Jawbone's New UP24 Finally Brings Bluetooth to the Party

Illustration for article titled Jawbone's New UP24 Finally Brings Bluetooth to the Party

It's kind of hard to believe, but Jawbone—a company that was built on Bluetooth—didn't have a wireless radio in the first two iterations of its fitness tracker, the Jawbone UP. That finally changes today with the introduction of the Jawbone UP24.

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Physically, the UP24 is essentially identical to the last version of the UP. It's the same, wrap-around band. But now it has Bluetooth 4.0, so the UP24 will finally send real-time updates to your iPhone (and "soon" to Android phones), meaning you can get more detailed info about what you've been up to while you're up to it. That a good thing, but it can hardly even be considered a catch-up move at this point. There's still no display (or any other way to see your progress on the band itself), and there's still no altimeter.

It's also twenty bucks more than that last UP, and it only gets seven days on a charge, as opposed to ten. Frankly, why you would spend $150 of this, instead of $130 on the far more capable Fitbit Force, we have no idea.

There's a new 3.0 version of the UP app which will add a micro-goal setting program called "Today I will..." as in, "All week I've done nothing but eat potato chips and cry in my bathtub full of gravy, but today I will stand up and sit down at least three times!" Or something like that. Small, manageable goals is the idea. It can also estimate your sleep if you forget to switch it into sleep mode (which is handy), and it will applaud you for streaks and hitting milestones.

The UP 3.0 app will be rolling out for iOS this week and will work with both the UP24 and last year's UP, but of course live updates will only happen with the UP24. The new app will be coming to Android "soon," but you should probably expect it to take a little while to get the Bluetooth thing in working order.

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The UP24 is available today for $150 from Jawbone's website, and will be for sale at Apple Stores and Best Buy starting November 19th (the original UP will continue to be sold as well). Ultimately, this seems like a ho-hum update, and too little too late. If you're looking for a tracker for the holidays, the Fitbit Force, the Withings Pulse, and the Basis B1 are all almost certainly better ways to go. [Jawbone]

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DISCUSSION

I know the 2012 Up got a lot of gripe for not having Bluetooth, and still gets gripe for not having a display, but I've never really had an issue with manually syncing and I don't think it needs a display.

My first step into activity trackers was with the Nike Fuelband. I found myself checking the device almost too much (that's probably just because I'm a little OCD about that stuff). But after it broke for the second time and a number of LEDs died on the display, I switched to the Up, in spite of all of the negative reviews and I am extremely glad I did.

I get that people want to be able to access that data easily, but the Jawbone is great because I can forget that I'm wearing it. It forces me to not think about the device because I can't access the data at any moment. Now, maybe that's not how Jawbone wants people to interact with their device, but its nice for me that I can just plug it in after a run or at the end of my day and see my activity and not be checking how many steps I got on the way to the refrigerator or walking to the coffee maker at work.

Not everything in life needs to be so automatic.

That being said, the lack of an altimeter in this iteration is a let-down, as well as the drop in battery life.