Thursday, June 20, 2013

UP by Jawbone

I have to say, I did like my Fitbit, but would always loose it!  Then, when it was attached to my underthings, on the floor, my husband (trying to be as supportive as he can be) threw them into the washing machine...bye bye fitbit.  That was a year ago.  But, for the time I did have it, it made a difference!

I checked out the Fitbit Flex, which is a bracelet version of what I previously had, but eventually decided upon the UP. The bracelets make the mind think about movement more often because its not hidden from view, so you are reminded about it more often.  What were the deciding factors?
  • FitBit Flex band....saw numerous mentions of it breaking.  Clasping the Fitbit Flex’s strap shut is tricky.  The UP wristband snakes around your wrist, and takes no effort to put on or remove.
  • UP can also fit on your ankle, which is a added benefit if you want to wear it in a more discreet place.  Many of these devices inaccurately track stationary exercise (eg bikes, elliptical, treadmills), but if you can easily attach it to your ankle, problem is resolved!  You may not be moving your hands on a bike, but you are definitely moving your legs!  This isn't related to just stationary bikes, but bike riding outside is often misrepreseted as well.
  • I didn't want to burn my battery syncing via bluetooth.  UP ensures a quick sync via the speaker port on your phone.  Takes a second, really.  Sure, I would prefer wireless syncing, but its a small effort and its not a hindrence to me.  I also thought that the process of syncing will ensure that I look at the stats more often, and yet not always be in my face (as with the Flex).  I can appreciate both, however, I don't want to live looking at my steps every few seconds.  I'm inundated with data enough.
  • UP battery life is twice as long as the Flex (10 days v 5 days).
  • I had some Apple giftcards burning a whole in my pocket, and Apple sells UP :)
Now, both products are really, get the one you think you would enjoy wearing more.

Upon opening it, I could tell how simple it was!  The instructions simply tell you to access a URL via your smart phone.  I entered some basic information, and it asked me to plug it into the speaker port.  All set up!  Now, that was easy!

When first opening the app, you see the main screen:

When you scroll down, you will see a "feed" of all of your individual entries.  I can see the ease of adding this, but I don't use it.  Click on the details is just as easy and I prefer the visual of the individual screens.  The "feed" reminds me too much of a facebook feed, but doesn't serve me.  Easy enough not to slide my fingers down at least!

Slide your fingers to the right, you see:

Note: you can manually sync (eg if you modified your goals), but the syncing will occur automatically if you insert the UP into the speaker port.  For me, I just need to be cognizant that the "bumper" on my iPhone doesn't always make this easy, even when it appears that the UP is fully inserted into the phone's speaker port.  So, sometimes I just need to give it an extra push.

Slide your finger to the left, you see:

Easy enough to initiate some auto feeds into other applications (via the "Apps" icon). Yes, very iPhone-like.

The UP focuses mostly on activitity and sleeping.  The interface is very clean, so you can tell that it was initially geared towards Apple fans.  It does take a solid 2 days for you to view the "trends" screen.  Setting up the alarm was easy, and I no longer need my husband to call me at 6:30am (as he is already at work).  Setting up the "idle alarm" was easy as gently vibrates every 30 minutes of inactivity (except if i'm asleep).  It can also log a workout from the phone directly, so if I do something without my garmin (eg hot yoga), I can record this properly.

From the main screen, you can click on three vertical bars.  You basically want to ensure, by the end of the day, that both your steps and sleep icon go all the way "UP" to the top...yes, pun intended.  I had a 96% effective sleep. and thus far, I'm only at 16% of my daily activity goal.

When you click on the "Sleep" icon:

When you click on the "Steps" icon:

When you click on the "Food" icon:

The integration to and from MyFitnessPal seems appropriate.  Syncing is not an issue, and its quite speedy thus far.  The food detail does not come over, but the total calories consumed per meal, and the nutrition breakdown, comes over properly.  In addition, mealtimes are indicated on the timeline on the screen.  So, you can see in the image above, I had breakfast and lunch already.

Note, however, that UP is more focused on physical activity than weight loss. True, one is required to attain the other.  But for weight loss progress, I defer to MyFitnessPal.  That being said, if you want to ease efforts, this will do it....focus on the activity and sleep, and the goal of weight loss will be reached.  If you are a data nerd (like me), you will mostly want to look at the detail on MyFitnessPal.  This is actually a bit backwards, and I realize it.  Again, if you are doing everything right, you don't need to do anything else!  But I simply cannot NOT look at the data if its there.  So, in other words.....UP focuses on the lifestyle, while MyFitnessPal focuses on the daily goal.  I think there is value in both, but once I attain my goal, I cannot say that I will ever visit MyFitnessPal on a regular basis, but I will continue to utilize UP.

All in all, once I gained comfort with UP, I do like it!  I love the flexibility of the band. I love that i can place it on my ankle discreetly when I don't want to be so open about tracking my body.  While I was put back with the lack of weight loss focus on the UP, in the brief time I have had it, I now understand why.  Again, as a culture, we need to focus on the lifestyle....focus on the journey to being healthy, rather than the minutae in MyFitnessPal.

Well, for those on the fence, I hope this helps!

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