The Jawbone UP24 review

If you are someone like the majority of us here in Malaysia, keeping off weight seems to be an ongoing issue. It is always easier to add-on the extra kilos than to lose them. In a recent study, World Health Organization has found that in South East Asia, 44.2% of Malaysians are overweight, making us the heaviest among our brethren. We are unfortunately followed closely by Singaporeans, whom had 30.2% overweight and Thais, who were 32.2% overweight.

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Most of us will develop love handles in our late 20s or early 30s. And almost half of us Malaysians are overweight

Thankfully, brands like Fitbit and Jawbone has released various models of wearable fitness trackers for people who are keen to lose weight and keep them off. It is not easy however, and it takes discipline, staying off fatty food, exercising and keeping track of the frequency of exercise(s) done on a regular basis. For many of us though, we tend to lose discipline on the exercise and keeping track of our exercises and fitness levels.

That’s why Fitbit and Jawbone fits well like a glove for your fitness needs. While we are keen to write on the Fitbit Force, the very fact that Fitbit Force units have been recalled worldwide due to skin irritations  (source : Wikipedia), means that we will focus our article on the Jawbone UP24, now available in Malaysia for a princely sum of RM 599.00. If you are enterprising, you might be able to get some friend of yours who is returning from the States from summer break to bring one back for you for about RM 487.00 (based on the current exchange rates)

The Jawbone UP24 in action
The Jawbone UP24 in action

Jawbone Up24 : First Looks

The Jawbone Up24 looks almost like its predecessor in many ways, making it hard to tell the difference. Except that it now comes with new colours like Lemon Lime, Persimmon and Pink coral. That means the Jawbone, for now, is still the sleekest and most elegant wristband tracker in the market. While many trackers have been developed with ruggedness in mind, causing many of them to look overly masculine and obvious if you are going to wear them outside the gym, the UP24, like its predecessors looks stylish. Wear your Up24 at a wedding reception or office or at the gym, and it looks good either way.

Before purchasing, make sure you choose the right size, as the Up24 comes in three sizes, small, medium and large. The Jawbone Up24 is comfortable enough to sleep at night with, though it might take you one to two days to get use to it.

The Jawbone UP24 and how it looks inside
The Jawbone UP24 and how it looks inside

The Up24 comes with the main power button on one end of the band, while the other end has a cap that hides the charging plug from view. However, we are free to have a look at the internals of the UP24 via the photo above.

 Jawbone Up24 : Main differences from Jawbone Up

If you are considering between the Jawbone Up24 and the older model, the Up, there isn’t much differences, except that it now supports wireless syncing via bluetooth, and a slight price increase of USD 20.00, or RM 130.00 locally. (The Jawbone Up is RM 469.00, while the Up24 is RM 599.00). Is having bluetooth syncing essential you might ask. Yes, as it means you get your data easily and can formulate strategies or take emergency measures based on perhaps the dire lack of exercise and having had too much rich and creamy food the last few days.

In the earlier version of Jawbone’s wearable fitness tracker, the Jawbone Up, meant that you had to uncap the device and sync it via the USB adapter. Perhaps Jawbone began to realise that people valued convenience and incorporated bluetooth into the Up24.

However, with the Bluetooth also comes a shorter battery life. Previously you could waltz by 10 days before you need a recharge. But perhaps because bluetooth syncing takes more battery, the Up24’s battery life has dropped 3 days or 30% to only 7 days. But who are we to complain? Those days, devices couldn’t even last for two days.

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If you need a personal motivator, the Jawbone Up24 might just automate the job for you

The Jawbone will show your sleep and activity scores  on the home page, as percentage of your goal, which would help motivate you (or make you depress) for the day. Workouts however, need to be input yourself.

Another great thing about the Jawbone Up24 (and the Jawbone Up), is the ability to be connected to various apps and communities that comes with the app. Our personal favourite is IFTTT, whereby you can even sync your data to your Google drive. If you have friends who feel tired in the morning, perhaps having the Up24 would help, as they are able to log on a Google Spreadsheet, the number of deep sleep they have and adjust their sleeping hours until they hit an ideal time of sleeping.

Jawbone Up24 : How to improve

To improve, the Jawbone Up24 needs to improve on the following. Many users of the up24 have complained about suddenly noticing their fitness tracker missing from their wrist. This might not be a problem in more developed and affluent countries like Japan and Hong Kong, but if your Up24 suddenly drops in the middle of a busy weekend in Mid Valley, you might not be able to find it again.

Some other users and reviewers in a few reputable sites have also mentioned that they hardly, if ever get notifications. However, Jawbone made this statement, “Notifications are working as designed for most users, but in circumstances where a user isn’t getting a notification as expected, it could be because of individual configurations, like having your Bluetooth turned off, notifications turned off, or due to iOS closing the app while it runs in the background. Or, it could be that you’ve already seen the data, or that a goal isn’t likely achievable so it would feel like UP is nagging you by sending a notification.”

Unlike the Fitbit or the Nike, Jawbone’s Up24 does NOT comes with any screen whatsoever. It might help with the aesthetics, but it doesn’t help when you look at it for the time or any bits of information that might motivate you. However, the Up 3.0 software looks good and might make up for it for you.

Finally, the Jawbone Up24 isn’t cheap. Perhaps for people from Klang Valley, Penang and Johor, but majority of Malaysians might struggle to purchase it, as our average income is only RM 2.5k/month. And the average income includes all the high paying executives of multinationals, hawker stall owners, engineers, doctors, teachers and the like. Only two thousand five hundred ringgit monthly.

The Jawbone Up24 up close. It looks gorgeous, doesn't it?
The Jawbone Up24 up close. It looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?

For us the Jawbone Up24 comes with both strengths and weaknesses. We have summarised them as below

Strengths of the Jawbone Up24

  1. Looks great
  2. Track and analyse your fitness and even your sleep
  3. Bluetooth helps
  4. Great software for both Apple and Android phones

Weaknesses of the Jawbone Up24

  1. Slips off your wrist unexpectedly
  2. No screen
  3. Notifications might not work
  4. Expensive for Malaysians!

Conclusion

We believe that the Jawbone Up24 could be a valuable resource for you, if only you keep using it. With wireless data syncing, it is now easier than ever to get your statistics.

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