The Jawbone UP3 is a fitness tracker to keep your eye on.
- Price: $179.99
- Sizing: Adjustable clasp (220 x 12.2 x 9.3mm, 29 grams)
- Battery: Up to 7 days, with 100-minute charge time
Where the UP24 made only slight improvements from the second generation UP, the UP3 is a redesigned band that offers more practical features, like water resistance up to 10 meters, that are increasingly becoming commonplace with other wearables from the market. It looks like Jawbone are finally giving its customers what they wanted from the UP24 upgrade, and for a slight markup in price to $179.99, it seems like a smart move to hold your breath if you’re considering purchasing a fitness tracker. Let’s have a look at all the ways the UP3 claims to be the superior device of the Jawbone range.
- Only a fraction more than the UP24
- And you get a whole lot more
- New and exciting heart rate monitor technology
- Water resistant up to 10 meters
- Still no sign of an altimeter
- Still no progress display
Heart rate monitoring and ‘bioimpedance’
Off the bat, it is clear that the UP3 is Jawbone’s attempt to keep up with the competition. Within a year it seems that heart rate monitors have become commonplace in fitness trackers with both the Microsoft Band, and the Fitbit Surge offering the feature. And now Jawbone has your heart rate covered too with its bioimpedance technology. This is really the UP3’s big selling point and Jawbone is really going all out with their new technology. In place of optical sensors, like the ones used by the Fitbit Surge, the UP3’s bioimpedance sensors are tiny metal studs on the inside of the band that measure the body’s resistance to little electric currents and captures various physiological signals, specifically, your heart rate.
Jawbone is boasting a number of benefits that the bioimpedance technology offers over traditional optical sensors. Firstly, the battery life. Jawbone claim that bioimpedance requires ‘significantly less’ power compared to optical sensors and provide the same level of accuracy. Not only does bioimpedance capture heart rate, but it also tracks respiration rate and “galvanic skin response”, or skin conductance for short. Jawbone are also emphasizing that the technology can be updated, and that they will be releasing free firmware updates that unlock new features for the platform including ‘passive’ and ‘on-demand’ heart rate analysis.
Heart rate monitoring can be tricky, as what’s a normal reading at a certain time of the day may be abnormal for another, and most of us aren’t experts in matters related to the cardiovascular. This is where Jawbone’s glorious app steps in. It splits heart rate data into three categories, heart rate during activity, resting heart rate, and heart rate throughout the day. Monitoring heart rate during physical activity is useful for identifying cardiac zones and recovery times. Whereas, resting heart rate provides a good insight to long-term health, energy, and metabolic efficiency. But various daily activities impact our heart rate too, and the Fitbit app will take into consideration food, hydration, stress and anxiety and coffee consumption when monitoring your heart rate throughout the day and incorporate this information into its in-built Smart Coach feature. As if we needed another reason to love the user-friendly Jawbone app.
Though the Jawbone UP24 has enough visual appeal, one complaint was its rigid shape that forces it to sit just off the wrist. For such a slim band, it is an awkward fit. That’s another upgrade the UP3 makes. Its more classic watch-clasp design allows for a much tighter fit. Its anodized steel face and frame crossed with a classic silicone band (available in ‘Black Twist’ and ‘Silver Cross’ at launch) blur the lines between fashion and fitness– something that cannot be said for the UP24.
Also added since the UP24 is better water resistance and simple LED notifications. While the UP24 could only take a light splash from washing the dishes or running in the rain, the UP3 will can be submerged up to 10 metres, which should come of incredible use when popping out for a few laps in the pool. Odd though, that Jawbone still refuse to call it ‘waterproof’. It had to be done if Jawbone truly wants to market their devices as 24/7 fitness wearables. While there is still not display on the band, there are few LED indicators that seem to indicate different modes. It is a slight improvement, but still not enough to contend with the Fitbit Surge or Charge HR.
The added features of the Jawbone UP3 definitely put Jawbone back on the map of worthy wearables, however, it’s hard to ignore the omissions they’ve made with what will be their flagship device. The lack of a display, and an altimeter to count floors climbed (which, really, is a necessity) will obstruct the UP3s allure. But if it’s the Jawbone you’re after, and you’re willing to spend that little bit extra, then hold out for the UP3s release.