Jawbone UP24 review

Jawbone's latest has to be worth your attention if you're looking for a fitness band

Everybody wants to make a wearable and the health and fitness space has had its fair share in recent times with efforts from the likes of Nike and Fitbit. What we have here is the latest effort from Jawbone, the UP24. And if you're looking for a fitness band – especially one to hook into your Android phone – it's worth your attention.

It may not be much to look at, but it packs a punch where it matters. Let's take a closer look.

The band

First things first; compatibility. Your Android phone will need to have Bluetooth 4.0 to use with the UP24, so if you're not making the grade there, sorry. This isn't the band for you right now. Jawbone has a handy web page{.nofollow} to help you get started, but it's not a complete compendium of compatible phones. Ultimately you'd have to try it out on your particular phone first.

It isn't a lot to look at but the UP24 is remarkably comfortable to wear. The overlapping design at the thinner end makes putting it on and taking it off a breeze while keeping it attached to your wrist nice and snug. It has enough flex to be easy to manoeuvre but isn't 'elastic.'

There's no display at all and no real controls to speak of. The 'Jawbone' logo is removable to expose the charging port and the silver square on the other 'end' of the band is the only button to operate. You only need to operate it to activate the band or put it into sleep mode. That's all there is to it. In terms of battery life, Jawbone says you need to charge it up once every seven days, which seems about right, and you're able to check the battery life within the app whenever the band is connected to your phone.

The Jawbone UP24 also comes in a choice of different colors to suit your own tastes. The one I've got here is a pretty vivid shade of orange, but there is also a less in-your-face black version to be had.

The app

Before we actually get to the app, there's a caveat to using it. Android 4.3 and above. Sure, for many folks reading Android Central on a regular basis that's not a big deal. But my LG G2 hasn't been updated beyond 4.2.2 yet – albeit mostly because of my own lazyness – and so I can't use the UP24 with it. What's perhaps more irritating is that because the app is also for managing the first generation UP, you're able to download it from the Play Store even if you don't meet the requirements.

It does say – in albeit pretty small text – on the packaging under System Requirements that you need Android 4.3. But a big sticker on the front of the box would have been a bit clearer.

Jawbone UP

Once you're into the app, though, it's not half bad. As with most things nowadays you need to create an account first. But once you're through that, the app is all you need to manage everything. UP24 can be used to track exercise – be that how many steps you take during a day or specific workouts – but it can also be used to track your sleep.

You track your sleep by holding down the button on the band until the corresponding lights flash. Do this when you're hitting the hay and the next morning you'll have a pretty comprehensive overview of your slumber. Turns out I wake up in the night more than I thought I did! Not having a full nights sleep? No worries, hit the button twice then hold it in and you enable power nap mode.

Looking at more physical activities, you can easily tailor the UP app to record your activities based on a range of pre-loaded workouts. I'll admit, I'm not the most active of people, but the pre-loaded selections cover everything from walking to Tennis via Yoga and Skiing.

Once the UP24 has collected the data there's a host of interpretations you can look at, like trends, your "lifeline" of total activity, and adjust your daily goals for activity and sleep on the fly. Perhaps more exciting is the amount of third party apps you can plug your UP data into.

Popular choices such as MyFitnessPal, Strava and RunKeeper are compatible, as are a bunch of other apps. I have used MyFitnessPal in the past with limited success syncing Fitbit data, but the addition of activity tracking to something which helps track your diet and overall exercise is a great thing to have.

The bottom line

All in all, the Jawbone UP24 is an excellent fitness tracker. It's comfortable to wear, and while I'm not crazy on the design – a wider, flatter band would be preferable to me – the fact it's easy to forget you're wearing it is a credit. The Jawbone UP app is full featured, easy to use, and you're offered a plethora of third-party options to plug your data in to.

The UP24 just recently launched in the UK around the £120 mark, which isn't cheap, but it is a decent chunk of change cheaper than the Nike Fuelband. And much less awkward on your wrist. It is more expensive than a Fitbit Flex, though. However, if a fitness band is what you want, definitely give it a look.

Buy Now: Jawbone UP24 - £120

Richard Devine