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Fitness part deux

Hi there, Tech Savvy fans! Thanks for joining us again. As promised, this week continues our review streak. This week we are going to take a look at another great fitness tracking accessory, the UP by Jawbone. On loan from my friends at Verizon Wireless, the UP was designed to work with smartphones and devices like my HTC DNA and the iPad.

Step it UP

Jawbone, long-time smartphone accessories makers, has a history of making high quality products for affordable prices. Typically they are known for their Bluetooth headsets, their headsets are synonymous with high quality, durable, user friendly headsets and they continue to produce those. With the UP, they stepped out of their comfort zone and created a state of the art fitness tracker for everyday use.

The UP is a wrist worn device, which sets it apart from other devices new on the market, like my FitBit. Unlike a watch, the UP doesn’t have a clasp. Instead it relies on a pre-formed shape that uses pressure to hold it onto your wrist. Made of a rubberized vinyl material it’s pretty comfortable to wear, and it weighs hardly anything.

The UP tracks your steps walked, your sleep patterns and can also track your food and beverage intake. The device itself only tracks your steps and sleep. It uses accelerometer technology to gauge your step count and by holding in the button you activate or deactivate the sleep timer. For the rest of the information you enter that into the partner app that is available for free from the Android Market and the App Store.

After using it for a couple of weeks, I can honestly say I really enjoy the device. It had easy to follow instructions, seemed to track well and was easy to access. It was also interesting to me to compare it to the results that I got from my FitBit, just to see if they were accurate. I’m happy to say the both devices tracked similarly and neither had large discrepancies from the other.

Some things I like about the UP...

One of the main things I like about the UP was that I could wear it on my wrist. With my FitBit, I have to put it on the edge of my pocket and it tends to get caught on stuff and I worry that if it fell off I might not notice. With the UP I can always tell if I’ve got it on me. Another feature I liked is the lack of display on the tracker. I know, it sounds weird, right? If I am tracking my steps wouldn’t I want to see how many steps I’ve taken? Yes, but at the same time I find that I obsess over my FitBit and I’m constantly checking how many steps I’ve taken that day and the UP eliminates that issue. Another feature that may appeal to some users is that the UP syncs with your device just by plugging it into the headphone jack. There are actually a couple benefits to this, not having to worry about pairing via Bluetooth and that you can sync it anytime you like.

Some of the things I’m not a huge fan of...

Ironically one of the main things I like about the UP is also one of the things I dislike about it. Although it is convenient to have it wrist worn, because it doesn’t latch like a watch it makes it easy to catch on my coat, shirts, things I walk past. Now, that being said, it did not dislodge easily and for folks without an 8 month old that grabs onto anything within reach, you’re probably fine.

Another aspect I took into account was the app itself. And it’s not to say that the UP’s app wasn’t done well but my FitBit app was much more robust and was able to track more with the device itself — like calories burned, flights of stairs, etc.

Overall, the UP is a great product. It seems accurate, it’s easy to use and it has a great set of features. I see it as something for someone looking into the fitness tracking habit, or for those that really don’t want to deal with a clip on product. It worked great with my 4G LTE, Verizon powered, smartphone and it was a nice check to see if the FitBit was tracking with the same consistency.

Bottom line: if you can’t bring yourself to get something as small as a FitBit, you don’t like relying on Bluetooth, or if you just like being able to update on the go directly to your smartphone, the UP is a great choice. Check one out if you have a chance, and check our website in the coming week and I’ll be posting a video so you can see a little of what I’m talking about here.


I read an article the other day about how, in anticipation of Google Glass, some lawmakers are already looking at preemptive bans on using them while driving. The head worn Glass is supposed to be a peripheral device that will place a screen in front of the user’s eye and allow them to see text messages, emails and video without having to use their device. Preliminary specs set Glass at having 16 GB of internal storage, a 5 MP camera and all the features of a second tier phone (think the models from a couple years ago).

You may have seen media reports of Glass in action on the fashion runways, or at certain A-list Hollywood parties and it is slated for release to the general public near the end of 2013. This has folks worried it will take distracted driving to a whole new level — cat videos causing 10-car pileups on the interstate and imagine the tragedy of actually being a first hand witness to a car accident with the occupants of that vehicle?

I’m not saying I’m perfect, or even acceptable at eliminating my driver induced distractions when I drive but it’s time that people start using some common sense. Time and again it’s been shown that using devices, like smartphones, is just as distracting as driving while eating and even while driving drunk. There are a plethora of apps and programs available now that eliminate a lot of the distractions from your smartphone while you’re in the car, and we all need to start using them. There are also shortcuts you can use to take the challenge of remembering. NFC can be used to activate programs now when you step into your vehicle, and there are apps that will automatically reply with texts while you are driving.

We need to start making a conscious effort to be better drivers and start paying better attention to our driving and less to our devices. We shouldn’t need laws for things that should be common sense. Especially with this wonderful, wintery, spring we’re having so far. Stay safe out there!