Keeping Up With The New Jawbone UP2

Monday, September 14, 2015

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have seen my tirade of sadness over my dead Jawbone UP24 (but you can read the review about it here). For 6 months it had served me well, my 24/7 companion for day and sleep. But alas, like most of its kind, it does dies out on their users quite frequently.

The thing is, no electronic service store could fix a Jawbone no matter how minor the issue is. So if you are under the 1 year warranty, you have the option to get a new replacement. I wanted the same UP24 in black, but my provider only have pink-colored stocks left (UGH) as Jawbone had decided to stop production for the UP24.

So instead, I was offered a new UP2, which was launched this year as a replacement to UP24. It basically does the same thing as the UP24 does – track sleep, steps, log workouts, log food and has SmartCoach in the app. There is a new app for all models of UP2, UP3, Up Move and UP4, and it has slight changes in certain features and is much faster. This is my review of the UP2 after a week of using it.

It looks really great! Even better than its predecessor, seeing that it is 45% smaller, and it lays flat now. The UP24 annoyed me at times because it has a very angular shape which doesn't allow me to lay my hand flat on the table, or hurts my wrist when I lie down in an odd angle. The UP2 is nice and flat, with a beautiful brushed aluminium crosshatch design that conceals the three notification lights. (Initially we change modes by tapping the aluminium (which is touch sensitive) but Jawbone gave a new firmware upgrade which kind of takes it away – read changing modes below). I got the light grey colour and I think it looks way more feminine compared to the other version in black. It looks like a piece of jewellery and can even be worn to weddings and still look chic!

Other than its looks, I like the new clasp a lot. Granted, the UP24 way much easier to wear as you just slip it on, but I find the UP2's clasp system is quite sophisticated looking. Many people complained that the clasp is fiddly, and that they have lost their UP2 because it would just come undone during the day. One – the clasp is slightly fiddly the first time you wear it, but after adjusting to get the right fit and learning how to wear it (it's just like a watch, really) I find that I can put it on with my eyes closed. Two – about the clasp coming off. I have worn it for a week and not once has mine come undone. My assumption is that perhaps most people who complained about this issue are wearing their UP2 very loosely (which naturally, like a charm bracelet, would fall off if you wear it loosely, duh) and didn't bother adjusting to a nice fit. Or, they are really clumsy with their hands and brush it against their jeans/bag really hard, which can easily dislodge the clasp if you are in fact, wearing it loosely.

In conclusion, the design of the clasp can still be improved on, but does not pose a big issue if it is adjusted and worn properly. I still find it a elegant, and that is saying a lot when it comes to fusing fashion with fitness. Maybe most men are the ones having issues with it because they are not used to wearing bracelets like we women do – which I think Jawbone can improve upon.

UPDATE: On 9th September, Jawbone unveiled new designs and colours for the UP2, featuring a new clasp mechanism. No one can complain about the clasp now that it is definitely much better and the colour choices are simply gorgeous! Great job Jawbone!

The redesigned UP2 features a sleeker band, more colour options and a new clasp.

Initially, you change modes on the UP2 by tapping the screen twice to see what mode you're in, and then holding on to the surface to switch modes. By the time I got mine, Jawbone has already introduced a new firmware that brings you "automatic sleep detection" – this firmware eliminates changing modes via touching the surface. In fact, you can't do it at all. This was because many complained about the screen being very "erratic" where it would not register tapping at times, or would change modes by the slightest accidental brush against something. Which means that all modes now cannot be changed via band, you can only change it on your phone, via the UP app.

For one, I like how they have decided to upgrade and make things better for users. The touch sensitive surface is definitely not very smooth and does not register taps sometimes. Before I upgraded, I had brushed against it by accident and turned it to sleep mode during the day.

However, the changing modes via phone is really annoying because it means I have to keep opening the app and changing modes where previously I just need to press the buttons on my UP24 without touching my phone. The good thing about "automatic sleep detection" is that your band will know if you are asleep, even if you forgot to change to sleep mode – and therefore will prompt you once you wake up to log your sleep into the app.

But I am not a fan of using the Stopwatch mode via app. It's really annoying to have to open the app just to change modes. I have my Spotify & Timer apps running simultaneously on my phone when I workout, so having to open the Up app just to tap Stopwatch mode is really annoying and affects my phone's speed at times. Otherwise, at times when I already have my phone all strapped into my armband, then I remember about changing modes and have to fish my phone out of the armband again just to do it. It's so annoying! Jawbone needs to come up with a more user-friendly firmware for this issue.

Is amazing! It works so much faster, syncs a little faster too and has better sleep tracking info. The previous app was already amazing, but the new one has great little changes in some areas that makes the overall experience so much better!

The only quip is that it syncs much more frequently, which can really kill battery life. So just be aware of the bluetooth power that is required of your phone. You really need to keep a portable charger handy if you're going to be out all day long.

Although many people have commented on the UP2's inaccuracy, I don't seem to find any faults with it. In fact, I find that the tracking seems more spot on because now it seems to track my steps when I walk up/down the stairs, where previously the UP24 would not register those sort of steps. Definitely an improvement, in my opinion. It logs my workout time fine, and also the calories seem to be quite on point too. I will be testing it out at an 8KM marathon this weekend, and we'll see how close its accuracy really is. My UP24 was pretty accurate when I tested it during previous marathons, so I don't expect less of the UP2.

They still work the same as before, if not better. The UP24's notifications were just a green sun and a moon, which would blink in different manners to convey different meanings. The UP2 has 3 multi-coloured light notifications: orange running man for Active mode, a white speech bubble for general reminders/notifications, and a blue moon for Sleep mode.

My bedtime reminders would cause the band to both vibrate, and have the white and blue notifications light up. My 4pm reminders to take my pill, would just flash white. I really like the new lights in different colours, you don't need to see the icons to know what reminders are flashing. They are also very discreetly built on the brushed aluminium surface – you wouldn't even know it's there until the lights start to flash. The new firmware still allows you to single-tap the top to dismiss notifications, and that has worked very well with no glitches.. yet.

Unfortunately. Even the higher range UP3 & UP4 are not waterproof. They are all only splash-proof, which means washing dishes and showering is okay, but not taking it for a swim. Which is really odd because the UP app's workout log has an option to log your 'swimming' workouts – and I don't see how any of the UP models can do it unless we swim with the band encased in a waterproof bag? Ridiculous.

Like most people, I want Jawbone to come up with an amazing waterproof tracker that has the typical Jawbone style in the looks department. We are so accustomed to wearing out bands 24/7, and it would seem a waste to have to take them off for beach holidays, pool parties, surfing or swimming.

While I understand that A LOT of people in the fitness community wants a sort of screen on the UP bands, I do not agree with that. I love it as it is right now, with non-obtrusive lights that only come on when needed, and looks totally NOT like a fitness tracker. It's so chic and subtle, like a undercover spy with loads of class, so I hope Jawbone does not ruin that by adding little screens. Why have a screen when you probably would wear a watch on either wrist as well, and look like a fool who's wearing 2 watches? Stop complaining about design because it is already pretty great, people. If you want something with a screen, go buy a fitness watch or something. (those things are hideous in my opinion)

Easy to style, anywhere, anytime.

As it drains your phone battery, it also drains itself quite rapidly. Because I have three alarms/reminders set in a day, my UP2's battery seems to last exactly 7 days or less, even after a full charge, where it promises 10 days. Not too happy with this as my UP24 could last me 2 weeks. However, the good thing about the UP2 is that it would remind you to charge, when it has at least a day of battery left. Hopefully Jawbone would come up with a firmware to rectify this issue in future.

It is a different ball game this time around. The UP24 had come with a cover (that can be lost quite easily) that you need to uncap and plug the concealed head jack into the charging dongle. The UP2 makes things so much simpler. Under the band are 4 magnetic points which you align with the new charger's matching points, and the band will start charging immediately. It so simple that I really do not understand some reviewers on Amazon who says they hate it because it takes 10 minutes to align the magnetic points. No it does not! I do it in less than 3 seconds! This charging method is used on all UP2, UP3 and UP4 models. I think it's brilliant and I love it.

Julia Roberts wearing the UP2 – photo from Instagram @Jawbone 

CONCLUSION? Still one of the best in the market! It is for people who are into style and wants a tracker that looks good in any given situation, but still functional. I am so lusting over their new colours and especially LOVE that gold one. I might just get an upgrade next year!

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