Full disclosure: it was the minimalist design and bright colors of the Jawbone UP that got me on board with this challenge. Finally, a fitness tracker that didn't take up prime real estate on my arm! But I was surprised to find that once the stats started rolling in, I didn't take it off.
While the readings weren't an exact science, nothing beat seeing my regular weekend hikes going well over 40K steps, earning me that Bloody Mary and then some. Weekdays didn't have the same gratification; on days I didn't hit the gym, I was lucky to make it to 7,000 steps a day. The upside is this only fueled me to add in extra steps whenever I could. I once found myself doing laps around the grocery store before shopping just so I could hit my goal of 10,000 steps a day.
I was into looking at my sleep patterns in the beginning but eventually found myself forgetting to turn the feature on every night, and also just doubting how the Jawbone UP analyzes deep sleep vs. light sleep altogether. When looking at my sleep patterns next to my fitness patterns, I ultimately did not find any correlations between the two.
Favorite feature: The social aspect of the Jawbone UP really helped me stick to my daily goal of 10K steps. I found myself wanting to beat — well, at least come close to — the number of steps my colleagues were hitting each day. Knowing they were able to see just how much (or how little) I was moving was huge in motivating me to not skip a workout.
Least favorite feature: When it comes to exercise, I live on a Spin bike. Unfortunately, cycling is something the Jawbone UP can't track accurately. While you are able to log a workout, it only provides an estimate of general calories burned. It was frustrating to see my stats after cycling my heart out for a full hour — as far as my UP was concerned, I might as well have been lying on the couch.
Verdict: I think the Jawbone UP is a great tool for someone looking for a smartly designed pedometer or a fitness newbie who is looking for a little extra motivation to stick with their goals. But if you want to measure activities beyond running and walking, you're better off investing in a heart rate monitor.
— Michele Foley, editor, Fitness