The UP24 is the latest fitness tracker from Jawbone and aims to help you “act in the moment and live better”. But can a fitness tracker really make you healthier and happier? I decided to give one a try and find out.
Design and Hardware:
The UP24 has a stylish yet understated design. In fact, most people would probably mistake it for for a bangle or a bracelet instead of a hi-tech fitness tracker. The device is made from a soft rubber which is both comfortable and lightweight, which is good since you need to wear it almost 24/7.
Unlike other fitness trackers like the Nike FuelBand, the UP24 doesn’t have any sort of screen on the device itself. This means that you’ll need to check your phone in order to see any of your fitness data. I actually didn’t miss having a screen on my wrist as it made the UP24 lighter and less obtrusive. I also really liked using the excellent UP app which syncs wirelessly with your band throughout the day.
It should be noted that the arms of the UP24 don’t fasten, clip or lock into place. Instead, the arms of the band kind of just wrap around and hug your wrist. Initially I thought this would cause the band to keep slipping up and down my wrist but thankfully this wasn’t the case. Just make sure you get the right size band for your wrist if you decide to buy one for maximum comfort.
The UP24’s battery life is really impressive. The device only needs to be charged about once a week which is fantastic. When you do charge the device, you’ll need to plug it into a mini headphone jack / USB adaptor. Both the adapter and the headphone jack cover on the device are quite small so you just need to be extra careful not to lose them as I imagine they will both be quite difficult to replace.
The UP App:
The UP app is incredibly well designed and makes it easy to access and keep track of all your fitness data. The UP app primarily focuses on three main areas:
- Measuring how much you move
- Measuring how much and how well you sleep
- And measuring what you eat
In addition to measuring the above, the app also prompts you with recommendations based on your data, offer tips and make recommendations to help you reach your health goals. It’s like having a friendly little gym buddy that is always looking out for you.
The app is very functional, allowing you to easily log exercise sessions and meals and does a great job of visualising your data. If you use other fitness apps like Runkeeper, My Fitness Pal or even, IFTTT, you can even connect them to the UP app to take your training further.
The app also has a social component called ‘My Team’ which allows you to to see the activity of friends who are also using Jawbone devices in your UP news feed. It’s great to see friends activity and be able to encourage each other but a small part of me does feel a bit creepy knowing when my friends are sleeping. Or is it just me?
Speaking of sleep, it’s one area where UP24 stands out. It does a really good job of tracking your sleeping patterns and explaining how they affect your health and overall mood. The app even allows you to set a smart alarm that wakes you up in the morning while you are in a specific part of your sleep cycle so you feel more refreshed and energised.
If you are looking for a fitness band that does more than just count your steps, you should seriously consider the UP24. It has a sleek, comfortable design, excellent battery life and wirelessly syncs all your fitness data with your phone. It makes it easy to track your fitness, your food intake, your sleeping patterns and your overall mood. If you are looking for that extra bit of motivation, the UP24 could just be for you.
- Stylish design
- Excellent battery life
- Awesome app
- Great sleep tracking
- Social integration for friends
- Some might want a screen on their wrist
- Some might prefer a clasp or some way to tighten the band depending on their wrist size
8 out of 10
The UP app is available for Android and iOS. You can find out more information about the app and check device compatibility by clicking below. UP24 devices are compatible with devices running Android 4.3 and later as well as the iPhone 4S, 3rd generation iPads, iPad Minis and 5th generation iPods and newer.
by Adam Skikne
Tech experts have predicted that smart watches are going to be the breakout product categories of 2014. The first smart watches are now available to consumers with the next generation being shown off at CES 2014. But what is it like to use a smart watch, what should they do and should you buy one? I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the Sony SmartWatch 2 to review.
Design and Hardware:
The design of the Sony SmartWatch 2 is quite impressive. With its square face, rounded corners and chamfered edges, the Sony SmartWatch 2 is a sleek device with a premium feel. It was definitely noticed when it was on my wrist and the majority of people who saw it became quite curious when they found out that it was a smart watch. So basically you can safely wear it in public without worrying if you look like an idiot.
Perhaps the most important feature of the SmartWatch 2 is its screen. And while the screen is bigger and brighter than the one found in the original Sony SmartWatch, I did wish it had a slightly higher resolution. Despite this, the SmartWatch 2’s screen is usable in most lighting conditions (including outdoors in bright sunlight) and manages to always stay on while conserving battery.
Battery life on the SmartWatch 2 is another plus. When I first unboxed the SmartWatch 2, its battery was about 65% full but still lasted me a good three days before needing to be recharged. The SmartWatch 2 charges via a micro USB cable which is quite convenient. It should be noted that the SmartWatch 2 is also water resistant. So if you ever wanted to check Twitter while you’re in the shower, this is the device for you.
Setting up the SmartWatch 2 is relatively simple as it pairs with any Android phone running Jellybean and above through NFC or Bluetooth. Unfortunately the Smart Watch 2 is not compatible with iOS devices. Once the devices have been paired, you are prompted to download the Sony Smart Connect app on your phone. The app allows you to find, link and control a number of other apps that have been specifically designed for the SmartWatch 2.
Through the Smart Connect app, the SmartWatch 2 can be linked to your phonebook, dialer, music player, SMS messages, Twitter, Facebook and various fitness apps like Endomondo and Runtastic. There are roughly 300 additional apps that you can be downloaded for the SmartWatch 2. The majority of these apps are lightweight and free but there are a few apps that offer very similar functionality. Still, these apps add additional functionality to the SmartWatch 2.
Using the SmartWatch 2:
The experience of using the SmartWatch 2 will vary based on your expectations of what a smart watch should do. Smart watches are set to become an increasingly important product category in the next few years but it is still a product category that needs to be better defined by device manufacturers.
The interface of the SmartWatch 2 should be familiar to anyone who has used an Android phone. You can swipe through installed apps and the SmartWatch 2 even has the standard back, home and options buttons found on most Android devices.
The SmartWatch 2 primarily acts as second screen that allows you to view notifications on your wrist and perform basic tasks like controlling your music without the need for taking your smartphone out of your pocket. The notifications that pop up on your wrist can make it easier to spend less time looking at your phone, which is good. However, it’s very easy to become inundated with notifications depending on which services you link with the SmartWatch 2. Messages and social media updates can be problematic but the settings for these apps can also be tweaked to improve the experience.
There are a few snags. The SmartWatch 2 does well with text based notifications but struggles with updates or emails that are image heavy. Your wrist will ring when you get a phone call but you can’t answer the call or speak into the watch. These are not faults per se but maybe just missed opportunities. I have no doubt that these features and capabilities will be included in either future iterations of the Sony SmartWatch. You can already find them in competing products like the Samsung Galaxy Gear but at a slightly higher price point.
The smart watch is a product category that currently doesn’t have mainstream appeal but this is will likely change over the next year or so. If you are an early adopter or love the idea of smart watches, then the Sony SmartWatch 2 is a definite contender. It is well designed, compatible with a wide range of Android phones and is supported by a number of specially designed third party apps.
On the spectrum of available smart watches that are currently available, I would say that the SmartWatch 2 fits in between the Pebble and the Samsung Galaxy Gear in terms of price, battery life, device compatibility, build quality and apps. If you are in the market for a smartwatch, I would recommend that you look into these three products and see which one suits you best based on your individual needs.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
I got my Sony SmartWatch 2 review unit from the fine folk at the Orange Online store. They stock the Sony SmartWatch 2 (available from R1995.00) as well as the Pebble Smartwatch and the Samsung Galaxy Gear. If you enjoyed the review or are in the market for a smart watch, feel free to visit them at http://store.orange.com/za/p_orange_home.aspx