Review of Jabone UP vs Fitbit vs Fuelband

I recently purchased the Jawbone UP and since owning it have been asked a lot about how it compares to other similar devices I have used. I thought it would be best to give a rundown of the UP versus Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband.

Jawbone UP isn’t brand new, but something that is new to UP is that it is now one of the ingredients in IFTTT recipes which you can use to connect devices and social networks to create sophisticated systems and log / manipulate data in very useful ways. I noticed this last month, so I immediately started looking at reviews of the UP as an alternative to the Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband, both of which are comparable in terms of price, functionality and accuracy. Being able to play with your body data and what you do with is using IFTTT I found incredibly compelling, so for me it was a no brainer to invest.

Jawbone UP app

The Jawbone UP app

Here is a run down of the things I like so far (one month in) from owning a Jawbone UP.

The good points:

  • IFTTT integration is fantastic. UP is an ingredient which can be a trigger or an output. So for example if you don’t get enough sleep, you can programme the UP to log your mood as ‘Exhausted’, if you take a photo of food on Instagram you can programme your UP to save it in your app, or if you walk over a certain distance in a day you can automatically tweet, post to Facebook, turn the lights on and off… anything really.
  • The silent, vibrating, intelligent, Sleep Cycle-esque alarm is fantastic. The powernap alarm I have not used too much but think is pretty cool too
  • The app in itself is beautiful and presents a rich seam of data
  • The food logging barcode scanner is fast and accurate
  • Battery life is better than anything else I have tested
  • There are so many other functions I have not tested out properly, such as weight logging, team functions, trends and goal setting. The data and what you can do with it really is very rich

The bad points:

  • No wireless sync is a pain, which Fitbit and Fuelband both do
  • No display means you cant check quickly on your progress the way you can with Fitbit or the Fuelband
  • Update: as of January 2014, my beloved Jawbone UP died. It runs out of battery within a minute and won’t be fixed using any of Jawbone’s troubleshooting tips. Upon asking everyone I know that has bought a Jawbone UP, I discovered that every single person, without fail, has had their device die on them in the first six months. To me this is not acceptable for a £99 piece of kit, and has me looking for a new leader in this currently three horse race…

Accuracy is a big deal for many users of this kind of gizmo. Having used combinations of the UP, Fitbit and Fuelband together, I would say whilst none of them are totally accurate, the UP is as accurate at counting movement at the Fuelband, and both are more accurate than Fitbit, which I find is consistently counting 10% more movement than the others. The UP’s rich data combined with accuracy means, for me, it’s a winner for this category of device. (see my review of the KiFit for something with more accuracy still).

In summary I am loving the Jawbone UP and am still experimenting with what I can do with it. It currently costs £99 and is available in a range of colours and three sizes, on sale in Apple stores and online.

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