Boy. The new headset is magnificent. I mean it is just so gorgeous so advanced. I pity people who grew up without the earphone.
The design is nearly the same as the previous band with the major change being the Bluetooth connectivity. You are currently limited to just iOS connectivity due to Bluetooth-only syncing. Android's Bluetooth stack is getting better and we should see the new UP24 work with select Android devices sometime in 2014.
I would love to have seen the option to sync via the physical headphone jack connection or Bluetooth, but the intent of the Bluetooth connectivity is to give you real-time feedback.
The band has slightly different ridges on the outside and comes in either onyx (black) or persimmon (orange). I tested the black one and haven't yet seen the persimmon color model.
There are three sizes available, the large size fits me, and they are not adjustable. The two ends, one terminates with a 2.5mm male end and the other with a small control button. They overlap a bit around your wrist with the band staying securely in place.
The band is very comfortable and I barely noticed it was even on my wrist most of the time. However, when typing on a keyboard it did bug me a bit and I often took it off when writing for an extended period of time. Another major annoyance with this type of design that I noticed now that winter is here is the usage when you are wearing long sleeves or a coat. The UP24 hangs up on my jacket and shirt. For comparison, the Nike Fuelband fits snugly and doesn't have this issue.
The end with the 2.5mm male end has a removable cap on it. The previous UP had a 3.5mm male end that fit into both the charger and your smartphone headset jack. The new UP24 end obviously won't fit into your smartphone and it is designed just to charge up the band with a new USB dongle included in the package.
The end with the button is similar to the last generation model and lets you switch between modes and acknowledge alarms.
The battery life is reduced a couple of days, it should last about a week, due to the Bluetooth LE connectivity. The week battery life is acceptable for an activity tracker like this so I have no concerns with that aspect.
There is no visible display because Jawbone wants to encourage you to use your large smartphone display to view all of the captured data. This makes sense, but it can also be convenient to just glance down and see the status on an activity tracker.
One sensor missing from the UP24 that I personally find very helpful on my Fitbit One is an altimeter. I work on the 2nd floor of my building, and with my Fitbit One, I take the stairs all the time as a way to increase my stair count. I was hoping the UP24 included this option, but it has the same sensors as the last generation.
Jawbone launched their UP 3.0 software with the UP24 band. You can also use the UP 3.0 software with your existing 2nd generation UP band if you have an iOS device. The new software is not yet available for Android.
While you can use the 3.0 software, you need the UP24 to perform Bluetooth syncing and experience some of the new functions related to real-time data collection. Functions requiring the UP24 include reminders via push notifications, personalized nudges, and summaries. You get the majority of functionality in the UP with the Jawbone UP 3.0 software.
My wife is a huge fan of these activity trackers because they allow me to use them as alarms to wake me at 4:15 in the morning without my smartphone waking everyone up. This capability works flawlessly on the UP24 too and has been a pleasure to experience.
Jawbone designed the UP to help you reach your goals and with that in mind they have new a 'Today I Will' dynamic goals feature that works on the UP and UP24. You have to use the UP for several days, took me about 10 days, before the UP 3.0 software, particularly the UP Insights Engine, will start to help you setup I Will goals. For example, after a couple of nights of poor sleep, I was working on some reviews, a suggested goal appeared that said I should try to get to sleep at 10:36 pm. You can choose to accept this goal or ignore it and continue to use the UP24 as you have been.
You will also find streaks and milestones to help you celebrate and reach your long term goals and achievements.
There is a social aspect of UP where you can add and track friends. This is designed to help others motivate you through encouragement and challenges. You can control what aspects (move, sleep, and eat) you are shared with others.
Jawbone improved the organization of the software with a swipe from left to right opening up all of your service settings. These include goals, lifeline, trends, team, apps, inbox, and settings.
It's fun to mess with trends and view all of your collected data by day, week, and month. You can choose two different data sources to view at once on the graphs, from 20 types of data.
A swipe from right to left gives you quick access to alarms, sleep mode, stopwatch, idle alerts, and UP24 status.
On the home screen you can view bar graphs of your sleep, walk, and eat with your global goal progress in percentage with large fonts. Below the graph are helpful tips, I Will goals, and then your daily feed that includes your friends' shared status.
A new feature appears when you swipe down from the top. Your daily progress appears in a timeline view so it gives you a quick view of just your data without all of your friends' data.
Usage and experiences
The first UP had some serious hardware issues and mine all failed. I never had an issue with the 2nd generation and like using my navy blue one. So far, the 3rd generation UP24 is performing flawlessly.
Even though the UP24 is staying connected via Bluetooth Low Energy to the iPhone at all times, it still lasts about a week. I never saw the connection fail and was impressed with its ability to keep the software updated.
While I prefer wrist band activity tracker over ones that I forget in my pocket, I am not completely convinced this overlapping wrist design is the best. It annoys me when I type and gets hung up on my jacket and long sleeve shirts all the time. It fits comfortably and I rarely even notice I am wearing it, including when I sleep.
My daily routine is pretty regular so I really am starting to wonder if I have a need to use these activity trackers. Then again, regular reminders and prompts that have you changing even small things in your life add up over time and can help improve your health and lifestyle.
Pros and Cons
To summarize my experiences with the UP24, here are my pros and cons.
Well designed band that fits comfortably
Long battery life
Flawless syncing via Bluetooth
Integrated Microsoft Office software
Charges up quickly
Great sounding front facing stereo speakers
Expandable storage capability
No altimeter to measure stairs climbed
Limited just to iOS for now
Hangs up on jackets and long sleeve shirts
Pricing and availability
The UP24 is available now from Jawbone, Best Buy, and Apple for $149.99 in either onyx or persimmon. The 2nd generation UP is still available for $129.99 in onyx, blue, mint, and grey. You can use the UP with Android devices, but the 3.0 software is not yet available for that platform.
You can buy spare caps in a 3-pack for $9.99 and a spare USB cable for $9.99.
There are quite a few activity trackers today, with the best being the Fitbit Force ($129.99), Fitbit One ($99.95), Nike+ Fuelband SE ($149), and more.
Nike's device is too locked down for me personally, but like an iPhone if you are comfortable with a single ecosystem then the device is actually one of my favorite in terms of hardware. Fitbit's devices are quite open with the ability to connect to multiple services.
Jawbone has opened up their UP platform so there are ways to connect services like Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, IFTTT, Strava, and many more.
It is interesting to view the tech specs page and get an inside view of the Jawbone UP24. The following are the specifications of the accessory.
Hypoallergenic TPU rubber band
Splash resistant design, but not for full submergence such as swimming
Up to 7 days of battery life
Charge time of 80 minutes
32 mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery
Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy
Inner dimensions ranging from 52mm to 69mm with weight ranging from 19 grams to 23 grams, in sizes small, medium, and large
Wireless sync functionality is a welcome addition to the Jawbone UP and while it is much more evolutionary than revolutionary it is a necessary step. I hope to see Android support come sooner rather than later, but that is up to Android manufacturers and the Bluetooth support.
The only part of the design I am not satisfied with is the two open ends that get snagged on my jacket and shirt sleeve. I would like to see the charging connector fit into the other end of the UP to create a full closed band solution in the future with a button or depressed area on the side to switch modes.
Activity tracking is accurate, syncing works flawlessly, the UP24 is very comfortable, and the alarm functionality is excellent.
Contributor's rating: 8.5 out of 10
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