Jawbone Up 2 Review – New and Updated for 2016
Jawbone Up 2 on your wrist – will it ever be loose and fall off? No, and that is one of the firsts we are quick to note about the Up 2 by Jawbone. Almost immediately, we then spot the nicely different design of the Jawbone Up 2—we would have expected this to be an Up 3, but Jawbone had other ideas. Join us as we turn surgical on Jawbone’s newest Up2 activity and sleep tracker.
The new Up 2 should have been the direct successor to the great 2014 Jawbone Up24 sleep and activity tracker. No doubt.
First things first: We are referring to the Jawbone Up 2 update here. Jawbone decided to update (and redesign) the original Jawbone Up 2 after many of us thought it had some annoying issues on which we just could not lavish 90 GBP. First on that list of little nags was the clasp, which just couldn’t hold on. Who needs their nearly 100 GBP smart wristband falling off and potentially spoil the innards the very first time they try it? Not we, not even ever. Espcially not after losing our Fitbit Charge HR…
Jawbone Up 2 price when reviewed: $29.59
New Jawbone UP 2 Review 2016
The most noticeable change sticks right out of the surface. The new Jawbone Up 2 is slimmer, thinner, and lightweight (25 grams), and looks more like a trendy wristband than an activity tracker.
Up 2 Redesign
The original Jawbone Up 2 was chunkier compared to its contemporary successor, but the most striking change on the redesigned model is strap and clasp. Instead of the original thick bracelet-like look, the updated Up2 sports two style-savvy, thin rubber straps on either side.
One side hosts the aluminium metal clasp, which hooks onto a metal piece on the other side’s adjustable strap (check the photo below). That further means two more handy features you can try out. You can:
- fit it to your wrist, a spouse’s, or any other person’s wrist since it is adjustable and clasps right
- turn the wristband’s face to the opposite side of the wrist and make it look like a cool wristband
With this fastener setup, the new Jawbone2 is well secured to your wrist. In fact, so much so, that it can be a tiny bit stubborn when trying to take it off. Regardless, the revamped Up 2 is every bit better than its predecessor, and here are more reasons you won’t need to sweat trying to remove it at all.
Is Jawbone Up 2 Waterproof?
The Jawbone 2 Up bracelet is splash-proof. You don’t need to remove it to take a shower, or before doing the dishes, or tidying up in and around the home. And sweat drops won’t hydrate it either. What we wouldn’t vouch for is using it for more water-clogged activity such as swimming.
Splash-proof merely means water-resistant, and chunking your device in the nearest pool with impudence is the last thing you will do with your Jawbone Up2—both old and new models. We would request you check out the MisFit Shine if you need a waterproof band for diving and swimming.
Relevant: The Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker 2016
The Up 2 firmware update was long overdue
Apart from chunking it in water, there is a whole lot more you can do with Jawbone’s reloaded wristband. Up 2’s step tracking is pretty accurate, just like in the original Up2.
Still no Heart Rate Tracking…
However, despite heart rate monitoring being an activity tracker staple, you said you didn’t like missing on the original Up 2, Jawbone still didn’t fix this in the iteration model. So while you can accurately track how many steps you have moved in a day, you will still miss your heart rate reading all along. If you hoped to measure how your pulse changes with steps and pace you make, this might be a deal breaker for you, and Fitbit’s Charge HR (or stable-mate Up3) may vie for your attention and money.
Essential Reading: Battle of the Heavyweight Trackers: Jawbone UP3 vs Fitbit Charge HR
…And no GPS either
If you like your activity tracked in GPS readings, you won’t be so seduced either. The Up2 does not support GPS. So if you plan on using MapMyFitness (which the Up 2 supports), you may not be able to do so optimally. What you get, though, is Smart Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, just like in the older model. That is, of course, what your band will use to communicate with your smartphone.
Hopefully, another Jawbone firmware update will introduce computer synching to the wristband, although they might prefer to make that a preserve for the U p3 and beyond wristbands. The cheaper FitBit’s Flex for example includes Automatic USB Sync for computers.
New: Smart Alarm and Stop Watch
Also, you get a stop watch to time your bursts of activity, and a smart alarm to vibrate your mornings to a new day. These two were inconspicuously missing in the original Up2, despite being available in the now discontinued Up 24. Only thing is you must swipe out your smartphone to start those two features from the Jawbone Up mobile app—not just tap the device.
Note: Something else, ensure you are using the purple-coloured Jawbone app to log all your active, idle, slumber and eatery times. There are two different Jawbone apps for different Jawbone trackers.
How to Use Jawbone Up Bracelet
In the box, you will find a Quick Start Manual to help you get up to speed with the spiced up Up 2. And if the manual feels inadequate, the Jawbone website hosts support features you might find pretty helpful. Granted, here is what to expect of the Jawbone 2 Up bracelet.
No screen – No distraction
The revamped Up2 stays true to Jawbone’s mantra of not including touch screens to wristbands. While the user interface is laced with LED lights, the absence of an LCD means you must always slide out your chunky smartphone and use the Jawbone app for viewing Sleep Reports and Activity Reports, and pretty much anything else. We are not complaining, though. Including a touch screen may make the Up 2 something like a FitBit Charge, stocky and more distracting as you carry on with your day.
Up 2 Software
Your smartphone hosts most of the Up 2 software, pretty much like in the Up 24 case before it. And Jawbone made the Up App to support both iOS and Android devices, as well as recently adding support for Windows Phone. Accessorising the band to your smartphone is not nearly as bad as it may sound. That is because the Up 2 soft innards are quite the heavy-lifters. We’d call it one among the best fitness tracker apps in the market right now, which is what Jawbone fitness tracking software is.
Jawbone Up 2 Mood and Food Tracking
Unlike in the older Up2, you now get a band that can read your mood. Your mood changes could as well be as a result of the food you eat. So Jawbone made sure to include precise food and drink tracking for this newer fitness tracker. You might find it delicious that the drinks and food tracker is compatible with almost any of your standalone, third-party fitness apps: such as MyFitnessPal, CarePass, Strava, Maxwell Health, Withings, IFTTT, Lose It, Sleepio, and RunKeeper.
Jawbone has its food and drinks database—which you are free to pass if you’d rather stick to your MyFitnessPal account and log meals on there. Just sync your favourite food database to your Jawbone account, note and compare calorie count to your preferred calorie intake, and you are all set to eat (or switch to something healthier).
If you are interested, you can take your band out for food shopping as it also sports a barcode scanner. But as we found out in real life use, the barcode scanner needs some patching up to make more accurate readings. It automatically syncs to the Jawbone account and smartphone app pretty fluidly, though.
Jawbone Up 2 Synching
Talking of sync function, the new Up2 is social as a butterfly. You and your friends can duel it out over a specified time interval, and see who makes the most steps during that time. The device allows for 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day head-on duels on a leader board, accessible from the mobile app. And the fact that both Android and iOS phones can plug into the action, you can rest assured most of your willing friends can log in and take action for a piece of the leader board stats.
If your friends also sport the new Jawbone Up 2, any one of you can track the others’ activity and compare it to their own. Hence, if exercising alone picks a bone with you, the Up2 social integration may motivate you to try things out a lot better, apparently. Even better, you can easily log more than just steps: running, hiking, cross training, yoga (-ing?), cardio, weights-lifting, and so many more.
Couple this with the Smart Coaching feature that pops notification-style tips and tricks after a few days use, and we feel healthily in love with Jawbone’s iteration to the original Up2 fitness and sleep tracker. At this pace, we can now compare the Up 2 with the FitBit Flex and Garmin’s garage of pro fitness and sleep trackers.
Jawbone2 Sleep Tracking
However, if you are into smart sleep tracking, the Up2 has the compelling goods to keep it strapped to your wrist in your sleep. So, are there any improvements you can hope to witness on the redesigned Up 2 sleep tracker?
Yes, and quite a bit more too. In the case of the original Jawbone2, one had to manually switch sleep and activity modes from the bulky head. That has changed in the newer fitness tracker. Jawbone included automatic sleep tracking. So now you only need to hit the sheets, and the sleek Up 2 will kick into sleep mode automatically.
How does Sleep Tracking Work?
Scouring around, we realise that the smart wristband relies on movements of your wrist to establish if you are asleep or still killing time abuzz.
Is it Accurate?
So what if you are just peacefully lying in bed but are wide awake, can Jawbone Sleep Tracking “know about it”? Unfortunately, no. What we found out, though, is that the freshened up Up2 is highly-sensitive to paced activity—which is not nearly as subtle as lying awake on your bed without moving your wrist around. And that is where we thought a heart rate tracker would better sense if you are asleep or not—because, biologically, pulse rates tend to slow down when a person is asleep.
Consequently, the Up2 misses (overestimates, rather) how much time you sleep in by around 30 minutes. Take into consideration that the sleep tracker also features Smart Sleep Window, which is a feature that wakes you up when it “thinks” you are in a light sleep phase, and you might get why a 30-minute error is not all that okay.
Sleep trackers use this feature by vibrating on to calmly jerk you out of your sleep. From the time the band detects you are asleep, it calculates what is the best time to wake you up. Normally, this is during a light sleep phase that happens to come around after roughly every 1.5 hours of deep sleep. Compared to Beddit’s dedicated sleep tracker, the Up 2 could mess your sleep quality and durations. And especially because both sleep aspects are such great determiners to how the following day starts and proceeds for you.
Essential Reading: The Best Sleep Trackers – Counting Z’s and More
Fortunately, the Up2 also acts as a mood tracker. So if at all you are feeling off, it might help you liven up things up a bit.
Jawbone Up2 Battery Life
Just like both the Up24 and original Up2, you get seven days of use from a single charge here. Because it takes the new Up2 20 minutes less to fully charge, you might prefer it to a FitBit Flex which takes 120 minutes, but only if you feel 20 minutes is a deal maker as far as charging times go.
What else is great is that you still get a USB charger, which you can port to a PC, for charging. Just port the USB end to your USB port, and attach the magnetic charging end underneath the head of the Up2.
About 100 minutes later, your smart wristband is good to last a week between charges, which is good. But if you want more uptime, the Shine by MisFit lasts half a year between times at the charging port.
Jawbone Up 2 price when reviewed: $29.59
Now, the Parting Shot…
The new Up 2 should have been the direct successor to the highly-acclaimed 2014 Jawbone Up24 sleep and activity tracker. No doubt. And we can’t help but wonder what Jawbone had in mind initially—for the original Up 2. The snarl up must have lost a couple of loyal customers to (most likely than not) FitBit and Misfit.
Jawbone’s Smart Coach feature, spanking new and elaborate smartphone app, comfy design and improved activity, food and sleep tracking get it right on the basics—for the most part. And despite missing GPS and a heart rate sensor, the Jawbone Up 2 is one of the best fitness and sleep trackers on the market right now.
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Fitbit Charge 2
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Misfit Shine 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2