Jawbone UP3 is – in my opinion – the best looking fitness tracker available. Like the old Jawbone models, this one can measure steps, burnt calories, sleep pattern and as an extra feature can measure resting heart rate as well. This last feature, is really the key differentiator between the Jawbone UP3 and the devices released by Jawbone to date. Unfortunately, it can’t be used for “on-demand heart rate measurement” at least for now.
Jawbone is proud of it. They say that the UP3 is the world’s most advanced activity tracker that they’ve created, packed with lots of sensors and new features.
In its original plans, Jawbone intention was to make the Jawbone UP3 waterproof – more precisely, up to 10 meter – as opposed to only water resistant. Unfortunately, right in the middle of the manufacturing process it became clear that, while most units passed the high quality bar, a proportion did not.
Sadly, after extensive testing, Jawbone was unable to guarantee 10 meters of water resistance for all UP3 units and this extra testing is the caused of Jawbone delay.
On paper, Jawbone UP3 brings a new technology to the fitness industry; a bio-impedance sensor in a sleek, fashionable form and we are here to put it to test. Can the Jawbone UP3 be the perfect fitness tracker? This is WT VOX review of Jawbone UP3.
Jawbone UP3 Review – Design And Specs
Both, Jawbone Up and Jawbone Up24 were my favourites for years, thanks to their form factor in particular. Small, easy to wear, these were fitness trackers that let Jawbone achieve that so much needed mix of casual-sport design, in an simple yet very fashionable “wearable tech” bracelet. The Jawbone UP3 is small and looks like it was designed more for women who love having a stylish fitness tracker.
The internals are incapsulated in a nice to touch rubber-plastic wristband that by design gets thicker at the top, where an aluminium body houses a touch sensor and three embedded, LED status lights. A double tap on the touch sensor let’s you see if you’re in the activity mode (an orange man running like icon) or in the sleep-tracking mode (a very nice blue moon).
Jawbone UP3 has the same locking system as Jawbone UP2. A little clasp that I have found a bit difficult if not problematic to use. I had to adjust it very often as it relies on friction to keep it in the position you’ve set it. Second, it came undone more than a few times – when sleeping and running – and almost fell off.
Underneath, Jawbone UP3 has some metal studs spread across the band, emerging through the rubber. These are the bio-impedance sensors capable of measuring heart rate, respiration, galvanic skin response, ambient and skin temperature.
These “studs” are meant to be in constant contact with your skin and for that the band has to be properly fastened or the sensors won’t record accurate data. On a recent announcement, Jawbone promised to roll out live heart-rate reading and add new features that can make extra use of the sensors.
Like the previous generation, Jawbone UP3 doesn’t feature a screen. When compared to similar products from main competition, the Fitbit Charge HR for example, the lack of a screen is a big miss. Still, there is a major benefit to a band with no display: I used my Jawbone UP3 for full seven days and nights with no need for charge at all.
One features that I really like – we all here at the office agree that it is definitely better than previous itineration – is how Jawbone UP3 charges. The device came with an included USB dongle which snaps onto the back of the band. This USB dongle is bendable allowing different positions or angles making the whole process of charging a breeze.
Jawbone UP3 Review: Performance And Features
Regardless of how much you are willing to spend on a Jawbone tracker, you still have to use the Jawbone’s UP app. This is not bad as Jawbone’s app is where the real strength of these devices lies in. This is not just any other fitness-tracking apps on the app store. Jawbone outshines the competition by offering a simple, yet an absolutely superb interface.
What I don’t understand is why Jawbone has two separate apps for older and newer bands. Someone at the office thinks that Jawbone has actually developed this new app as they’re going to discontinue the old app and its band support, fairly easily without any issues for their newer products. Anyway, Jawbone’s latest app – you have to use the purple app for the Jawbone UP2, UP3 and UP4 – adds more smart coaching features and integrated heart rate tracking besides steps and sleep.
I like the new app more than the old one but there is something I did not expect. The heart rate is not yet fully incorporated. The app is confusing as it does not help the user understand its resting heart rate and there are no tips to help the user better understand the readings. There are just meaningless numbers, at least for the time being. I am confident that a future update will bring a much more intuitive interface.
The Smart Coach feature monitors users activity and in comparison to the heart rate, it makes really useful suggestions. Another nice feature is the bands ability to track and categorise activities or sleep that the user din’t think or setup to have it tracked. These activities appear in a daily feed, very well organised.
Another feature that’s core to Jawbone’s strength is the user’s capacity to compete with friends who own Jawbones as well. The app will prompt you to add friends, family, team members by presenting you a motivational message explaining that “people who compete achieve more steps than those who don’t.”
As in the previous generation, Jawbone UP3 let’s the user set multiple alarms and include reminders such as, time to go for a walk, buy groceries, see the doctor, etc. The connected smartphone and the Jawbone UP3 work in tandem, with one vibrating while the other displays the reminder.
As detailed above the forte point of Jawbone is the 3rd party compatibility. The user can connect the Jawbone UP application with hundreds of third-party apps, platforms and external fitness devices. It works with Android, iOS and lets you sync data from your phone’s accelerometer, or even other smart devices like smartwatches.
When it comes to food logging, Jawbone UP application has an impressive list of food items to choose from making it very easy to use to measure your daily or weekly caloric intake. Overall, the UP app is still the best choice for fitness tracking even if you decide to use an external fitness device.
Jawbone UP3 Review – Battery Life And Price
In terms of battery life, the Jawbone UP3 is at the same level with the competition. I was able to use the Jawbone UP3 without charging it for seven days with nonstop activity and sleep tracking. Another plus is the fast charging – around an hour for a full charge – which can be done with an included USB dongle.
Jawbone UP 3 can be purchased from Amazon for £119.99 in the UK and this makes the Jawbone UP3 a high-end fitness tracker, right on the same price range with the previously reviewed, Fitbit Charge HR.
Jawbone UP3 Review – Conclusion And Verdict
Jawbone UP3 is one of the best looking fitness tracker if not the best. It adds a few extra features over the previous generation, like the ability to track resting heart rate and REM sleep. On paper, Jawbone Up3 was exactly the fitness tracker that I wanted, more so than any of its competitors. After wearing it for 7 days non stop I still believe that.
If you can ignore the issues with the new buckle, the confusing hear rate monitoring on the app and if you are after a solid fitness tracker that also looks good then Jawbone UP 3 is definitely the right choice for you.
Jawbone UP3 Review – Gallery
- Great, modern design
- Good battery life
- One of the best apps on the market
- Very accurate tracking
- Not waterproof
- Annoying strap clasp
- No heart rate on demand
- No built-in display