Review: Jawbone Up24

Review: Jawbone Up24
Jawbone Up24 fitness tracker.

The original Up fitness, which tracks your movements and sleep, has been seen on many a famous wrist, including actor Gwyneth Paltrow and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

But the original Up's major downside is that you have to take it off and plug it into a smartphone via a headphone jack to sync the data.

Up24, the improved version, is now wireless. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

At first glance, it looks very much like the original, with the same thin and bendy wristband form factor. It uses the same medical-grade hypoallergenic rubber, which is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

But look closer and you will find the zigzag design of the original gone. Instead, Up24 sports a swirly pattern which is more pleasing to the eye.

As with the original, you can keep it on when you wash your hands, but you cannot take it into the shower or swimming pool.

There is still a silvery button on one end of the wristband to toggle the sleep, power nap and awake modes. At the other end is a removable cap which hides a jack.

There is an included jack-to-USB adaptor for charging. The jack here is thinner than the original, so you can no longer insert it into a smartphone.

The device still has no display. Instead, it has a flower icon to indicate awake mode and a moon icon to indicate sleep mode. By default, the device is in awake mode.

You can switch to sleep mode before going to bed. Hold down the silvery button until the band vibrates and the moon icon glows green. For a power nap, press the button twice and hold it down until the band vibrates.

To get the data which Up24 tracks, download the updated free app (Android and iOS) to your smartphone.

Before using the app, key in information such as gender, height and weight. If you are already using the app, just log in to your profile.

Pairing is easy. The app was able to detect the Up24 and paired within a minute. Subsequently, to sync the data, make sure your smartphone's Bluetooth is switched on, then launch the app. It takes a few seconds for the app to detect and sync the latest data with the Up24.

After syncing, you will be able to view your sleep pattern, steps taken and calories burned, on beautifully constructed colourful charts and statistics.

You can see how long you spend in sound sleep, light sleep, as well as how long it takes you to fall asleep. It even detects how many times you woke up. However, there are times when I was quite sure I did not wake up at all, but the app recorded that I woke up twice.

One neat trick is the Up24's ability to set Smart Sleep vibrating alarms, which will not disturb your spouse. You can also set Idle Alerts that will vibrate to tell you that you have been sitting for too long.

On the downside, BLE means that battery life takes a hit. While the original Up could go 10 days on a single charge, the Up24 lasts a week at most and it costs about $60 more than the original.

Although pricier than the original, the Up24 is certainly more value for money with its user-friendly wireless syncing and better features.

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