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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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When I first read about the Jawbone Up, I was really excited. The idea of a passive device that tracks activity, sleep cycles, and eating struck me as magic. All I had to do is sync it with a phone and it would sort out the bodies for me.

The reality hasn’t been nearly so sexy. I ordered the thing shortly after it was announced, because the marketing materials made it sound like a magical device. I waited several weeks, and then got an email of “whoops, more people want this than we thought, how about we give you a different color than what you wanted, and $10 off?” This was okay, but it was a bit of a surprise, especially given that it took so long to fail to deliver.

Anyway, the device showed up and I’ve played with it for a couple of days. Here’s the thing. It’s not magic. It tracks steps automatically (though I’m not sure accurately). Most everything else seems less than automatic. I got the impression that it would magically figure out when I was eating or sleeping, but the reality is I need to to tell it these things. While I may tell it that I’m going to bed, I may lay awake for several hours. This seems flawed.

I’m not sure how the smart alarm works yet. Maybe it works well? We’ll see on that one over time.

The activity reminder idea sounds good, but I can’t really figure out if it’s working. I’ve definitely had it go off while walking around for several minutes, and then I’ve definitely had it not go off while sitting and not doing anything for an hour. It’s not particularly reliable.

On the surface the device seems like a pretty neat reality augmentation/intelligence amplification device to nag oneself into being more aware of their body, but I’m not yet sure it works. We’ll see in a few weeks if my thoughts change?

Update 1

So a few days later, the activity reminder seems to be working better. I can’t really explain why it’s doing so, but it is. It’s not perfect, but I’d say false alarms are maybe 20% of the time now with 15-minute intervals, which isn’t bad. Step tracking still seems absurdly high versus reality.

The sleep alarm thing, I’m not sure yet — it always wakes me about 90 seconds into the alarm window. Going to need a few more weeks to figure out if that really works or not.

Update 2

Yesterday I synced the band in the morning and was at 93%. By lunch it was dead. I recharged it, verified it was at 100%, by bedtime it was … dead. Charged it all night. Took it off its charger (it was white, signalling fully charged) and it wouldn’t power on at all. It’s a piece of junk right now. Contacting Jawbone.

Update 3

The Jawbone support wasn’t helpful (they asked more questions, but never responded after that). The CEO sent out an email to everybody that bought one saying the thing is flawed and we can request a refund. So, I Requested a refund. Bummer.

Update 4

And the check arrived; the product was flawed, though interesting, and hopefully it’ll be better next time around. The customer service wasn’t particularly responsive, but I did get a full refund, and as indicated, with no questions asked. I’ll hand it to them, they at least stand by their product.