A week with UP

Recently, my boyfriend and I were out shopping when we spotted a few Jawbone UPs sitting alone on a shelf and decided to try them out.

Turns out his had a faulty charging cable, so we took it straight back, but I decided to give mine a go for a while.

For a long time I’ve been struggling with working out how many calories I’m burning, and how much I should be eating, so I hoped using a fitness tracker would answer some of those questions for me. I was also interested in it’s sleep tracker functionality, because I’d been hoping getting fitter had been making me sleep better, but I couldn’t be sure.

I really liked the way the UP synced with MyFitnessPal, although the crossover did sometimes take a while to reset, which meant I still had to go into both apps to get one thing done. There’s an option in MFP which allows you to keep track of your calories burned on the UP, and the deficit is added to your daily calorie goal. Again, this only updated sporadically, and I found myself having to repeatedly open, close and restart both apps, as well as toggling bluetooth off and on in order to get it to play ball.

The pedometer aspect of the UP was what I wanted most from it, and in general, it does it’s job. The major downside, however, is that because the UP is on your wrist, in order for it to measure a step you have to literally swing your arm backwards and forwards. This is fine in the general momentum of walking, but it meant that if was carrying something, or holding hands with my boyfriend, it wouldn’t register that I was moving. I’m all for fitness, but I’d much rather hold his hand than track my steps if I had to choose one.

On mornings when I’d pick up a coffee on the way to the office and carry my bag in one hand and my Pret in the other – it registered zero steps. Not ideal when the people who want to know how much they’re moving tend to be busy people, who, er, carry things every now and again.

The sleep tracker was fun, but you have to actually switch it onto nighttime mode to start it logging your sleep, which means you have to predict when you’re going to fall asleep. My boyfriend and I often watch Netflix in bed before we fall asleep, and I struggled to know whether to toggle my UP to nighttime mode when we got into bed (because I’d be lying still) or when I was literally about to fall asleep. I also found that wearing the Jawbone on my non-dominant wrist, as recommended by the company themselves, meant that no movement was logged overnight, even when I was tossing, turning and awake, because that’s the side I sleep on, and therefore rarely move. I sleep with my wrist under my pillow, so I could have been awake and chatting to my boyfriend, and it would have been logged as deep sleep.

In the end, I got sick of the niggling faults of the UP and couldn’t stand to wear it longer than a week. Having to swing my arm about whilst walking just wasn’t practical, and with no heart rate monitor it was fairly useless at the gym. But as cheap as it is, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much – but I’ll be taking it back for a refund asap.