Fitness Tracker Review - Jawbone UP3

30 March

 

I have been living with the Jawbone UP3 for the past 10 months and wanted to do a review for two reasons. Firstly to share my experience with the tracker and secondly to find out what would be the best way to go for the next tracker as unfortunately mine is already towards the end of its life.

The Jawbone UP3 was my first fitness tracker which I got in May last year. I had been considering getting a tracker for a while and did my research and the UP3 was the most suitable for my needs at the time. I didn't want a tracker with a screen (because I didn't want to stop wearing my watch) which ruled out a lot, in the end I was between the UP3 and the Fitbit Flex. In the end, the features of the Jawbone better suited my needs and was better on cost too. My only downside with it was that it wasn't waterproof but none of the trackers were at the time. 

Getting the tracker, I really liked the style of it, I liked that I had a good colour range to choose from (I went for navy blue), it wasn't bulky, it was lightweight and was comfortable on my wrist. To this day I still like the design of the band and find it comfortable, my only issues have been the clasp and how easily it has worn. The clasp sometimes comes undone and falls off my wrist (which is not ideal!) and quite regularly catches on my clothes and pulls threads. Jawbone had offered a free attachment to stop the clasp coming undone but whenever I have tried to order one the page does not work. The band looks like it has taken a bit of a battering, with the strap looking worn and the front being scratched, which considering I am an office worker and only do gentle exercise, is pretty poor (the band looks better in the photos than real life as my camera didn't pick up all the marks).

 

The app feature is brilliant, the layout is very user friendly and gives you all sorts of tailored, useful information on top of the standard heart rate, sleep pattern, steps and food log. The only operational issues I have had is with logging food as it never seems to have the food I am eating but this was quite easily resolved by linking to Myfitnesspal. The colour coding works well and the data is well presented so I have never had any issues with finding data or tracking how I am doing.

As brilliant as the app is though, it is majorly let down by the quality of the data. From the beginning I noticed the UP3 was massively undercounting my steps. I contacted Jawbone support after a couple of months of having it and they got back to me quite quickly. They explained that it was likely due to my weight as I am too light for it to pick up steps but as the band adapts to me it should level out. Whilst I am a fairly skinny person I am well within the 'normal' BMI category so thought it was strange that it would be an issue but the information they gave me can't be correct because the step count never did level out. I've roughly worked it out and it undercounts me by almost half of my steps in a day. I also don't fully trust the sleep monitor because as advanced as the technology is, it has often told me I am asleep when I am awake and given me a sleep pattern even when I am not wearing the band because it is charging. A friend that also has the same model has told me on several occasions that she gets steps counted when hers is on charge. Despite this I have enjoyed having the tracker for general information, not relying too heavily on the data it has been giving me. 

Whilst I have enjoyed my time with the Jawbone I cannot recommend it, nor would I get it for myself again, purely for how quickly it has become unusable, the little support available and the unreliability of the data. My jawbone is now buzzing randomly for no reason at all, my alarms and reminders only work intermittently and I no longer trust it to even give me even a basic guide to my fitness. I have done the suggested reboots from the website with no success and my attempts at contacting Jawbone have been ignored. Looking at the support site on twitter, it looks like many people are having the same problem, there is such a long list of people asking what is going on and Jawbone eventually replying apologising for the delay but are no further to resolving their issue. Whilst my UP3 is still under warranty I have no confidence at all in the company to do anything about my faulty band. I had a look at the Fitbit twitter support out of interest and most of the comments on there are positive and people saying thank you for the quick response.

This leads me onto the second reason for writing this post. I have been looking at what tracker I would like to get next in replacement of the UP3 and am after some reviews and advice. At the forefront for me at the moment is the Fitbit Flex 2 but before deciding I would love to hear about your experiences and recommendations.

The type of band I am looking for is preferably without a screen (but I wouldn't completely rule it out), is more reliable than the Jawbone at step counting, has a sleep monitoring function and silent alarm, is waterproof (preferably with swim tracking) and is under the £100 mark. I use my tracker more for general everyday activities rather than gym type work outs but it would be great if I could add swim tracking to it as well because walking and swimming is my only real regular exercise! 

Pete is also looking at getting his first tracker so any help and advise for him would also be great. In his words he is after 'a step counter that would survive a sledge hammer hitting it, any extra is a bonus'. He is looking for a basic but reliable tracker that is very hardy and, like me, preferably under £100.

I look forward to hearing what you suggest so thank you in advance for your help :)

Dawn x

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