Every now and then a new product comes along that really changes things. in 2001 it was the iPod, in 2007 it was the iPhone. While the Jawbone UP isn’t as revolutionary as either of those two devices, it is an amazing tool to help promote health and wellness. The UP measures your sleep patterns, steps taken, calories ingested, and much, much more. The best part about the UP is that it does all of this through an extremely well designed, well executed App for the iPhone. After all, this is The Best App Site; If there wasn’t an extremely useful App involved, we wouldn’t be talking about it here! One of my goals for this year is to be healthier. Not necessarily to lose weight (although that would be nice too) but to be healthier. When I decided to make health a goal for the new year I knew that it would take something like the UP to keep me on track and get me to my goal. After doing some research into the different health devices on the market I decided to go with the UP because it has the best overall ratings from both the people that own them as well as the popular review sites. If your goal is to be healthy and you want a quality product to help you get there, the UP is for you!
Tons of Features in One App
The first time you attach your UP band to your iPhone and launch the App you’re going to be met with a number of questions that have to be filled out before you can make use of the App or the band. Make sure that you input true information in here. Don’t lie about your weight or age. The App uses this information to figure out your goals so the information needs to be accurate. After you have finished this initial setup the App gives you your goals for sleep and steps. For me my goal is 10,000 steps a day and 8 hours of sleep. These are the optimal numbers for what I should get to be healthy.
The home screen of the Up App provides a lot of information, but does it in a way that is uncluttered and organized. The first thing you will see (in purple) is your sleep percentage. This is a bar that increases as you get closer to your goal. Inside of the bar it shows your percentage as well as the actual time you slept. Tapping on this bar gives more in depth information but we’ll get into that later. Next to the sleep bar is the daily steps goal. This bar shows how many steps you’ve taken, and the percentage of your goal achieved so far that day. To the right of the goal bars there is a bar that shows your meals for the day. Again tapping on the bar will show you more in depth information. Below the bars is more pertinent information. The day that you’re currently viewing, your mood for the day, and helpful tips. Below that is the UP feed. This shows your activities, as well as the activities of the people on your “teams” more on that later.
Tapping on the plus sign on the right side of the App shows options for the band. At the top you see your goals. From here you can adjust the sleep and step goals by simply tapping on the corresponding icon. Below that is the Sync Now button. This is the button that you would use to manually sync your band (although this is rarely used because the App syncs the band automatically when attached). Below the Sync Now is my favorite feature of this band/App. Because the UP band monitors your sleep pattern it can provide a “Smart Sleep Alarm”. You set the time that you want to wake up in the morning (for me it’s 7am). Up to 40 minutes prior to when you set the alarm the band looks for you to be in a light sleep phase and wakes you up. Because you’re closest to being awake when you’re in a light sleep phase you will feel more refreshed by letting the band wake you up. I was skeptical of this feature but after trying it out for a couple of weeks I couldn’t imagine waking up any other way. The next feature below the Smart Sleep Alarm is the Idle Alert. This is a particularly useful feature for me because I work at my desk for hours on end and forget to get up and move around. The Idle Alert allows you to set an alarm (small vibration from the band) to go off if a predetermined amount of time passes without adequate movement from you. This reminds me to get up and walk around at least once an hour which is recommended by doctors to promote health. Stopwatch is the next function down. This is exactly what you think it is; It measures an activity. Below that is the power nap function. According to Jawbone, UP uses your recent sleep data to calculate the optimal nap length and wakes you with a gentle band vibration. The last two options allow you to log both sleep and workouts that you may have performed when you didn’t have your UP band on.
On the opposite side are functions relating the App and your account. The Home button does exactly what you would think; It takes you to the original home screen. Tapping on your name shows your profile and your latest stats. This is where you change your profile photo and make other adjustments to your account. Lifeline shows your activity from the time you got your UP to this point. Trends is more specific and a more in depth look than Lifeline. Trends goes into depth on the trends of your steps and sleep pattern. This is a great way to see any patterns developing over a period of time.
Teams is a particularly useful feature in my opinion because it allows you to make getting healthy a social event. UP will search for your friends on Facebook and from your contacts list that are also using UP. You can then add them to your “team” allowing them to see your activity. They can see your steps, sleep, food entered and more. You may be less likely to eat that second double cheeseburger if you think that all of your friends will see it. The last three buttons Notifications, Settings, and Help, do exactly what you would think they do.
The primary draw of the UP is the pedometer. The UP band counts your steps and adds them to the App inputting the information into the bar graph showing your trends. In this graph you can see what time of day you’re walking the most. This will help you identify when you need to be more active.
To me this is the most interesting part of the UP system. I’ve always been interested in my sleep patterns and what happens when I close my eyes at night. Through the use of accelerometers and actigraphy the UP measures your sleep states and tracks your sleep patterns. Above you see the graph that is the product of the data collected. The dark blue areas represent deep sleep, the light blue areas represent light sleep, and the orange areas represent an awake state. There is also some handy data numbers below the graph telling you how much light sleep, deep sleep, and awake time you had in hours/minutes. Also shown is how long it took for you to fall asleep, as well how long you were in bed, and how many times you woke up. This data can be used for many things from determining how certain foods, drinks, or activities effect your sleep. It’s also used for the smart alarm feature.
The Bottom Line
Jawbone recommends syncing the App twice a day or more to keep the data fresh on the App thus providing you with the most accurate information. I sync mine first thing in the morning (so I can see my sleep info), mid day, and at night before bed. The more the better. If you’re interested in living a healthier lifestyle, and you want help doing it the Jawbone UP is a great device to help you! All of the features of the App, the simplicity of the band’s design, and the benefits that this combo can instil on your life, you can’t afford to not have this band and App.