Why I’ve Gone Back To A Jawbone UP Fitness Tracker–My Jawbone Up3 Review

I loved my Garmin fitness trackers. I loved the smart features of my Garmin VivoSmart, and when I was ready for something new, I loved the wrist-based heart rate monitoring of my Garmin VivoSmart HR. But a few weeks ago I decided I was done wearing it around the clock, and relegated it to occasional use for indoor cycling–when I remember to grab it from its charger before I head out the door. When I took it off that evening, I wasn’t sure I was going to replace it, but after only two days of having a “naked” wrist, I was wearing a new Jawbone UP fitness tracker–the UP3.

My first fitness tracker was the first Jawbone UP. Even after I had replaced it with the Garmin Vivosmart, there were a number of reasons I liked the UP better, but I stuck with the Garmin for its “smart” features (phone/text/email notifications) and then doubled down for the wrist-based heart rate monitoring of the VivoSmart HR. So what made me go back? 

1. Size. It’s no coincidence that I made the switch at the start of summer, after I started wearing short-sleeved tops to work. I always knew the VivoSmart HR was not the most fashionable device, but its clunky profile really bothered me in contrast to my spring outfits. I always liked the sleek profile of the UP bands, and I think they’ve done a really nice job making the new styles look more like jewelry.

Jawbone up3 review

UP3 vs. VivoSmart HR

2. Idle Alarm. Because of my sedentary job, an idle alarm is my main “must have” feature for a fitness tracker. When I decided to get a new fitness tracker, I looked at all the Fitbit models and checked out the reviews for a few less popular brands, but the Jawbone UP3 was the only model with an idle alarm and some heart rate monitoring in a slim design. I knew I would miss having “smart” features but I also knew I wouldn’t miss having an on-wrist data display because I almost never checked my step count on my Garmin devices.

Now that I’ve had my UP3 for a few weeks, I am finding that its idle alarm works better for me than Garmin’s. When I first got the Garmin VivoSmart, I thought it was cool that the longer I was idle the more steps I had to take to clear the alarm, but in reality that feature didn’t work for me. On days when I have back-to-back conference calls, I don’t have time to take laps around the office, but I think taking a quick break to refill my water bottle should count for something in a what you can when you can kind of way! Plus, the UP3 seems to recognize grocery shopping–or at least the walking to and from the car it involves–and doesn’t annoy me with an idle alarm while I’m putting the groceries away! 

3. Smart Coach.  In addition to nudging me to move every hour, the Jawbone UP3 encourages me throughout the day with its Smart Coach features. I have it set to give me an update on my steps in 20% increments and at 4:30 pm (when I can decide whether to add a walk to my day). While I ignored the data on my Garmin devices, I pay attention to the notifications on my phone.

Jawbone up3 review

It’s funny when I’m running and get all the notifications at once, but usually they are spread out over the day!

4. Resting Heart Rate Data. The Jawbone UP3 monitors heart rate, but its data collection focuses on resting heart rate (in the morning before waking) and passive heart rate (when you’re not active). Since I can monitor my running heart rate on my Garmin 225, and have a separate heart rate monitor for Orange Theory Fitness, I don’t really need a fitness tracker to monitor my working heart rate. Not only does the UP3 monitor my resting heart rate, but it notices changes. When it was a bit higher than my usual average, an in-app message pointed that out, and informed me that dehydration can contribute to a higher resting heart rate–something I wasn’t aware of. 

jawbone up3 review

This is the view when you open the app. The screen shows your resting heart rate (51 bpm), sleep data and current step data, as well as one or more Smart Coach tips. (You can scroll down for more.) If you tap the “+” icon you can manually enter data from a workout, indicate your mood, log your food, or enter your weight. It also will notice activity and prompt you to log a workout, asking “were you active between xx:xx and yy:yy?” It always notices a run, but it’s even noticed indoor cycling which is something my Garmins never did!

5. Summary Sleep And Activity Data. In addition to all the data available on the app, Jawbone sends me a weekly email with a summary of my sleep and activity data.

Jawbone up3 Review

Yes, my alarm usually is set for 4:39 am. 

jawbone up3 review

I like knowing the most idle hour–it’s probably when I am plugging away at work to finish my current project before I head home.

Jawbone up3 review

There is one thing that really annoys me about my UP3–it doesn’t show the time! 

Since this Jawbone UP3 review includes five reasons I went back to Jawbone, I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?! and Mar. at Mar on the Run.

Are you over your fitness tracker or still motivated by the numbers?

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18 Responses to Why I’ve Gone Back To A Jawbone UP Fitness Tracker–My Jawbone Up3 Review

  1. Tamieka says:

    Great review.

    I won an UP (small clip on device) and I was so excited. Unfortunately, it is terrible. The tracking numbers are horribly wrong ( usually about 2-3 thousand off) . I just use it for sleep now 🙁

    The UP3 is pretty and look at all those features but no having the time would drive me crazy!

  2. I still love my vivoactive. It’s got its quirks, but a year later I’m still in love with it.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Weirdos in the pool: Runfessions June 2016My Profile

  3. Pam says:

    This is a great review. While I have not taken the plunge into fitness trackers, I am amazed by the data you can track by wearing one. The sleep function would probably scare me because lately my sleep seems to be hit or miss with some nights being good and others not so great.
    Pam recently posted…Taking a mental health break from runningMy Profile

  4. Kim W says:

    Thanks for a thorough and interesting review. I knew so little about the UP before reading this. It’s got some great features and I really like the fact that it is more attractive on the wrist.
    Kim W recently posted…Course Guide: Women’s Distance Festival 5kMy Profile

  5. I don’t use a fitness tracker. My Apple watch has a tracker and a reminder to get up and stand. I turned it off because I’m not sedentary at work…and it made me feel like a slacker!

    Great review and I love the look of your tracker.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Runfessions: June EditionMy Profile

  6. ooh I do like the sleekness of the Jawbone UP! As with anything, I say do what works for YOU. I have a Fitbit Charge HR and I love it. There are some features that are meh but I like the data and just try not to be a slave to it. I don’t think I could function on an average of 5.5 hours of sleep :-O
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…Top Blog Posts of 2016My Profile

  7. wow – seeing both devices on your wrist is a big difference. this was a really good review. i like all the information you get. i’ve never thought i need a tracker but your review now has me thinking about it!

  8. Thank you for this post. I’ve been wondering about the differences between the different fitness trackers. I have the Fitbit Surge and it is way to clunky for my liking.

  9. I kind of lost interest in fitness trackers a while back. Sounds like yours has all the bells and whistles you like. 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Digging Into Pop Sugar Must Have Box-JuneMy Profile

  10. Marcia says:

    I love how jewelry like the UP is! I’m wearing a Microsoft Band II and I love everything about it except the look. Kind of blah, although I can change the colors and patterns of the display. Still not as pretty as the UP.
    Marcia recently posted…Runfession? Trifession? I Have a FewMy Profile

  11. vicki says:

    Thanks for the review… I just started wearing mine tracker again. I’ve been eyeing the UP3, but my UP24 still works fine, so hard to justify the expense.
    vicki recently posted…Racing FrequencyMy Profile

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