It isn’t often that I write a tech review. I reviewed a few tablets when the category was new, but new tablets are very unexciting. When I was given a Jawbone UP24 from Alfresco, I was very excited. I’m always interested in how I am doing in my healthy, and unhealthy, habits. I opened it up and dove right into the fun.
What have I learned? I don’t move around enough in my average work day. My sleep likely needs a lot of work. When someone tells me to relax, I do a really good job of it. More exercise should fix the first two problems and perpetuate the third.
The Basic Details
As you can see from the above picture, there isn’t much to it. It is a simple wristband that pops on and off. You really only take it off to get clean or to swim. I haven’t worn a watch in years and while it has taken some getting used to, it hasn’t irritated my skin as much as .
There are two key things that the UP24 tracks. The first is my steps. I’ve been talking to a couple of people and the general feeling is that it misses a few steps when compared to your average pedometer. This is to be expected with a pedometer on the arm versus the hip. Of course, it is a lot easier
If you care more about trends than actual steps, which you should, this isn’t a real issue. I don’t care if I walked 7000 or 8000 steps in a day. I do care if I walk 8000 steps one day and 7500 the next. It is a decrease that I care about.
The Sleep Issue
The other thing the UP24 measure is sleep. It has a sleep mode but you can use the app to add sleep periods when you forgot to switch it over. This is very interesting as it tracks when you are awake, lightly asleep, or in a deep sleep.
The only problem…it isn’t always correct.
I don’t sleep through the night. I always wake-up and spend a few minutes getting back to sleep, usually several times a night. Sometimes it is longer than a few minutes. Usually I check the time. Since I got the UP24, I always check the time. I have found that many of my awake periods are simply captured as light sleep.
This is likely unique to me. I run, so my resting heart rate has historically been pretty low. I had a med-tech ask me one time after an EKG, “Are you sure you’re alive?” He had told me to relax, so did.
I decided to run an experiment. I put the UP24 in sleep mode while I watched a movie. 28 minutes later, I switched sleep mode off. It had recorded six minutes of light sleep and 22 minutes of deep sleep. I was trying to be calm, but not more than I do when I am trying to sleep at night. This has made me wonder how much worse I am sleeping than what the UP24 is telling me.
I would love to hear if others have experienced the same thing.
The App Wins It
What is really exciting is the ability for all of the data to synch with my app through Bluetooth. The process was very simple and once connected, things got exciting.
The app is great. It does all sorts of things that really helps me track what I am doing. When I time a run, it monitors the steps and gives me calorie burn estimates. It can show me trends for both sleep and activity over days, weeks, and months. It even provides suggestions and tips based upon how I compare to the average user in the UP community.
When it comes to playing with data, it great. It allows you to retroactively add some sleep or a workout if you forget to time them. Best of all, it will allow you to set alarms for yourself that will wake you when you are lightly asleep. These alarms are perfect for the average day when a 10-15 swing in my wake-up time doesn’t matter.
I am going to keep using it. It is helping me keep track of things that I used to just casually track. As a result, I am shifting some behaviors for the better.