Office Life

Jawbone’s Newest Gadget, ‘UP’: Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Is it possible for a bracelet to help you live a better life by sleeping better, eating smarter, and moving around more? Most people would be skeptical, but the company Jawbone has created a wristband (it’s called UP) that tracks daily activity and sleep patterns to make you more aware of your daily habits, from exercise to sleep.

Sounds pretty cool, right? I say for $99, it had better be amazing. However, since being released for sale to the public, UP has had many mixed reviews. Some users love the wristband, while others have had multiple problems from the beginning.

Let me tell you a little bit about the physical features of Jawbone’s UP. The exterior is made of steel and rubber, so it’s sweat and water resistant, and there is a covered USB connector on the end for charging the device. There are precision motion sensors on the inside, which track movement and sleep activity, along with a vibration motor to power the silent alarm and reminders. And last is the rechargeable battery that only has to be charged every ten days.

How does UP work and why would it be useful?

Like I said before, UP is intended to help you live a healthier lifestyle and it’s promoted as a social experience. The motion sensors track your daily physical activity and logs it to an app on a “smart device” (it’s compatible with iPhones, iPods, and iPads). You can share your daily activity with friends and family who also have UP. There are options to challenge or compete with others, such as who can walk more steps in a day or who works out more in a week, etc. This is supposed to motivate the healthy behavior by making it a social goal and a fun competition.

UP by Jawbone
UP tracks activity and inactivity for the most accurate results.

The UP wristband also tracks inactivity. When you have been sitting still for more than 15 minutes at a time, the device vibrates to remind you to get up and move around. This would be great in an office setting for those of us who sit at a desk and work all day, and it’s not distracting to others.

UP can also be put in sleep mode to monitor how well you’re sleeping. The motion sensors detect how much you move while sleeping to determine what phase of sleep you’re in and how much sleep you’re actually getting. The device is programed to wake you at a specific time with a gentile vibration while you’re in the lightest phase of sleep.

The product promotes healthy eating with a digital food journal. Users log what they eat daily and give a brief explanation about how they felt after eating said food, and they can also snap a picture of the food before eating it. The data is saved for future reference.

What are some pros and cons concerning UP?

Pros:

  • UP promotes a social and healthy lifestyle.
  • It has a built in vibrating alarm clock and reminder.
  • It’s very gender neutral, and has over 5 colors to choose from.

Cons:

  • The motion sensors only detect arm movement, causing inaccurate readings for most people.
  • If you forget to put it in sleep mode, your data is inaccurate and your daily progress suffers.
  • UP cannot be used without an app, so if you don’t have an Apple smart device, you can’t use it. However, they are currently producing an Android app!

Takeaways from Jawbone and the UP wristband:

Be open to suggestions: When your company develops a new product, be open to suggestions from your customers on how to improve the item. Jawbone has a Community tab on the UP page that allows users to comment on the product by giving suggestion about how to improve UP.

Have product support available: Customers can also leave questions on the community tab for the Jawbone staff, whether they have a simple question about how to use the product or app, or what to do if the product is not working properly. The support team can give the user the appropriate answer or plan of action. If others are having the same problem, they can just read the message board and not have to e-mail someone and wait for an answer.

On a whole, I think UP is a cool and innovative product. It has great features and could be really useful in the right setting. But is it really worth $99? I don’t think so. I think it’s a fad that will fade away and be forgotten about. If I had this device I would probably wear it for a week and get tired of it. I’m sure there are others out there who would love this product, but it’s in the beginning stages of its life, and I think it will be a while before it really reaches its full potential.