Yesterday we took a good long look at what one of the first Jawbone fitness tracker had to offer. Things haven’t changed so much in terms of utility since the series began with the Jawbone UP and Jawbone UP24 iterations of the activity tracker wristband. However, the much newer Jawbone UP 3 has some considerable new upgrades that might just coax you into choosing it over its predecessor – despite being considerably more expensive.
Design-wise, the Jawbone bracelet has gone a really long way. Not only that it looks a lot more sleek and elegant than it used to, but the inside face of it features some new elements that we’ll touch down on some more, later. But it’s safe to say that the Jawbone series has been upgraded from simple wristbands to actually fashionable devices that can actually inspire wearable tech. However, the series still doesn’t feature a screen to display at least basic information; because some things never change, for some it will be good news to see that Jawbone hasn’t given up on its simplistic ideal. For others, the lack of a design that screams tech may prove to be a groan-inducing issue.
In comparison to the Jawbone UP 2 however, the Jawbone 3 comes with a major upgrade in terms of utility: heart rate tracking. And because the original generation of UP3 first came with a few issues that buyers reported with the clasp not holding, a second generation of the third Jawbone fitness tracker soon followed, improving on what it had lacked before.
Jawbone UP 3 Design
Put the Jawbone UP3 right next to the Jawbone UP24 that we have recently reviewed and things look drastically different. While the Jawbone wristband still doesn’t come visually close to wearable tech without displaying any sort of LED or LCD screen, it could very well be mistaken for a regular bracelet. The Jawbone UP wristband is still encased in medical-grade, hypoallergenic rubber. It looks and feels considerably more flexible than its predecessors did, despite still being limited on how far you can bend it. However, because the new design contains all of the underlying technology inside a central area of the wristband, the straps remain perfectly flexible. The top and bottom casings use anodized aluminum in their build.
In terms of size and weight, the new Jawbone UP 3 doesn’t come in more than one model; instead, thanks to the adjustable clasp, there is only one size that will most likely fit anyone and feel as light and unobstructive as any of the previous Jawbone models – scoring only 29 grams in weight. The band can go from 140 mm diameter up to 190 mm. According to the principles that Jawbone has made all of their devices so far, the intention of a discreet device is still there, making this a very appealing gadget for some.
There are a lot more color variations than the company offered for previous models too: you can either pick one of the 6 regular colors – black twist, ruby cross, silver cross, sand twist, teal cross or indigo twist – or even aim for one of the two limited versions: black gold twist or twilight cross. Probably self-explanatory to a degree from the names of the models themselves, there are two patterns that you can get the UP 3 in: one is a padded 4-cross design on its front while the other depicts 4 lines snaking diagonally from bottom to top. Both are pretty fashionable and thought out in good taste.
There is one brand new detail that you will recognize if you’ve either used older Jawbone UP fitness trackers or read yesterday’s review of the UP24: the inside of the wristband features several metallic thumbs placed all around the inner circle. These are the sensors responsible for the Jawbone heart rate monitor – the way they work is a little different than the one you normally find on similar devices. The bioelectrical impedance technology packed in it – also one very similar to the one used to detect body fat levels – basically measures the resistance of body tissue to very small electric currents, something that is normally employed in EKG tests.
If worn correctly – and by that we mean that the 5 sensors should be in contact with your skin at all times for a good reading – the Jawbone UP 3 can do more than just measure your heart rate. Respiration rate, cardiovascular health levels, galvanic skin response and many others are just a few of how far the UP 3 can really go in terms of monitoring.
One last thing that you will notice on the inside of the Jawbone UP3 is a very small magnetic surface that is used for charging the device via a USB charging cable that you can plug into your computer. Sadly the cable is abysmally small and may create a lot of discomfort when having to charge the wristband. Similarly to the Jawbone UP24, but considerably more stylish – there are LEDs hidden behind the rubber surface of the wristband’s front: this time around you can find 3 LED lights that display the current mode of operation – whether it’s sleep or activity. These LEDs only light up when you tap on the central part of the wristband several times so there isn’t a considerable amount of battery power used on a regular basis.
Last but not least, in terms of waterproofing it seems that the Jawbone UP 3 is faring a little better than its older brother, the UP24, but still not amazingly great. While it is not declared that it is splash proof, a more intense exposure to sources of water will prove highly detrimental to the hardware that the band has inside.
Jawbone UP 3 Features & The Jawbone App
Similarly to what its predecessors did in terms of fitness tracking, the UP 3 can do it just as well and most likely do it better too. It will keep track of how much and how often you move, walk or run, it will maintain a good reading of your sleeping patterns, give you a good idea of how your current lifestyle affects the health of your heart as well as give you an extensive list of ways to improve every of the above aspects of your life.
Considering the extremely minimal amount of interaction you can have with the band itself, most of the comprehensive information the Jawbone UP 3 will provide you will be done through the mobile application. Similarly to its brother, the Jawbone UP24 also requires an Android 4.4.3 device or beyond or at least an iPhone 4S or its successors in order for you to be able to download the free app. In addition to the iPhone, you can also get the app on the iPod Touch 5th Gen, as well as iPad 3rd Gen, iPad Mini or iPad Air.
One of the best additions to the Jawbone devices that were adopted was Bluetooth connectivity. In the absence of a screen and direct interface that you can interact with to read your daily statistics, all of the control will reside in the mobile app. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, not only will it be done in a continuous, real time fashion, but it will also not require you to update your information manually – making it easier for you to keep track of your goals and make sure you reach them too.
The one aspect that the Jawbone UP 3 fitness tracker once again stands out with is the “coach engine”, now known as Smart Coach. The most recent Jawbone update added some particularly clever features to it that give you an even more ample control of your progress. While the goal menu – titled “Today I Will” is pretty much the same as before, complimented by the Insight Engine that not only sends you notifications of your progress as well as give you constant personalized advice, there are some new things that we hadn’t seen before on the UP24.
The weight and mood tracking are sadly not something the UP 3 will detect by itself – having to either type them in manually or allow the Jawbone app to extract the information form compatible third party apps. However, the two are factors that are relevant to the app detecting patterns in your behavior that may interfere with your health on long term. Just like you could with the UP24, you can set various types of reminders via your smartphone that the app will handle by itself: you can either set it to notify you via light vibrations when you’ve sat down too long, or simply remind you that you still have 2 more miles to run in order to hit your daily goal.
One of the most important new features supported by the Jawbone UP 3 is the social aspect of it all. Now, you can create a team consisting of you and your friends and throw in the element of competition as motivation to perform better. Add the existence of leaderboards where you can view your friends’ scores, and the effect is multiplied. There is even a duel your friends to a common goal – over the length of 24 hours, 3 days or even 1 week. While competing with your friends can result in an overall improvement of your motivation, there is still a wide array of privacy settings that you can whip out to limit what you share.
Jawbone Heart Rate Monitor
When the original Jawbone UP 3 came out, its functionalities were limited. Following a Jawbone firmware update however, the device – surely, together with the app – became capable of monitoring both resting heart rate and passive heart rate. This means you will be able to monitor your heart activity as well as your cardiovascular levels continuously, giving you a better idea of this aspect of your health.
However, there are two downsides to it: one is the fact that, naturally, you would have to wear the watch on at all times in order to get a good and relevant reading. Secondly, there is one occasional issue that may occur with the wristband not waking up automatically, forcing you to have to tap it to wake it up manually. Because of the way the algorithms work, setting it on the correct state is highly important. That is something that you may forget to do to begin with and is a relatively important part of getting accurate results.
Jawbone Sleep Tracking
The sleep tracking element of the Jawbone UP 3 hasn’t changed much since we’ve last seen it on the UP24. By using accelerometer-based sensors, it will detect when you have fallen asleep as well as when you wake up during the night. While the accelerometer is responsible for detection of the four stages of sleep (Wake, REM, Light and Deep), the bioimpendance sensors are responsible for keeping track of your respiration rate, heart rate, galvanic skin response as well as the temperature of your body.
Everything considered, you will not only be able to figure out why the quality of your sleep may be suffering as well as receive a helping hand in the shape of advice and encouragement on how to improve this aspect of your health.
The most basic feature that all fitness trackers have started off from was the simple count of daily steps and distance walked. Naturally, you are greeted to this part of the app from the main screen already, displaying a series of bars that tell you how much you have walked that day, followed by personal streaks and milestones. There are various parts of the app that will give you a better understanding of how to keep active as well as give you a nudge in the right direction.
The Jawbone 3.0 app makes it much easier to study the effectiveness of your workouts – whether we’re talking simply jogging or various more intense kind of sports. The app employs heavily detailed methods of calculating calories burned and displaying your own performance back to you – either directly or via personalized feedback.
Jawbone UP 3 App
The App employed to compliment the fitness tracker onto your mobile handheld device hasn’t changed a considerable amount since the Jawbone UP 3 release date. It has been getting a streak of constant improvements ever since it came into action, though most of its feature remain in place.
Tracking your diet works the same way as it did on the previous Jawbone devices: by scanning their bar codes, by browsing for them in the Jawbone database or entering them manually – via text or photo. If you put in the effort of keeping track of what you eat every time you do, you can be returned a comprehensive color code-based history of your dietary habits.
There is a wide variety of things you can track with the app and even more statistics you will receive as a result. It feels like the levels of optimization and personalization the app is capable of are highly extensive – giving you ample methods of calibrating the wristband to suit your typical habits. Considering the price to pay is the lack of a digital display to make it easier for you to track your stats on the go, I feel like the mobile application makes up for it tenfold.
Jawbone UP 3 Battery Life & Verdict
With the lack of said display, you can rest assured for the battery life on the Jawbone UP 3 is much longer than on competitors’ activity trackers. The 38 mAh battery packed inside the Jawbone tracker will normally last you about a week. While the short cable that is magnetically attached to the back of the band may feel very uncomfortable to hook up and keep level while charging, this won’t hinder you for too long as the charging process lasts very little – about 2 hours for a 0 to 100% charge.
Once again, I have to return to what we originally discussed about the Jawbone UP24. Whether this device is for you or not lies purely in what you expect from it. In terms of professional sports tracking, the Jawbone will not do – only being capable of a more casual approach to your daily activity, gathering information about your sleep patterns, your diet and other factors as well on top of the actual fitness statistics. Secondly, there’s also the issue of design: the Jawbone UP 3 makes a conscious effort to remain as subtle and discreet as possible – with no flashy design, no digital display or anything of the sorts, you wouldn’t be able to bask too much in the pride of wearable tech.
You can purchase the Jawbone UP 3 directly off of the manufacturer’s website for $179.99. the Limited Editions of the Jawbone activity tracker do require a preorder and they can take up to 3 weeks to be shipped to their destination.