Review: Jawbone Up

Another area that could do with some tweaking is the sleep portion.

We must admit, we’re kind of surprised that a wristband that can apparently monitor muscle movement when you’re sleeping to determine the difference between light sleep and deep sleep can’t actually work out that if you haven’t moved for a long period of time and it’s late, as well as how your body is positioned, that it should automatically switch into sleep mode.

It’s not a huge issue to get around: you simple hold down the one button on the Up for a second and let it tell you it’s now in sleep mode, the motor vibrating and a moon lighting up on the band.

Still, if this wristband can determine what you’re doing when you’re sleeping, why doesn’t it have the logic to work out when you’ve fallen asleep and haven’t pushed the button to switch over into sleeping mode?

If you fall asleep and forget to switch the Up band into sleep mode, it won't record your sleep.

It’s a fair question we think, as is why is the Up measuring extra footsteps?

We were a little concerned when after a fairly average day at the office with what we could assume would be 3,000 (ish) footsteps, our Up told us we had almost magically hit 5,000.

That seemed a little high, so we tested something, measuring with 20 footsteps. While we had counted 20, the Up measured it as 22 on the arm that wasn’t dominant (the right for this reviewer), while the left arm, the dominant one, showed up as 24 steps.

As a second test, we grabbed a Fitbit Ultra and took it for a spin around the office at the same time as the Up, and found that there was a discrepancy of about 10-20 between them per 100 footsteps, suggesting that the Up might be a little generous in how it calculates footsteps.

It’s not a massive problem, but once you start pushing into the thousands of footsteps, it’s possible that the number is artificially higher based on how the band is working the maths out and not relying on actual hip or leg movement altogether.

If there was a small clock on the Up, we probably wouldn't wear a watch.

One other thing: we’d love to have a clock on the wrist band, because if you’re already wearing a watch, keeping an extra band on your wrist is like wearing two watches, which feels like overkill, even if they perform two different functions.

Being able to add food is a neat way of tracing how you're eating, and you can do this by snapping a picture of your food and adding the serving and calorie content either manually or by searching through a database of ingredients.


Jawbone’s Up is certainly an interesting interpretation of how a fitness monitoring band should work, and the company has really pulled some neat ideas together in this gadget, but it won’t be for everyone.

We’re big fans of the sleep functionality, and the silent alarm clock is a really great way to wake up in the morning, especially if you don’t want to wake someone else in the same room.

That said, it would be good to see Jawbone fix some of the issues, like the over-counting of footsteps, and the lack of software from a computer point of view. Still, if you’re keen to see how you’re going, and are looking for some inspiration to get off that seat, Jawbone’s Up is certainly worth taking a look at.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Water resistant means you can use it in the shower; The Up app puts together some useful information and allows you to watch your friends; Using 3.5mm to transfer data is a pretty cool concept; Great battery life;
Despite being able to monitor muscle movement and twitching, it can't work out when to switch itself into night's sleep mode; Can't be used when swimming or surfing; Android app can be buggy and only likes some devices;