Wearable tech is the fashion these days, and with the sheer volume of fitness trackers out there, one is really spoilt for choice. But while most fitness trackers are still rudimentary or too expensive, one stands out among the rest. Say hello to the Jawbone UP2. Jawbone has been known to possess the best fitness tracker app there is on any market online, and that’s just the start. Initially, when Jawbone released the UP2 variant, it had two visible short falls,namely, a heart rate sensor, and a comfortable fit. The latter went on to harrass almost everyone who bought the piece, which is why Jawbone, decided to head back to the drawing board, and release a new refined model of the Up2, which I will be reviewing today.
So, straight off the bat, the new Jawbone UP2 has been improved in all aspects, but what is most important to note, is that it now features a super comfortable and snug fit on your wrist, which means, that, unlike its older predecessor, the new Up2 device will not fall off your wrist every now and then. While the UP2 fans rejoiced over this new announcement, Jawbone decided to throw in a software upgrade to their lineup, which brought in the amazing sleep tracker feature, indirectly making the UP2 , arguably, the best fitness tracker device in the market today.
Before we jump into the review, reader can note that the new UP2 device will cost you $100 in the US. Jawbone has also decided to keep their older UP2 model on sale as well, but looking at the host of new improvements that the company has bundled in their newer variant, exactly who would go in for the older variant is a mystery to me.
What is the UP2 all about ?
The first question in any new comer’s mind would be the one posted above. For the benefit of those who really are new to this sort of technology, the Jawbone Up2 is a bare boned fitness tracker device. People usually have this common misconception that a fitness tracker also acts like a sort of smart watch device, but that’s not true. The Up2 has been designed to help the user stay fit, and despite the fact that it lacks a heart rate monitor and a GPS, it still carries out its task with relative ease. Its a device that has been designed keeping style and practicality in mind, and though it may be accepted that it could have done with at least a heart rate sensor, trust me, once you start using this device, you won’t even realise that its missing that feature. Simply put, the UP2 can perform all basic tasks ( Count the number of steps you take each day, Distance you travel, and the calories you burn ) and looks good while doing them. Earlier, users would have to tap the band to put it to sleep mode, but now, thanks to the latest software update provided by Jawbone, the UP2 features sleep tracker, which means that the device automatically detects when you are asleep, and does the needful. What all this means is that Jawbone is now in league with its rivals ( Fitbit,Garmin and Misfit ).
Coming to the automatic sleep tracker, I must say that its still a work in progress. This is because, there are times when the UP2 is unable to detect whether you are asleep or just lying down, and the results that follow can be hilariously annoying. Another factor that goes against this sleep tracker technology is the fact that the UP2 lacks a heart rate monitor, which means that the device relies solely on the movement of your wrist for its various measurements.
One thing that the UP2 has going for it is that you can use it as a sort of silent alarm of sorts as it provides the user with a feature to set it to a light vibrate mode. Once enabled, the UP2 will lightly vibrate, and serves the purpose of waking you up every morning without hammering your ears with those nasty jarring sounds that you get on your smartphone devices. There is also another feature known as the smart sleep window. In this, the UP2 devices attempts to wake you up, in case you are in a state of light sleep. It’s not very efficient, so i’d rather you stay away from that feature for the time being.
The new UP2 device is better than its predecessor in every possible way. The design is super simplistic, and feels amazing when worn on the wrist. The older version did have a nagging issue of falling off every once in a while , but thanks to the new design mechanism, the falling off the wrist problem is now a thing of the past.
On the top side, both the UP2 devices look the same. When you flip them over however, you will clearly see the difference.
The new UP2 device features two thin straps on either side with a small hook clasp on one of the straps that is hooked onto to an adjustable bar. Another cool thing you can do with the UP2 is that you can wear it on your wrist , with the bands facing on top, so that it looks more like a nice bracelet, than a fitness tracker.
Jawbone has also made their new UP2 model fully water proof, which means that you can fearlessly do your dishes, or even take a shower with the band on. It will hold out just fine. However, make sure you absolutely don’t wear it on you when going for a swim. It may be water proof to a certain degree, so pushing it a bit too far would not be recommended.
The UP2 lacks a display ,which is both, a boon and a bane. The absence of a display means that the UP2 is super slim, but it also means that you will still have to take out your smartphone in order to check your activity status.
The best part of the Jawbone UP2, or for that matter, any Jawbone device, is its software. The Jawbone UP app is super colourful and super powerful, and is supported on both iOS and Android devices ( So sorry Windows Phone Users ).
The app features a host of different features apart from the fitness tracker. Other than tracking your walking or jogging sessions everyday, you can also track the food you eat, or even your mood swings. For those super competitive people out there, the Jawbone app enable you to create groups, and compete amongst each other, to see who is the fittest of the lot. Whats more, the Jawbone app can also pair with several popular third party apps as well, making it super versatile.
Whast amazing is that once you start using the UP2 device and app on a regular basis, the app tracksyour activity, and starts giving you coaching tips to help you improve your regime. It also throws different fitness based challenges at you to help you take your fitness a step ahead, but of course, its up to you to accept or reject the challenges.
All in all, the UP2 device along with the Jawbone apps, are like the fitness coach you never head, and much more. YOu have to use it to really believe it.
Battery Life –
Jawbone claims that the UP2 will last you 10 days on a single charge. On constant usage though, I can safely say that Jawbone wasn’t lying about that. The numbers may not be exactly 10 days, but you can squeeze out a week with relative ease. This performance it at par with that of its competitor, the FitBit Charge, which also gives you a week on a single charge. Other players, like the Garmin Vivofit and Misfit Shine each have a coin battery that can last up to one year.
As far as charging is concerned, the UP2 features the same charger provision as the original UP2. It’s basically a 4 pin magnetic connector which connects to your computer or wall charger, and takes up to an hour and a half to hit 100 % charge.
The new look UP2 is definitely, leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, in all aspects. Sure, it may not have the more advanced features that you find in most fitness trackers today, but its amazing app propels the product forward in the race, making it a must have for any fitness enthusiast. I would strongly recommend buying the Jawbone UP2 , if you are indeed on a lookout for fitness trackers, but make sure that the model you are buying is the new redesigned one, as the older variant has issues you might not like dealing with.