Jawbone Up 3 Review – Why It’s Not the Best Fitness Tracker
In the recent time we’ve been treated to our fair share of intuitive tech backed up by equally clever apps – from fitness activity apps to conventional smartwatches and health bands. Speaking of which, the Jawbone Up 3, one of the most recognisable names in the fitness tracker arena is at it again.
Yes, the follow-up iteration to the already popular Jawbone UP sequel has been on the market for some months now. And retailing at around £89.95 on Amazon.co.uk, (one of the best prices so far), it falls in direct competition for your hard-earned cash in the pool of other activity tracking heavyweights such as Fitbit Charge HR, and it’s own smaller brother – the Jawbone UP 2 from 2014. Which, of course, begs the question: Is the Jawbone Up 3 worth it? And is it a worthy competitor to other high-end lifestyle tracker bands available today within the same price bracket?
Related: Jawbone UP3 vs Fitbit Charge HR
Let’s shed some light on that, shall we?
Jawbone Up 3 price when reviewed: $49.00
Jawbone Up 3 Review
In comparison to the last Jawbone iteration, the Jawbone UP 3 has received a serious (but still attractive) facelift. Thanks to the artful and brilliant design by renowned hardware sculptor Yves Behar; the UP 3 is arguably one of the better-looking fitness trackers on the market today.
Yes, it may not have the gorgeous screen of a luxurious Samsung Gear series, but the sculpted minimalistic design of this latest addition to the Jawbone series is sure to turn a few heads whether you rock it to the gym or to that weekly corporate board meeting.
Jawbone Up 3 Display or the Lack Thereof
Starting up front, you’re confronted with a sexy-looking soft-textured small touch-sensitive patch that takes the place that would otherwise be used by an HD screen. You can use this patch to switch between different modes of the band – starting right up from active to sleep. As if to back this up or make things a little easier for you, Yves ( remember Jawbone’s hardware designer ? ) included a tiny backlit LED icon that denotes the mode you’re currently in. Blue for sleep, white for notification and orange for activity. Easy, right?
Jawbone Up 3 Battery
Turn this artillery over, and you come face-to-face with a non-interesting, almost boring back plate. But don’t be fooled, looks are rarely everything. Beneath this nondescript shell sits 7-days of use of a lithium-ion 38mAH battery juice. So if Jawbone’s word is anything to go by, you can charge up the device on a boring Sunday afternoon and throw the USB cable away until the next week’s weekend tempo dies down. Amazing.
Jawbone Up 3 Charging
Speaking of charging, the Jawbone 3 only needs an hour while attached to the magnetic USB charging cable to scale up from 0% to 100% – i.e., using your wall outlet and not your computer.
Jawbone Up 3 Band
Slide it onto your arm, and you begin to understand why the Jawbone UP 3 remains one of the most-sought fitness trackers you could come across today. The hypoallergenic TPU rubber blends perfectly with the anodised aluminium framework to give rise to a reasonably comfortable fit. Well, it might take a week or so to get used to the ‘jawbone’ protrusions (read grips) – one of the most distinguishable characteristic of this health band. But one you do so, it can be comfortable than your conventional watch buckle.
Up 3 Design
Overall, as far as looks go, our general and slightly biased opinion is that the UP3 employs a unique design language that screams more ‘jewellery‘ than ‘geeky’ or ‘gadgety’. So if you’re looking for a health band that will dovetail graciously with your collection of bracelets or fancy Rolex watches, then this is it. Svelte is the name of the game here, really.
Jawbone 3 – Performance and Day-to-Day User’s Experience
Is Jawbone Up 3 waterproof?
First things first. The latest addition to the Jawbone line is waterproof. But before you start celebrating, have it at the back your mind that it can only handle the occasional splatter while dishwashing, in the shower or you happen to be unfortunate enough to be caught outdoors in a storm.
Jawbone might have overestimated the ruggedness of this fitness band when they stated that the UP 3 will be ‘swim-friendly’, but previous users have complained that the farthest Jawbone 3 can go is a rigorous dishwashing session. Seems like it’s splashproof and not waterproof after all.
Jawbone Up 3 Heart Rate Sensor
Far from that, the Jawbone 3, being a follow-up and an improvement to the Jawbone UP2, flaunts an array of better in-house specs and cool gimmicky features. The heart-rate sensory ability, which is no longer a novelty nowadays is now supported and streamlined by a well-thought out ambient and temperature sensor.
This means that Jawbone’s heart-rate detection and measuring aptitude is more accurate than it has ever been. For instance, instead of merely tracking and monitoring how fast or slow your heart beats, the health band can now establish your lowest pulse rate at any given time and match it against the normal/expected heart rate. This way, you can easily tell how efficient you heart is.
Other than that, thanks to the advanced multi-sensor platform that the Jawbone UP3 spots, you can look forward to a hood that houses a revamped tri-axis accelerometer and bioimpedance sensors in addition to the already highlighted temperature sensors. But unlike its closest competitor, Fitbit Charge HR, the Jawbone UP3 lacks an optical heart rate sensor, but it is still able to track pulses accurately enough during workouts. The same way it can estimate how many calories you’ve burned on that daily ‘run’ or ‘jog’ on the gym’s treadmill.
If you’re still awed by the device’s calories tracking ability, then this might just jolt you back to reality. Jawbone also claims that the UP 3 can be used for diet tracking with the assistance of the dedicated Jawbone App that comes with it out-of-the-box. In fact, let’s talk a little bit about this app.
The Jawbone UP 3 App
First impressions first. The Jawbone UP 3 app has a couple of things that strongly resonates in its favour. For starters, it has this array and lineup of tips and encouragement that run around every aspect of the user’s wellbeing. This is through the platform christened as Jawbone’s Smart Coach.
Secondly, Smart Coach’s functionality seems to integrate perfectly with the fitness driven stats generated by this health band. For instance, it throws up a couple of notifications on your phone reminding that it’s time you hit the gym if you’ve been slacking on that workout routine that you so much took a lot of time to come up with. To some extent, if you’ve been yearning for a dedicated fitness buddy to pat your back every once in a while, then you might want to prepare your wrist for some little square imprints that the Jawbone UP 3 will leave before you get used to it.
No GPS, but Workout Recognition
But the real mettle of the Jawbone UP 3 app is seen in its fitness and activity tracking capability. Compared to other health bands on the market today, Jawbone’s step count algorithm is a bit inferior. Unlike your regular smartwatch, the UP 3 doesn’t pack a GPS tracker under its hood (to keep the overall footprint ‘activity-friendly’), but it does have a decently accurate motion and proximity sensor built in it such that it can easily recognise the type of sports you’re engaging in. But that’s only after you have completed a particular workout as outlined by the band’s manual.
This means that after a while of using the UP 3, the dedicated Jawbone app should be in a position to tell apart your jobs from fast striding. The same way it shouldn’t be mistaking cross-training for dance, Zumba or hiking.
And are you the type that seems to think that you can sit out and bunk a few gym classes here and there, without any consequence? The Jawbone will make sure you leave that office in time by nudging you with a jolting vibration if you display more than a couple of hours of inactivity.
And talking of vibrations, the UP 3 app can be set to replace that annoying alarm clock that always seems to go off a bit too early every dawn at 6 am. That will also allow you more freedom to rise and grind as you please without awakening your spouse, roommates or even neighbours!
Issues With the Jawbone UP3 and How To Resolve Them – Tips and Tricks
Every so often, most reviewers will give their two cents about a new device. They will then go back and forth, throw a couple of strong remarks here and there about what they like and what they wish wasn’t there, dissect the device, throw it over a cliff and drop it a pool, but still forget one of the most important aims of a comprehensive review – to paint a vivid picture of the expected user experience.
So, in a bid to change, let’s look at some of the pertinent usability issues that are likely to arise while using the new Jawbone UP 3:
1. Jawbone Up Won’t Charge
Some users, especially after the last software update, have reported that the every once in a while, the Jawbone UP 3 crashes and fails to start charging. And this is despite trying various USB hubs including a well-powered computer and a wall wart. In case you experience this in future, apart from contacting Jawbone’s technical support team, you can also try a hard reset. Which brings to the second issue.
2. Jawbone Up Hard Reset
In comparison to a smartwatch or smartphone, hard resetting the fitness band is relatively easier. Here’s what you should do:
- Start by pressing the button on the band for about ten times -in a quick and consistent pace. Make sure you hold press on the button in the tenth press for at least 15 seconds
- The Sun LED display should light up a solid red colour after that. iii. After a moment, it should begin flashing
- Sync the lifestyle tracker
Jawbone Up 3 price when reviewed: $49.00
3. Jawbone Up Not Tracking Steps
If you notice that your Jawbone Up is not accurately tracking your steps, or is not tracking your steps at all, then you might want to make sure that the firmware is up to date, and that you’re using the latest Jawbone App software version. If updating this piece of tech doesn’t suffice, try soft resetting or hard resetting the tracker.
The latest iteration of the famous Jawbone UP line is arguably one the most sleek-looking, decently built and feature-rich fitness tracker you can stumble upon today. At that price point, it’s almost second to none.
But, if you’re really interested in monitoring your heart rate to a mechanical precision, then you’d be better with the pricier Fitbit Charge HR. But if these numbers don’t mean much to you, then I have a feeling that the lightweight, sleek Jawbone UP3 will make for a wonderful fitness companion in 2016.
See recommended fitness trackers on Amazon
Fitbit Charge 2
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Misfit Shine 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2