Fitness trackers, otherwise known as wearables, have become a large part of many people’s lives. For me, wearing a fitness tracker on my wrist for a year really changed my life. It was like having a personal trainer not only monitoring the amount of exercise that I was doing, but also encouraging me to reach and then surpass my goals. The wearable that I used was Jawbone UP24 which I really liked. In particular the community of friends that gave daily support. However, there were a number of problems with the hardware and I had stopped wearing it about three months ago. To cut a long story short, it fell apart. It became unwearable.
I initially planned to upgrade to an Apple Watch which has some similar features, but the reviews haven’t been too good and so I decided to wait for Apple Watch 2 next year. But, I had to do something. Since I had stopped using the fitness band, I had literally stopped exercising. I had no incentive any more. Yes I know, I am a weak person. But I have also been travelling a lot which has led to a poor diet and me gaining a lot of weight in a short time. Then I heard last week that the UP2 had just been released in Thailand. So I decided to buy this new fitness band at the recent Commart Thailand. Cost was 4,990 Baht. This is my “first look” review, though I should add, that this only lasted 24 hours as I went back the next day to get my money back!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Jawbone UP wearables. I really wanted it to work out for me. And it did to an extent. As soon as I got home from the computer fair, I set up the wristband and was out straight away for a walk. By the end of the day I had reached my target of 10,000 steps. I was exercising again, and that is what was important. However, there were a few things that bothered me about UP2 comapred to UP24. Yes, it is slimmer and less noticeable on your wrist. But I found the clasp a little difficult to fasten. And at one time it nearly fell off by itself. Then the buttons for changing modes weren’t very responsive. You are supposed to double tap, but often I had to tap half a dozen times.
One of the things that I liked about the UP24 wristband is the silent alarm and idle alert. For the former, you set a time for you to wake up and then the window for the silent alarm. For example, I would set it to wake me up by 5:15am but set a window of 15 minutes so it could wake me when it sensed that I was starting to wake anyway. It’s called a silent alarm because it just vibrates. A great way to wake up. But, the vibrations on the UP2 were very weak. In fact, I thought my band was malfunctioning. But, what prompted me to take it back was that the idle alert wouldn’t work. I loved this feature in UP24. I had set it to vibrate when I was sitting at the computer for too long. This forced me to take regular breaks.
I wrote to support but didn’t receive an immediate reply. I then decided to take it back to the computer fair to see if I could change it for a new one. The UP bands don’t exactly have a good reputation for being strongly built. Lot’s of people complained about battery problems in the past and my own UP24 just fell to pieces. So, I just presumed I had a dud. As it turned out, I did. They couldn’t get idle alert to work on my wristband nor another one in stock. Though it did work fine with their Android device. As for the vibrations on the U2, I was told that it was designed to be softer than that on the UP24. While talking to them, they admitted that there were some known issues with the iPhone and UP2. Which begs the question, why did they sell it to me?
At this point, I just wanted to buy UP24 instead. If the price was cheaper, I would prefer that over the new and so-called “improved” UP2. Yes, it is bulkier, but it did the job for me. And the batteries lasted a full 14 days. Unlike the “new and improved” UP2 that lasted only a week. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any UP24 wristbands in stock. So, I decided to ask for my money back. Which gratefully they did. But, I had to do something. And soon. I am overweight and out of shape. I needed this personal trainer. So, in the end, I decided to jump ship and go for a rival wristband. After doing some quick online research while still at the computer fair, I decided to buy the Fitbit Charge HR. It was on promotion at 5,030 Baht which is about the same price as the UP2.
I will write a “first look” review for the Fitbit in a few days. While I am at it, I will also do a comparison between the UP2 and the Fitbit Charge. You might find it useful if you are thinking about getting a wearable for the first time. As a footnote, I just received back a reply from support. They said they will make available to me an upgrade to the firmware which, they said, would solve some of my issues. I replied, “Too late, I already got my money back and bought a Fitbit”.