Jawbone Up: A Review


For the most part of our lives we live on autopilot. Majority of the actions that we indulge in all through the day such as walking, sleeping, sitting, eating and other such very basic activities are performed almost involuntarily, out of habit. Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit places prime importance on being able to find patterns in our behaviour as the first step to being able to change unwanted habits. Being able to understand our behaviour plays an important role in living a better and informed life.

In late 2012, we saw the release of a new personal analytical tool, the Jawbone Up, which was launched in all the countries except India. It is an activity monitor wristband, which houses an accelerometer, and works with a smartphone app called Up, to track the user’s activity levels and sleeping patterns. It also provides the user with information on nutrition. In addition to that, it can be set to remind the user of prolonged periods of inactivity using its Idle Alert feature.

Jawbone Up joins an array of wearable technology products present in the market, like Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit One and the collection of smartwatches. However, this was an upgraded version of the wristband as it was removed from the market in the year 2011, after receiving numerous performance related complaints..

The app Up that accompanies the wristband is what adds greater functionality to the product. This app needs to be plugged into the smartphone to view the user data as it lacks a screen, unlike the Nike+ FuelBand. The app is compatible with operating systems like iOS 5.1,  Android 4.0 and their latest versions.

When you switch it on, the app asks for your basic information such as weight, height and sex. The app on syncing with the wristband displays data such as number of steps covered, the amount of sleep; split into deep and light sleep periods; amount of time for which the user was active and the amount of calories burnt.

The app enables the user to track the calorie of the food that they have eaten using its in-built food library. And if a user has a product with a barcode on it, he or she can add it to the library, by simply scanning the barcode. The app’s social feature allows its users to share data on social networks and follow other UP users as well.

On one end of the wristband there is a jack, similar to a headphone jack, which connects it to the smartphone and thus helps in charging or syncing in the data.

It has a declared battery life of about 10 days, but on average lasts for close to a week. Despite the absence of a screen as such, it does have a display that shows a flower to indicate that its day time and a moon in the sleep tracking mode. The user can switch between the modes by pressing the only switch that’s at the end of the band.

Designed by Yves Behar, it is a great looking device that comes in eight different colours.

Though it can’t track metrics such as speed, and heart rate; and works only with a smartphone; Jawbone Up is a good solution for those who want to keep their daily activities, sleep and diet in check.

And with movements such as the Quantified Self the Jawbone UP looks to be in the right place at the right time.

Sheshera Mysore

Image source [http://cdn.slashgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/jawbone_up_live_1.jpg)]