For the last 18 months or so, I’ve used a Jawbone UP activity tracker. I started with the original UP before moving to the more sophisticated UP24. But I’ve turned my UP24 in and shifted to FitBit. Here’s why.
The trouble with Jawbone
I think Jawbone has a significant quality control or design issue. The Jawbone UP and Up24 bracelets are covered in a rubber shell. That rubber deforms over time. I’ve had two Jawbone devices and my partner has had three. All five have suffered from this defect. Type “jawbone up stretched” into your favourite search engine and you’ll see what I mean.
Mine wasn’t as extreme as some of the other examples you’ll find if you search but it was enough to make the protective cap over the charging mechanism and make connecting the charger difficult.
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As a result, I’ve decided to make a change. It’s not an easy thing to do. Changing platforms means that all of the history I’ve built gets relegated to a bunch of spreadsheets rather than being integrated into the data collected by my new device.
It’s annoying but a small price to pay.
Getting on the FitBit bandwagon
I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to review a number of different trackers and their associated apps. In my view, the apps are at least as important as the device. How data is presented and made useful is a critical consideration with trackers. Jawbone’s app did a good job and was regularly updated and refined.
Unfortunately, my experience was that the hardware let the product down.
FitBit has a range of different devices. I chose the FitBit chargeHR.
One of the things I was looking for was a device that I could use to monitor my heart rate during activities when I didn’t want to use my Nike+ Sportwatch with a chest strap. The latest trackers and sports watches can track your pulse by shining a light against your skin. This will be useful when I’m cycling, playing tennis, weight training or doing some other activity.
I also really like the FitBit software ecosystem. As well as their smartphone app, I can access my data easily from a web browser – something Jawbone never offered.
No Apple Health connectivity
FitBit is probably the most significant health and exercise player to not offer connectivity to Apple’s Health platform. A few months ago I’d have listed that as a “must have” feature.
Today, I’m less committed to Apple Health. My main health and exercise apps are MyFitnessPal, Nike Running and, now, FitBit. Nike doesn’t seem to play nice with anyone while the others work nicely together.
Interestingly, FitBit’s decision to not integrate with Apple Health has resulted in FitBit’s products being withdrawn from Apple’s online and retail stores. You can read more about how Fitbit doesn’t plan to share stats with Apple’s new Health app at Engadget.