Saturday, September 21, 2013

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Look for the Jawbone UP at Best Buy & Start Taking a Holistic Approach Towards a Healthy Lifestyle


The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  All opinions expressed are his own.

I am a gadget nut. I love technology and I could not be happier to live in times like these. It seems like every day there is a new gizmo to enrich our lives (or claim to anyways).

I am connected just about every waking moment, I really do not think that is an exaggeration. I also work in IT so I am surrounded by technology pretty much every moment I am not sleeping….until I received the Jawbone UP. Now I can say (quite literally) I am connected 24 hours a day, even when I am counting sheep, and I could not be more thrilled about it.

If you have lived in a cave the last year or so and do not know what a Jawbone UP is, I will happily explain: The Jawbone UP is a sharp looking bracelet that keeps track of your movements all day and night. Do not panic . . . this is a good thing!
"Live Better. Start Now. Jawbone UP."

The Jawbone UP synchronizes with your Android or Apple smartphone and helps you take a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. The Jawbone UP itself really does not do much more than track how you move. A couple of times a day you synchronize your UP with your phone and that's when the magic really happens.

The free app for your smartphone takes all of your movement data and compares it to your actual physical stats (age, weight, etc) to help manage your entire health. It compares your movement history to what it thinks your goals should be and guides you accordingly. But that is just the beginning . . .

What I love the very most about my Jawbone UP is the fact that it tracks my sleeping habits!! The accelerometer (sensor) inside is so sensitive, it can not only detect if I am sleeping, it can differentiate between different stages of my sleep. My very favorite feature is the Smart Alarm. The Smart Alarm will wake me up, via a subtle vibration from the UP, based on my sleep cycles. I tell the App that I want to wake up at 6AM and the UP will wake me up at the very best moment around 6AM to feel the most refreshed (never after your set time however). I can say the Smart Alarm works very well, and for me this feature alone makes the Jawbone UP worth it.

The next feature of the Jawbone UP is calorie counting and diet management. There are many apps out there right now, some of them excellent, that already do these things. What sets the UP apart is the fact that it is tuned into all of your activity and factors your caloric intake and expenditure to help guide you to living a healthier lifestyle.

Although I have not embraced the diet management features in my app yet, I can tell you I am pretty impressed by how easy it is to enter foods into the app. Not only can you create custom foods to your diet, you can scan any prepackaged food that has a barcode! If you eat a yogurt simply scan it with your phone and voila, its been added to your calorie intake for the day. Jawbone did a great job making it easy to enter foods into the app, eliminating my biggest reservation in using an app to manage my diet. The app itself is simple to use and mostly intuitive. I was able to figure out all of the features and settings without needing to read any manuals or how to's.

It is best to synchronize your UP with your phone about 2 times a day, but it is not a big deal to deviate from that. The UP is going to work no matter how often you sync it. Syncing the UP is pretty simple. You just remove a small cap on the UP and plug it into your phone’s audio jack. What? No wireless you say? BAH! I felt the same way for about half a day then I got over it. I realized that I don’t always have my phone right next to me and as a result not always in wireless range. I also know that wireless technology is VERY power-consuming and would probably halve the battery life of the unit (an amazing 10 days!).

Although the UP is water resistant to 3 meters, I would not swim with it. But you can certainly shower and wash your hands without any concern at all. I would warn you NOT to try to sync the UP while it is wet, you could short out your phone.

Once your data is synchronized, you can analyze all of your activity down to the minute. I am addicted to reviewing my sleep every morning. I can see all of my sleep cycles, when I was awake, and how long it took me to fall asleep. I was shocked to see how often I wake up every night. Not only can you review your sleep, the app will make recommendations to help you better reach your sleep goals (which it also sets).

Monitoring your physical activity is just as easy as monitoring your sleep. You can see your activity moment by moment throughout your entire day. It is fascinating to me to really get concrete information about when and how you move. You can see when you are most active and least active minute by minute. The app can even be set to alert you to inactivity! Based on your entered criteria, the Jawbone up will send a gentle vibration to alert you to get moving!

The app also has some social features to help keep you motivated. You can team up with other UP users and the app will automatically help keep you and your teammates motivated throughout the day. You can set your mood so others can see what kind of day you are having and maybe send you a message of encouragement. I haven't found any UP buddies yet, but I am excited about syncing up with some UP users!

For our harder core exercise enthusiasts the UP is for you too. The Jawbone up replaces any pedometer or phone app you are already using. The accelerometer is so sensitive it can differentiate between different types of movement to deliver hyper accurate steps and stride measurements. The App tracks your route, speed, distance, everything you need to tune in your workouts.

I love my Jawbone UP and it is integrating into my life a little more each day. I can't wait until I am ready to use it to track my caloric intake to help complete my entire health (or lack of!) profile. It is the closest thing out there I am aware of that does it all and that is very important. A device like this needs to be easy or it won't get used. So far the UP is easy and I am loving it. It is also pretty darn sharp looking. The UP comes in a variety of colors and sizes to suit everybody.

UP gives you meaningful, personalized insights so you can make lasting improvements to your everyday life. It tracks your sleep activity, steps, calorie intake, and more with the Jawbone UP wrist sensor and free mobile app all for $129.99 plus Free Shipping at Best Buy.