Jawbone UP: My new addiction

The Jawbone UP sits on your wrist and tracks your life: eating, sleeping, exercise, and more

If you've ever wished that there was a gadget that would track everything you do, your wish has finally come true in the form of the Jawbone UP.

The Jawbone UP wraps around your wrist and tracks your movement, your sleeping, and even your eating, if you so desire. Then when you want to see what it has been tracking, you click it into the headphone jack of your iPhone, and perform a sync to the free Jawbone UP app.

I've been using the UP for over a week now, and I was addicted to it less than twelve hours after using it. In my case, I took it out of the box, then I downloaded the UP app. From there I plugged the UP into my iPhone's headphone jack, registered it, and then placed it around my wrist. Later that night I synced it to my iPhone and immediately saw how many steps I had taken throughout the day. Then the following morning I synced it again, and was able to analyze my sleep patterns.

I won't go into excessive detail on the Jawbone UP since Matt Miller did previously in his review, but I will tell you that it has become a necessary accessory for me. Here's why:

  • Sleep analysis: I've long been fascinated with my sleep patterns. Some mornings I wake up feeling great, and others I feel groggy for most of the morning. The crazy thing is that I can sometimes sleep for four hours, and run all day, whereas other times I can sleep for more than seven and barely function. Now that I have the Jawbone UP, I'm starting to see patterns in my sleep. For example, if I have a night with hardly any deep (REM) sleep, then I usually wake up groggy, whereas a night where there's a nice balance allows me to wake up refreshed.
  • Smart alarm: Speaking of waking up, there's a smart alarm feature on the UP that will wake you up during a light sleep cycle, within a specific range of time. For example, I have my UP set to wake me up between 6:30am and 7am, and have found that most mornings I'm waking up completely aware and refreshed. This is because the smart alarm is designed to wake you up during your lighter sleep cycle.
  • Active mode: I mentioned above that it has been tracking my steps. I've actually been pleasantly surprised to see how much I walk, and I have been using it as a motivator to get even more active.

The Jawbone UP also encourages you to track what you eat, by taking a photo of your meal, and then track how you feel, but this felt more gimmicky than useful, so I stopped using it after one meal. I'm sure that the company can come up with a more engaging use of this feature, but as of this writing, I'm not compelled to use it.

There are a bunch of other features that I haven't gotten around to using yet, that I think are must-haves. These include using it for working out either by GPS (with music) or just by having it on your wrist. In addition, there's an activity reminder, which would certainly be useful as a reminder to get away from my computer and get some exercise. I also like the concept of challenges, where a group of us could challenge each other to be healthier.

So far I'm completely sold on the Jawbone UP. That said, I bought one for my wife and she lost interest in less than 10 minutes, which leads me to believe that you need a love for gadgets to truly appreciate everything that the Jawbone UP can do.

The Jawbone UP is currently selling for $99.99 at Best Buy and a number of other outlets.