Jawbone's followup to its popular UP fitness wristband has finally entered the Australian market. Priced at $179, the UP24 adds a handful of improvements to its predecessor including a sturdier wristband, automated data updates and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. But is it an essential upgrade? Here are our first impressions.
For those who are new to the whole fitness computing craze, the Jawbone UP24 is a motion-sensing wristband that tracks everything from your sleeping patterns to the number of steps you walk per day. This data is then fed back to the user's phone via personalised updates that attempt to improve day-to-day living. In other words, it attempts to be a personal trainer as well as a fitness tracker.
The UP24's main claim to fame is its improved connectivity. The previous UP required users to physically plug their wristband into their phones to transfer fitness data. Thanks to the addition of Bluetooth, it's now possible to connect wirelessly to compatible iPhone and Android handsets. This allows the UP24 to make periodic, automatic updates when your phone is within range -- very convenient.
Jawbone has also updated the UP app to coincide with the release of the new wristband. When we looked at the first Jawbone Up, we commented on how game-like the app was -- all those colourful health and well-being gauges made us feel like characters from The Sims. This "gamification" has been ramped up for the UP24, with a renewed focus on personal milestones and challenges.
For example, the Today I Will feature encourages uses to take on specific commitments relating to either sleep, movement, or water intake. If the user opts into the challenge, they need to reach the projected goal in 24 hours. The app also sends you celebratory messages when you reach certain streaks and milestones: they're basically Xbox 360 Achievements for the fitness set.
iOS users also get some additional goodies, including tailored fitness reminders and detailed assessments of your steps and sleep over multiple weeks. Naturally, the software is also compatible with Jawbone's new Coffee UP app, which you can read about here.
All of the new features are compatible with both the UP and UP24 -- so if you have the old wristband, make sure you update the app!
The Jawbone UP24's design will be instantly familiar to fans of the original UP: it retains the same distinctive “functional jewellery” aesthetic as before, albeit with a lightly thicker wristband (they had to fit the Bluetooth in somewhere). Curiously, the range of colours has also been scaled back to a choice between black and orange.
Jawbone has also tweaked the positioning of the control button which previously suffered from wear-and-tear issues. Otherwise, the company has taken an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach to the new gadget's design.
I've been wearing the Jawbone UP24 for the past few weeks and so far I've been pretty happy with it. The data automation is obviously a huge plus -- if you want a fresh update, you simple swipe your finger across the notification icon.
It's not perfect however: one significant drawback to the new wristband is the omission of a 3.5mm jack. In other words, you can't physically plug the device into your phone, which is obviously problematic if your Bluetooth connection happens to play up.
Also, despite poessessing girlishly narrow wrists, the band left slightly painful indentations on my skin. However, I suspect this has more to do with dodgy table manners (i.e. -- I tend to rest my arms on the edge of the desk).
Like its predecessor, the UP24 requires the user to manually switch the band into Sleep mode before heading into bed. This is easy to forget, which means your sleeping patterns won't be tracked. We're not sure how Jawbone could rectify this issue, but it remains an annoyance. (On the plus side, it's now possible to manually key in an approximation of the data yourself, which is better than nothing.)
The UP24 is available now from most Australian retailers for an RRP of $179. It is currently only available for iOS and Android (4.3 and higher). The company is actively looking into Windows Phone but has yet to announce any concrete plans.
- iPhone 4s and newer
- iPod touch 5th Gen and newer
- iPad 3rd Gen and newer
- iPad mini and newer
- Select Android Devices (Android 4.3 and later)
Are you a Jawbone UP user? What do you think of the new upgrade? Are there any rival fitness trackers which you feel do a better job? Share your opinions in the comments section below.