Jawbone UP – Nine Months Later

I’ve been a huge fan of my Jawbone UP fitness band. But recent events have made me a little less enthusiastic.

My review of the Jawbone UP concluded that while the device itself is an important part part of the package, it was the app that was the real secret sauce. I said the same in my review for Australian Macworld.

In the months following my purchase of the UP several other people in my life have acquired their own UPs as well. However, I’m starting to have some concerns about the product.

One of the bracelets purchased by a friend suffered from the rubber casing expanding. This is not a problem that was unique to my friend. On the upside, we returned that unit to the local Apple store where it was purchased. Apple exchanged it without any hassles whatsoever.

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Image credit: Jawbone Forums

My own UP suffered a different problem, after about nine months of use. Last weekend, my UP kept vibrating. This is normally what happens as you change modes while using the UP. So, I tried to push the button and SNAP – the button popped off. I managed to do a final sync and discovered that the button must have been stuck as the band recorded several short sleeps of less than a few minutes each.

Again, I went to the Apple store where it was purchased. However, I decided to update to the newer UP24. They key difference between the UP24 and the original UP is that it comes in different colours – I chose the Persimmon (orange) model – and syncs with my iPhone over Bluetooth LE so there’s no need to take the band off to sync with the app. Otherwise it’s functionally the same as the old model – but costs an extra $30 in Australia.

So, while I’m still a fan of my UP, I have some concerns about the reliability and longevity.

Jawbone’s support seems quite responsive so getting a replacement shouldn’t be a problem. But that’s beside the point. A $150 device that designed to be worn 24/7 should be made from extremely robust materials. It seems that the UP might not be made of such materials.

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