The Jawbone Up 3 is a new activity tracker which aims to please. More so, considering that its past is somewhat riddled with failures and delays. Scheduled to release in 2014, the Jawbone Up 3 saw the day of light in 2015 – the company didn’t release any statements as to why they decided to do so.
Jawbone notes that their tracker is more advanced, and they even go as far as to say that it’s the best one that you can buy. One would think that we are entering a Jawbone era.
Sure, on paper it all looks extraordinary, and there’s a lot of evidence to back-up their claims – a radical new look and the awesome addition of a heart monitor is welcome, but does the cookie crumble as it should?
Jawbone Up 3 Review
It’s sleek and it has an attractive design. It can be a useful smart coach that monitors aspects of how you are progressing throughout the day. The Jawbone Up 3 has a pretty great app ecosystem, and the company supports third party apps.
Yet, Jawbone’s clasp is way too loose and it can be annoying as hell. Switching between tracking modes is infuriating and there are even some temperamental syncing issues.
Jawbone Up 3 features:
- Great rubber quality and design
- Long lasting battery, up to 7 days
- 38mAh power unit
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Heart monitor
- Works with Android and iPhone
- Tri-Axis Accelerometer
Jawbone Up 3 price $200.
It’s a little bit disappointing that the Jawbone Up 3 is pricier than the Up 2. Why? Because they are literally identical, except the fact that the Up 3 has heart rate support.
Jawbone Up 3 Design and Features
Out of the box, it looks like everything you want from an activity tracker. Slim, small, unobtrusive and with a design that blends well with everything you wear. It weighs just about 29 grams and it’s better looking than the Misfit or Fitbit trackers.
Monitoring can be done as discreet as possible – more so, if you acquire the black model.
It has a complete makeover when compared with Jawbone’s UP24, but not so much when Up 2 is placed on the same table. It’s more flexible, and the skinny medical-grade rubber frame makes it feel high-quality. I found it to rest more naturally on my wrist with little to none accommodating issues. Actually, it feels pretty great and forgettable. That’s what you should be looking for.
On the top of the Up 3 you’ll find an aluminium metal casting, just like the one found on the Up 2. After long periods of use, you’ll notice some pretty nasty issues with it. The metal begins to scratch away at its corners, and random places across it.
Furthermore, it’s a chore to make it react to what you really want it to do. You do a series of presses and taps so you can switch between various modes of use. In theory, this seems super-easy, right? Well, it’s easier said than done. You’ll be wasting time tapping in wrong places because the Jawbone Up 3 just doesn’t get what you’re trying to do.
More than once, I found it to activate or switch modes without my blessing when I chose to wear it underneath a shirt or a jumper. It turned on sleep monitoring without me wanting it to, and most importantly, without me knowing that it did so.
The lack of it being water resistant, and only splash proof, is a deal breaker if you like to swim a lot. You can take it in the shower, wash dishes and even dance like a crazy cuckoo in the rain and it will continue to work, but submerse it in a pool and there’s bye-bye $200.
Just scratching the surface of the Jawbone fitness tracker made light of some pretty annoying and unwanted features. Like how the clasp just falls off of your wrist because it doesn’t stay tightly fit. Luckily for me, I was in bed when this happened. Opposed to on a jog or running to catch my train for work.
Jawbone claims that their fitness tracker should fit wrist sizes that range between 140mm and 190mm. However, you are to blame if it isn’t tightly secured – which I find appalling after I tested it. You fit it on your wrist and you go on with your day thinking that it won’t fall off when you take a nap on the couch. Think again…
The Jawbone Up 3 uses biompedance technology so it better measures your body tissues’ resistance to electric current. Tiny electric current, mind you. It resembles the one found on the Polar H7 heart rate monitor chest strap. Biompedance seems to be the better method to capture heart rate data because it can also monitor how you breathe and the galvanic skin response.
Jawbone Up 3 App Ecosystem
As I stated earlier, the Jawbone Up 3 has a fantastic app ecosystem with great third party support. You still rely on your smartphone to analyse all the data, because the Up 3 doesn’t have a screen. To be frank, I pretty much like that it doesn’t come with a tiny built-in screen because it’s more accommodating without it.
If you’ve used the Up 2 app in the past, you’ll have to download the specifically-bred one for Up 3.
It has the same UI as the Up 2 app and it will showcase the sleep and activity progress bars at the top of the screen just like before. Data is easily integrated into the Jawbone platform, regardless if you’re using third party apps or not.
If you combine it with Samsung’s platform called SmartThings, you can control small appliances like your toaster or microwave, and even the lights in your house. Nest works the same way.
However, Smart Coach is the feature that makes the Jawbone Up 3 really stand out. It analyses data to give contextual advice on how to make improvements on your lifestyle, unlike other fitness trackers that give broad and more abstract advice. On occasion, it will give you simple trivia that is meant to raise awareness on various health topics – such as stress, and how 6 minutes of reading a day can reduce it. It can also deliver motivation quotes if you’re running just to give you that much needed adrenaline pump.
Jawbone Up 3 Performance and Battery Life
After weeks of using it, I can honestly say that I don’t see any big improvements comparing with the previous Up 2 Jawbone fitness tracker. There are signs that it has better hardware, and its high-quality accommodating rubber strap is really great, but I was expecting more out of $200.
Motion tracking isn’t always accurate, but that’s just because the tech hasn’t reached that progress point, yet. It’s more than okay, however.
Step counter made me feel a little bit jaded. Comparing the Jawbone Up 3 with the Fitbit Charge HR, which also uses the same three-axis accelerometer, you’ll notice a huge disparity. In my case, I found that the difference between them averages between 700 and 800 steps. That’s a pretty big difference if you ask me.
Also, the Up 3 recognises when you’re on the brink of doing certain activities. Take running, it will recognise the change in patterns and it will clock in your data to especially analyse it for that activity. However, it takes up to five minutes to acknowledge that you’re not just on a shopping spree.
Heart rate monitoring is a pretty great and welcome addition to the Up 3, but it’s in no way something new to fitness trackers. It’s a welcome addition because the majority of trackers already have some sort of sensor that monitors your heart rate. But until recently trackers could record only resting heart rate data. This means that you had to make sure that sleep monitoring is on to read it while you are taking a nap. Indeed, it’s very valuable data, but with the latest firmware update, the Up 3 can monitor continuous heart rate which is far more important.
Sleep monitoring is also a key feature that makes the Up 3 trump over other fitness trackers. Welp, at least when you can find the right place to press so it activates. However, the latest firmware turns it into an automatic task. This means that the touch sensitive casing is pretty much useless at this point.
Jawbone Up 3 Verdict
Take everything you read in our jawbone up review with a grain of salt. No fitness tracker will offer accurate information. At least, not yet. The troublesome clasp found on the Jawbone Up 3 is annoying, but the company notes that they are planning on fixing it. This means that freshly factory-baked Up 3’s will not witness this annoying issue, Jawbone claims.
We’ll be the judge of that.
For $190, or so, you could take a look at the Charge HR, which is a really great option. It has the same amount of heart rate tracking accuracy, but its strap is more secure. Yet, it’s not as sleek and it doesn’t have a huge app ecosystem as the Up 3.
Whatever you choose, you’ll make a compromise. Just make sure it’s worth it.