Jawbone Up Move Review
The Jawbone UP platform has impressed since its introduction in 2012, not least because of the access offered to the impressively friendly Jawbone Up activity monitoring app. The latest offering from Jawbone, the Up Move isn’t so much a progression of the popular UP24 monitor as it is an alternative option geared toward simplicity and ease of use. Rather than focusing on the top end of the market like many of its competitors, Jawbone has engineered the Move as a capable fitness tracker that offers many of the benefits of a pricier unit in a basic and well-priced package. The uncomplicated operation, spectacular battery life, and low price have instantly made the Jawbone Up Move a serious competitor in the entry-level fitness tracker arena.
The first thing most folks will notice about the Move is its distinctive appearance. In particular, this little tracker departs from the wristband setup so typical of fitness monitors. The Move harkens back to the old days of pedometers with its use of a basic clip mounting system. The clip system isn’t integral to the Move unit; rather, it’s a hypo-allergenic rubber housing pod the Move pops into and out of. The clip mounting system itself is surprisingly secure. It can easily hang upside down from a shirt hem, in the most comfortable spot on a sports bra, or out of the way on a belt or coin pocket. The ribbing inside the clip allows for a strong hold, but isn’t sharp enough to snag or otherwise degrade fabrics. Due to the small size of the device, the clever clip mount allows user the option to easily conceal the Move from view. The unit quickly disappears from sight when it’s clipped under a shirt tail or jacket. If you’re the type who’s interested in counting steps and tracking movement, but not necessarily interested in having a conversation with every other fitness nut in the room, be sure to take a look at the Move.
In addition to the unusual clip mounting system, the device itself is a little unconventional. Outside of the clip housing, the unit is about the size of a stack of four quarters. The face is available in five colors (Ruby, Blue, Black, Grape, and Slate) and two patterns. One pattern is a flower-like pattern that could have been drawn on a Spirograph, while the other is something more akin to the pleasing geometry found on the bottom of a starfish. The patterns just provide an individual look; they don’t affect the functionality of the device.
It should go without saying that Jawbone is offering a number of groovy color options for the clip housing. For those hesitant to make the switch to a clip mount, a somewhat silly looking wristband is still an option (albeit a $15 aftermarket one), and is easily swapped out for the clip. Simply pop the Move unit out of the clip housing and into the wristband.
Jawbone has created a unique user interface for operation of the Move. The entire front of the unit is a single large button that toggles all the functions. Pressing the button down for combinations of short and long holds cue the various functions. Remembering the correct button pushing sequence for each action does take a bit of practice, but it’s easier than it seems. To help, there are several icons that illuminate up when the button face is pressed.
Though designed for use primarily as a fitness tracker, there is a clock function built into the Move. Upon pressing the button in the correct combination, small bars illuminate around the perimeter of the face of the Move. The bar representing an hour hand glows steadily, while the bar for the minute hand flashes. It’s a little clumsy in that it requires the Move unit to be placed within its housing just so in order to ensure the “hands” are aligned correctly, but it’s functional and is really nothing more than a bonus anyway.
The Up Move is splash and sweat resistant, but won’t tolerate submersion. If you’re trying to include your swim workout (or shower workout, if you’re of the notion) in your daily activity, the Up Move isn’t going to be much help. That said, a Garmin or other sport-specific recording device will probably offer more functionality for true training purposes anyway. When mounted to clothing in its clip mounting system, there probably won’t be much risk posed of accidental submersion. For those preferring to use the aftermarket wristband setup, however, it will pay off to think twice before hopping into the shower or reaching for the fork at the bottom of the dishwater.
The Move relies on Bluetooth 4.0 for communication duties. It will sync well with most Android or iOS devices, including the full range of iPads.
One of the single biggest advantages of the new Up Move is its old-school battery system. Rather than relying on a typical rechargeable system, the Move is powered by a single CR2032 coin-sized battery. Jawbone claims a six month lifespan on a single battery. Even if that’s a vast overstatement, this is sure to beat the current one to two week battery life of the most efficient of the Move’s competitors. One more note on the battery: Since the battery is replaced rather than recharged there’s no worry about the irritating loss of storage found in rechargeable batteries. In other words the Move won’t require delicate charging procedures for fear of it losing its ability to hold a charge over time the way a rechargeable unit will. Don’t worry too much about battery availability. The CR2032 is a common standard, and is readily available for less than $4 at most box stores and local sporting goods shops.
The Up Move uses its internal tri-axial accelerometers to track steps and distance. Its inherent accuracy is no surprise, considering Jawbone’s experience in the fitness tracking segment. Most of the tracking functions are performed by and stored on the Move device, but all of the readout and data interpretation is done with the fancy Jawbone UP app. Remember that the Move is a monitor, not really an interactive device. It’s designed to collect information, and to display it on a separate screen: Your phone. Keeping this in mind, the Move does have a convenient progress indicator consisting of an illuminated bar that moves around the device face as you progress toward your daily goal.
A stopwatch setting allows a user to specify a certain interval of time as a workout. During, say, a run, simply put the Move into stopwatch mode. When you’re later uploading your daily data file, you’ll have the option to define your stopwatch time as a workout. The steps, time spent, and distance covered will be noted in your file as a run.
Sleep tracking on the Move is adequate, assuming a comfortable method of wearing it is found. Here is another big advantage of the optional wrist band housing. Once that’s taken care of, the sleep mode is manually engaged and disengaged with a series of button presses. A little moon icon will appear on the device face when sleep mode is activated. If you happen to turn in without remembering to engage the sleep mode, the Move is designed to figure out that you’re sleeping, and will automatically place itself in sleep mode. You’re on your own for an alarm, though; unlike some of Jawbone’s other offerings, the Move saves on complexity of operation as well as battery life by not offering any alarm or vibrating functions.
It’s important to understand that without any heart rate tracking function, the Move simply resorts to measuring movement to determine sleeping patterns. As such, the Move’s sleep tracking system might be more adequately described as a rest or downtime tracker. It’s still valuable information, and is one of the features that justifies the purchase of a fitness tracker as opposed to using one of the many phones on the market that can now track activity and will cooperate with popular fitness tracking apps.
One of the most attractive features of the Jawbone Up Move is the excellent Jawbone app with which it’s designed to be used. The Jawbone Up Move app interface is extremely easy to use, and offers all the features an average user would care to explore.
In addition to the expected step counter and sleep tracker graphs, the UP app compares your numbers to those of other users with similar demographics. If you’re one of those needing a little extra motivation to get the most out of their fitness tracking, Jawbone’s got you covered with their “Today I Will” feature. This is an automated feature that delivers daily suggested goals for numbers of steps or hours of sleep.
Naturally, the app allows sharing of activities with friends, as well as with a number of other relevant apps and websites. If you’re a user of Strava, MyFitnessPal, or RunKeeper, files can be transferred back and forth to ensure all your activity is accounted for. The new partnership between Jawbone the popular food-tracking app LoseIt! adds another dimension to weight loss or habit tracking. For those with a Nest Learning Thermostat in their home, the UP app can make observations and recommendations regarding sleep patterns related to interior climate conditions. Those in the know refer to this web of sites and apps with a similar goal as an ecosystem. In terms of these ecosystems, the UP app is in a league of its own. In case you were wondering; the future is here.
The Jawbone UP Move fits all of the necessary step and sleep tracking functions demanded of fitness trackers today into an extremely handy, compact little package. User friendliness is high, the associated UP app is excellent, and barrier to entry doesn’t get much lower. For a first timer, the Move is an excellent little device to get a foot in the door and see what this fitness tracking business is all about. For folks already in the game, the Move offers a cool, low-profile option that’s extremely easy to use. Forget charging, strapping, and figuring out how to integrate a techy rubber band with work attire. The Move can be left in a travel bag for trips, concealed inside a waistband or jacket, or left in a briefcase or glove box as a dependable backup. No matter what your intent, for $50 you just can’t go wrong.
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