Jawbone UP2 Review

Sleek Design, Cool App, Finicky Functionality

Jawbone UP2

Straight out of the box, I had really high hopes for the Jawbone UP2 ($99). And the thing is, there are aspects of the band and app that I truly love... that I would even deem "best" when compared to other fitness wearables. However, I couldn't rate this tracking devices as high as I would have liked because it's a bit finicky and has the tendency to slip off. Bummer!

The Jawbone UP2 Band

The first thing I said when I touched the Jawbone UP2 for the first time was, "Oh, I love the band." It wasn't just that it's smaller and sleeker than other tracking devices, looking more like jewelry than a wearable, but it just felt better - softer and more pliable.

But then I took a pause. There were two potential problems I saw right off the bat. First, the band's clasp is more of a hook closure than a latch, which made me wonder if it would stay secure. Second, it became clear that you can't access any of your stats from the band itself, requiring you to log into the app to track your progress.

I stayed open to these differences initially, but my concerns did bear out. While I didn't hate using the app to track my stats, it was occasionally cumbersome to note my progress if my phone wasn't right at my side. But more of a problem was the band's clasp - it came undone at least twice a day and the band completely fell off my arm a couple times. I'm actually surprised I didn't lose it.


I liked the UP2's charging device - a simple magnetic USB cable that easily clicks into place. I found the band held its charge fairly well - roughly a week - before needing to be recharged.

The Jawbone UP2 App

I actually loved the UP2 app interface. It's probably my favorite wearable app to date. While there were a few little things I found a bit hard to navigate (for instance, figuring out how to enter in a new workout if the app didn't prompt you to do so), they were superceded by the cool features.

First of all, the app provides many functions similar to other fitness bands on the market. Like most, the app tracks steps, calories burned, calories consumed (when manually entered), distance, sleep and time spent moving. You can set personalized goals and engage in friendly competition with other Jawbone users. The app provides trends over time and awards badges for meeting certain goals and milestones. While these features are presented a bit differently from other apps, they alone aren't much different from the Fitbit Charge, Basis Peak or Inbody Band.

But the cool features - the ones I really loved - were courtesy of Jawbone's Smart Coach. Based on your unique daily activity, the Smart Coach offers tips and encouragement to help you stay motivated and on track. It gives advice about adding in extra activity to your day, the importance of sleep and tips on how to consume more fresh produce. It also notes when you've been active (for instance, you took a 30 minute walk), and it'll ask you if you want to log the movement as a workout.

Accurate but Finicky

Overall, I found the Jawbone UP2 to be a fairly accurate step and sleep tracker, and if anything, it underestimated daily step count. This may sound like a bad thing, but I'd rather my tracker underestimate step count, encouraging me to get more active, than to overestimate step count.

Unfortunately, it was also fairly finicky. If it was too tight or too loose, it wouldn't track steps very well. If I had a long sleeve shirt on that interfered with the band's movement, it wouldn't track very well. And, like almost all bands, if you're engaging in non-walking or running activity (for instance, strength training, cycling or skating), the band won't track it well. You can always add in workouts through the app's interface, but it's frustrating to know you've been working hard, but your band won't give you a proverbial pat on the back for your efforts.


At $99, the Jawbone UP2 is a fairly affordable option that does a good job of tracking steps and sleep. While you can't monitor your daily progress from the band's interface, it's a more fashionable choice than most wearables on the market. If you do choose to make a purchase, make sure you read the instructions about fit carefully to maximize your band's accuracy.

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