clasps?). I wonder who is the idiot behind selection of this design to go in production. This clasp also moves and loosens the belt every couple of days. The simple solution is to press it a little with pliers.
Battery life – If battery life is something that really matters to you then, stay with UP24. UP24 holds battery charge upto 14 days where as UP2 and UP3 only provides 7 days of battery life. 7 days of battery is still high among all the other fitness trackers out there.
Heart Rate (HR) features – UP3 has HR monitoring but it’s very limited and is not worth the money at this point. If you want to measure HR during exercise or on-demand then stay away from UP3 for now and go for Fitbit HR bands.
No Timer on/off from band – Timer is the third most used mode among “UPsters”, Active and Sleep mode being first two. Jawbone took it away from users on UP3. Users can start or stop timer (or work out mode) only using UP app, so no more running without your phone on you. This is absolutely ridiculous.
No Power Nap mode – One of the features I liked about my UP24 was power nap, especially on weekend afternoon naps. This is no more possible on UP2 or UP3 bands.
Touch based switching between modes – UP2 and UP3 have capacitive touch surface on it’s top metal housing. Users have to touch it twice and hold the tap when any mode light is ON. I know it does sound complicated but, I got a better hold of this now and rarely have to try multiple times. However for some users this can really be frustrating.
“Were you working out” prompts – App is much faster and reliable but, a walk to train station or stretching arms around causes app to ask annoying “Were you working out?” questions. Jawbone got rid of ‘timer mode switching’ from band itself so, they added these ‘smart’ prompts to the app to help users log their missed workouts.

Despite above disadvantages, UP3 provides pretty advanced sleep tracking with user’s heart rate throughout the sleep cycle.

Overall, UP3 band sports ambitious new technology to provide users more information about their sleep and activity. Most of the UP users will still upgrade to UP3 hoping to receive firmware updates in ‘near future’ to unlock many of it’s currently disabled features. We can only hope that, Jawbone would keep ‘up’ with their loyal customers and bring UP3 to it’s full potential before end of products life.

Jawbone UP/UP24: Movement Tracking Wearable Tech

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Movement trackers are devices made to monitor your activity throughout the day or in cases night too. Let me tell you how I came across this fad (at least I used to think of it as fad). A month ago I got my iPhone 5S, as an iPhone enthusiast it was kind of a compulsion for me to get new iPhone in my pocket. At first I thought the new M7 processor chip in iPhone 5S will be a waste of hardware that I will be carrying around. M7 tracks movements made by your phone without compromising battery life. By tracking movements, M7 provides data to games and fitness apps.

I am a little health conscious but I stayed away from wearable tech to track my movement, as I found it unnecessary. However, since Nike released their steps tracking app which uses M7 data from iPhone 5S, I found this motion tracking business very interesting. While using my iPhone app to track movements I realized that, the results were inaccurate as I don’t carry my phone every time I move. That’s when I started reading about Jawbone UP, Fitbit and Nike Fuel fitness bands.

During my research I found that, Nike Fuel band is the fanciest one but, doesn’t support sleep tracking and solely be used for step counting. Fitbit and UP bands do something extra which is called sleep tracking in addition to step counting. Though all of these bands are designed to track your steps only, Jawbone UP app on smartphone allows users to modify timed activies in terms of type, difficulty and duration. Unlike Fitbit, this functionality allows UP users to use a band feature to log time of the activity automatically in app and then set parameters correctly to get a close estimate of calorie burn.

Custom activity logging on UP app

Sleep tracking: It is one feature which I always wanted to use to understand my sleeping habits. I tried using several sleep tracking apps before but I was not happy with results and definitely was not interested in keeping my cell phone so close to my brain over night (Isn’t whole day enough for that?). UP and bit gave me another shot to track my sleep. I like UP the most because of the way UP app shows me it’s collected sleep data. While Fitbit only shows when I slept and how many times I woke up during my sleep, the UP app also gives me information about sleep phases like, Deep Sleep and Light Sleep.

This additional data of deep and light sleep gives UP one more functionality which is called of Smart Sleep Alarms, which I found very useful over the course of last 7 days. The UP band vibrates to wake you up when you are in your light sleep, this happens at time which is closest to your set alarm time. Alarm time window can be set to 10, 20 or 30 mins.

Power Nap: Not sure about Fitbit but, UP band has a power nap feature which wakes users up after an ideal power nap time which is somewhere close to 26mins. The total sleep time can be set to 30, 45 mins to 1 hour. If its is set to 45 mins then UP band will wake you up after 45 mins even if ideal sleep time is not over. I found Power Nap feature very useful when I was over loaded with work and needed some rest at the same time.

Sync and wearability: Fitbit wins this one as it syncs with it’s smartphone companion app wirelessly where as, UP band uses 2.5mm jack on your smartphone to sync with UP app. I would prefer bluetooth sync a 1000 times over physical connection but other features of UP band and app overwhelm the odds. I sync my UP band three or four times a day and I don’t have problem with it because it’s very easy to pull out and put back on wrist. Fitbit is like a wrist watch which fits perfectly on wrist but might push users towards getting irritated but it and wearing it off.

Charging: Both UP and Fixbit bands require users to take them off for charging. Both come with their special chargers so users cannot use concentional USB charging cables. Charge time for UP is upto 10 days of course because it doesn’t have bluetooth wireless connectivity where as Fitbit can stay charged up to 7 days. To keep the charging cap from losing, UP band users have to take extra caution while charging the band.

Interaction with other services: This is a huge on UP band’s side that it’s app can be linked to IFTTT service to automate other services provided via IFTTT. This gets better with Jawbone’s latest version of fitness band UP24 which has bluetooth funcationality as additional hardware in comparison with the existing UP band. One better example is UP24 can detect when you are up and can start your coffee maker or turn on lights automatically.

Overall impression: I am using UP24 band for almost 2 months now and am not at all disappointed by it’s performance. However, Jawbone UP app needs a major overhoul which according to Jawbone is due soon. Keeping my hopes up for it.

Price: Both UP and UP24 bands are available at major retailers in the US. UP comes at $129.99 and UP24 comes at $149.99 price tag.