It finally happened, the Jawbone UP Fitness Band has joined the world of wireless devices. This is a great move and many might say about time. There were some wrinkles when the UP first came on the market, but we have to give credit where credit is due: The Jawbone UP was one of the very first health tracking devices on the mass market.
Officially called the Jawbone UP24, this new version is touting Bluetooth connectivity. Besides a change in texture, it is almost identical in appearance to the original versions.
As can be expected, adding Bluetooth to the device results in a little bit of a shorter battery life between charges. Originally the UP claimed 10 days per charge, which we found fairly accurate. The UP24 promises to last around 7 days. It will be good to test this out over time. With all things wireless, batteries can be drained more or less depending on how strong the signal needs to be. Environmental conditions and distance to the connecting device may cause this to vary.
Despite the Jawbone UP24 now communicating wirelessly, it has retained a headphone jack style plug for connecting to its charger. However, it is now a 2.5mm instead of a 3.5mm. That’s fine, but it is interesting to note that it still has an end cap that might get lost during charging. Since all data is only transmitted wirelessly and not through the headphone jack like on previous models, it would’ve been interesting if they opted for a wireless charger. Not only would it be easier to do, but they would be able to truly make the UP24 waterproof. Currently the device is only water resistant.
There is a social component to using the Jawbone UP24 where users can track and compare their progress with friends, teammates, and others. However, the info that is traded is relatively minimal, and there is no way to tell if the person you are competing against is in the same demographic as you, such as sex, weight, height, age, etc… But perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Besides, in this world of over-sharing nd lack of privacy, maybe there is a line there that needs to be drawn.
In general, I feel myself wanting to call the Jawbone UP24 a wellness tracker more than a fitness tracker. Lack of a display for immediate feedback and the fact that it doesn’t connect to a scale for real-time weight, BMI and body fat percentage puts its information at a distance from those who are truly trying to get fit by staying… well, active.
However, there are a few things that the Jawbone UP24 really gets right. It has its own highly functional app that does an amazing job with logging your dietary intake and then making suggestions for better food and beverage choices. It even has a bar code scanning function that allows instant nutritional information on many pre-packaged food products.
And after all that exercise and food, who wouldn’t need a nap? The sleep log functions measure the length and quality of your sleep, providing plenty of detailed stats. The Jawbone UP24 will tell you how many times you woke during the night, how much light or deep slumber you had, and how quickly you were able to reach your REM (dream) state.
Unfortunately, the UP24 has launched as an iOS-only device. For those lucky enough to be on an Apple iOS device, the selection of 3rd party apps is truly deep. However they are promising that Android support should be soon to follow. Like many app creators, Jawbone blames the delay on the difficulty the variety of Android devices that are on the market, as well as the fact that the adoption rate of the latest Android OS is hit or miss and can vary greatly depending on both the manufacturer and the telecom platform. Let’s hope it’s not far behind, because this is a really fun device and it would be great to see more people benefit from its use.
Available for $149.99 directly from Jawbone, it should be available at other major retail outlets after November 19th. We’ll try to keep you posted and will list Amazon links below (the current links are for the original hardwired version).