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Jawbones UP Band

Updated on May 2, 2015

What is the UP Band

I received an intriguing gift for Xmas in 2012. At the time it was 'cutting edge' technology, which seemed aimed squarely at my 'baby boom' generation. The gift is called the Jawbones UP band.

The UP band is a wearable fitness device designed to improve people's overall health by providing lifestyle information and suggestions to make better choices. It's similar in looks to the rubber band 'bracelets' that were popular several years back (the ones that everyone wore to show they supported a cause of some kind) but with just a little more structure. But the UP Band is far from a simple rubber band on the inside, and the technology of it is really quite amazing!

I'm an avid gadget lover, But this type of gadget was new to me. It was given to me by my son, who was in college at the time, and who, I suspect secretly wanted one for himself. The information it provides can be extremely helpful, especially considering how easy it is to setup and learn how to use. The longer I used it the more I loved it...at least at first. When it was first released, it was only really made available for users of Apple devices like the iPad or iPhone, although Jawbone said that they were developing an app for android devices as well.

Photo Credit: My new UP Band

Photo Credit: iPhone pic of my UP Band Charging Correctly
Photo Credit: iPhone pic of my UP Band Charging Correctly

Quick Review of UP Bands Features

Use Caution When Charging the UP Band

The Jawbone UP band looks like an ordinary, albeit somewhat utilitarian, bracelet. It comes in several different colors, and the one I received was a pretty light aqua color. It only needs recharging about every 10 days, and you do that by plugging it into an USB port with the included adapter. It is important to charge it this way instead of plugging it into USB wall charger, which is what I did with the first one I received.

After using it for about a month, it stopped working, and Jawbones support provided me with a replacement, even allowing me to switch to black, with the caveat to charge it correctly after that. I switched to black because it blends more readily into my wardrobe colors, and the aqua color, after about 30 days of continuous wear, started to have a 'worn' look to it.

Following the initial setup, all you do is wear it, and it monitors all of your movement (or in my case lack of it), you're eating patterns, and the most intriguing aspect to me, you're sleep patterns. How exactly it does this, especially the sleep part, is a bit of a mystery to me, but it's received accolades amongst the reviewers for its accuracy and precision.

Photo Credit: iPhone pic of UP Band in Package
Photo Credit: iPhone pic of UP Band in Package

Steps for Initial Setup

Download an app from iTunes

The packaging, while beautiful, was hard for me to open. Ultimately my son, who's an engineering student in college, got it open, but it wasn't easy for him either without breaking the cool plastic box that I wanted to keep.

But that really was the hardest part! After that there's a tiny guide that tells you to plug it into your iPhone or iPad, and download the app, then it asks you to enter some data about yourself like age and gender, which it uses too provide you with useful ideas of how you compare to the an average person with those same characteristics. It runs through a brief tutorial of how the app is organized and how you use it, and that's it...you're up and running!

How 'Not' to Charge the UP Band

How 'Not' to Charge the UP Band
How 'Not' to Charge the UP Band

Diet and Calorie Intake

The only somewhat time consuming aspect of daily use is entering your daily food intake, which I did for the first month, but since that's not an area of concern for me personally, I stopped after a while. But they make it extremely easy to enter what you eat. You can type in something like a hamburger and fries, and then it shows you pictures and possible serving sizes to choose between. Or if you eat something from a package you can just scan the barcode. The app itself scans the code, very quickly too, then searches thru this huge database, and generally finds exactly the correct food item, then you just indicate any changes to it, like if you had more than one serving.

Photo Credit: Print Artist
Photo Credit: Print Artist

My Family Struggles with Sleep Abnormalities

The UP Band is great tool for baby boomers to track their own behavioral patterns with, and I think the three areas it tracks, diet, activity and sleep, are the 3 essentials we need to focus on to stay healthy and age well. But for me personally, it's the information pertaining to sleep patterns that I think is most beneficial. I've struggled for most of my adult life with sleep issues, along with several other members of my family. We've had several sleep studies performed at some of the top medical facilities in the US, but sleep is a very complicated function and nothing really conclusive has been determined to date.

I'm really amazed and impressed with the amount of data this little wrist band has given me about my own sleep patterns, and I'm hopeful that it will provide one more piece to the puzzle to help us figure out what's wrong. The adults amongst us have all been able to adapt our lives in ways that allow us to function well within the circumstances. We've been really lucky in that regard, but watching our kids struggle with the same issues is hard. As parents, we want to to make things easier for their generation, and I suspect with medical advances and devices like the UP Band, we'll be able to do that.

Syncing the UP Band

After a few days' worth of data collection, you plug it into your iPad again and open the app and sync it, and then it gives you all this wonderful data about yourself. The parts I found interesting were my activity levels, which were pretty pitiful. Even on my most active days I didn't come anywhere close to meeting my average goal of 10,000 steps a day, which apparently is the average amount of steps for a person my age and gender. But I have some problems believing that...because really, I'm not that lethargic! What's even more fascinating is the data it collects on your sleep patterns, which was really surprising to me. I discovered why I'm often tired when I wake up in the morning...because I didn't really sleep all that much...I'm awake a lot more than I realized!

It takes all of your data and displays it in beautiful bar graphs of your life, and shows you how close you came to reaching your goals each day. There is also a social aspect to it, if you have friends who also own UP bands, you can link to them and motivate each other, but I don't know too much about how that works since I don't know anyone else that has one.

Some Favorite ios App Display Screens in 2012

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is the main menu for the app on my iPadThis is the settings section where you can change your goals or setup some additional features, like a wake-up alarm or an idle alertYour activity can be displayed in bar graphs which have many different variables you select to display graphicallyAnother view of the activity bar graphs using different variablesAdditional graphs display your daily activity in a summarized format that you can quickly scroll through day by daySleep data is displayed in bar graphs which are similar to the activity bar graphsAnother view of the sleep bar graphs using different variablesOne of the daily suggestions generated based on your personalized dataA help screen showing how to use the stopwatch featureThe setup screen for programming your band to wake you up from a 'Power' nap
This is the main menu for the app on my iPad
This is the main menu for the app on my iPad
This is the settings section where you can change your goals or setup some additional features, like a wake-up alarm or an idle alert
This is the settings section where you can change your goals or setup some additional features, like a wake-up alarm or an idle alert
Your activity can be displayed in bar graphs which have many different variables you select to display graphically
Your activity can be displayed in bar graphs which have many different variables you select to display graphically
Another view of the activity bar graphs using different variables
Another view of the activity bar graphs using different variables
Additional graphs display your daily activity in a summarized format that you can quickly scroll through day by day
Additional graphs display your daily activity in a summarized format that you can quickly scroll through day by day
Sleep data is displayed in bar graphs which are similar to the activity bar graphs
Sleep data is displayed in bar graphs which are similar to the activity bar graphs
Another view of the sleep bar graphs using different variables
Another view of the sleep bar graphs using different variables
One of the daily suggestions generated based on your personalized data
One of the daily suggestions generated based on your personalized data
A help screen showing how to use the stopwatch feature
A help screen showing how to use the stopwatch feature
The setup screen for programming your band to wake you up from a 'Power' nap
The setup screen for programming your band to wake you up from a 'Power' nap
Photo Credit: iPhone pic of UP Band Button
Photo Credit: iPhone pic of UP Band Button

A Few Additional Features that I Love

In the photo to the right I've put a pen pointing to the end of the band that's a button you press to let it know when your going to sleep at night and when your getting up in the morning.

Two features that I didn't initially use were the 'Power Nap' feature and the "Idle Alert".

The Power Nap feature is my absolute favorite. It allows you to enter the length of time that you'd like to nap for and also how much time you'd actually like to sleep during the nap. Somehow it's able to differentiate between when you're falling asleep versus when you're really asleep...a handy feature for someone who likes to take quick cat naps throughout the day! I've tested this feature and it's really quite accurate. This may well prove to be one of those features that I never knew I needed, but now that I have it, I may not be able to survive without it going forward!

What's so AMAZING about the Power Nap feature is that if you're feeling stressed, you are able to relax and fall asleep very quickly...because you can rely on it to wake you up within the allotted time!!!

The Idle Alert is intended to give you a warning if you've been sitting for too long. The band vibrates after an amount of time that you input previously. This feature required a little tweaking at first. Initially I set it for too short of a time, and it scared me by vibrating and causing me to lose my concentration briefly. But after I settled upon a good time length of time for me, it actually worked quite well for this purpose too. I continue to use this feature, although I did disable it for a while, then reenabled it and tweaked it some more.

Fast Forward to 2015 | What I Missed & What Now?

Due to some of the charging issues mentioned earlier and my general sort of forgetful nature, during the UP's replacement there ended up being a big chunk of time in which I didn't use my UP Band at all. What changed all that was the Apple Watch, which I intended to preorder ASAP.

But I didn't, even though that was supposed to be my big birthday present...for reasons way too numerous to detail here. But in my pre-Watch excitement I decided to drag out the old UP Band and give it another go.

There were issues getting it charged and operating so while at Costco one day, I happened upon one, and only one, available for a small sized wrist...for the amazing sum of only $26.00!

I figured I had 90 days to try it out...and in fact, I'm still well within that period...but I have no intention of doing so.

Why I Like the UP Band in 2015

  1. Simplicity and ease of use
  2. It seems 'smarter' than before
  3. Outside of charging 'fragilities' my UP seems to be almost indestructable.

Below are links to two additional reviews I felt were really helpful.

The UP Band was released a little over a year ago and shortly following it's release it was pulled off the market by Jawbones because there were a lot of user complaints. Jawbones redesigned both the band itself and the app, and the two reviews I'm including here provide more comprehensive information about the band and its competitors.

Have you tried any of these 'new age' fitness devices? Please leave a comment with your experiences if you have.

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    • vsajewel profile image
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      vsajewel 4 years ago

      @artbyrodriguez: Hi! Thanx so much for the suggestion and blessing my lens! I really appreciate it and will do that right now.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      So interesting! Never heard of this, but I am intrigued. Very informative lens. RocketSquid tip...customize the bio using key words from the introduction title. Nice work!

    • vsajewel profile image
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      vsajewel 4 years ago

      @Mr Criminology: Thanx for reading! That's exactly why I wanted to write about it, but then I found a whole world of these types of devices that I never knew about before:-)

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      very interesting product, not all people knew this product exist

    • vsajewel profile image
      Author

      vsajewel 4 years ago

      @sodaniel: Hi, thanx for reading! I really love it, but was sad when the first one stopped working. Apparently the first release had charging issues and one of the areas they overhauled. And I did charge it the wrong way, although at the time I didn't think that would matter. When I got the replacement I asked the what wattage it required because there wasn't anything on the packaging or the website about that. The customer service person I talked to couldn't find anything either...which I thought was odd. but I've had this new one for about a month now, which is when the other one died, and so far no problems. They have a user forum that I checked to see of other people had the same problem and I didn't find anyone that had. But in reading Amazon reviews I think I did see that someone else did. So, the jury is still out on that. After reading your lens I think yours is way better for diet and weight management. I really loved your lens and was really impresses with the technology...and it has a scale which is cool. For my purposes the UP band is probably better. I really missed not having it the few weeks I waited for the replacement.

    • profile image

      sodaniel 4 years ago

      Oh and yes! I am a total fitbit junky!

    • profile image

      sodaniel 4 years ago

      What has been your overall experience with the Up Band. The first release was a major bomb, but these new ones seem to be solid.