Gadget review: The Jawbone Up

Launched in 2011 and with close to 20% of all sales, the Jawbone Up is now the second best-selling tracker on the market.


Like most wristband trackers it measures your steps and sleep. It also helps you log your calorie-intake (though that is too much work for me).

Jawbone released a new model last year – the Jawbone UP 24, which syncs via Bluetooth and retails at $149. The previous model is still on sale for $99 and that is the version that I’ve tested during three months.

Here are three things I like about it:

1. Info on the mobile app
The mobile app is the best of all trackers I know. I am not a big fan of the design (it’s too colorful) but information-wise it’s great. I see the most important information at a glance and I get useful tips every day.


2 It’s easy to wear
I am not a big fan of wearing trackers around my wrist. It’s why I love the Misfit Shine. But as far as wrist-tracker go, the Jawbone is pretty good: it looks okay and, most importantly, it’s easy to put on and off – especially when you compare it to the frustrating mechanism of the Fitbit Flex.

3. Good sleep data
Some trackers just tell you how many hours you’ve slept. The Jawbone Up tells me more: How long it took me to fall asleep, how often I woke up and how much sound sleep (vs. light sleep) I am getting. This helps me see how my routines influence my sleep and that is important to me because I’ve suffered insomnia during years.


Over to the things I don’t like so much

1. Cumbersome sync
I don’t like how the Jawbone UP syncs with my iPhone via the headphone jack. It works well but I prefer devices that sync automatically (which is what the latest model does of course). Making matters worse: the cap is much too easy to lose. It’s hard to meet someone who is in possession of a Jawbone Up and hasn’t lost or at least misplaced the cap.


2. Too much and too little information
Even though the mobile app is the best of all trackers, it has too many options. There is a Lifeline and I can look at graphs but all that is hard to make sense of. Mobile just isn’t the right environment for that type of information. I’d like to consult it on a web app but Jawbone doesn’t offer that.

3. No visual cues
The device itself doesn’t give you any cue on how close you are to reaching your daily goals. You have to sync and look at your phone to find out. That’s a pity because it doesn’t take a screen in the tracker to show that – as the neat solutions on the Fitbit Flex and Misfit Shine demonstrate.

Do I recommend it?

The Jawbone Up is a good device. It works well and is comfortable to wear.

Is it the right device for you? That depends on what you are tracking for. The Jawbone doesn’t have the community features that make the Fitbit Flex so much fun and it doesn’t reach the Misfit Shine in terms of looks and wearability.

But if you want tips and insights and if you want to put your data to the best possible use, the Jawbone Up may be for you. In that case, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

CEO & Co-founder of Addapp. I love tracking, coffee, anything cooked by my mom, startups, and quantifiedself.

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