Jawbone UP: Issues, Bugs and Imperfections That Surprise Me

I received my first Jawbone UP in March 2013, and have used it (and its replacements) for about 65-70% of the time since. I like the UP, but here are some issues I would love to see resolved:

Bluetooth. Jawbone is known for its bluetooth technology, saying their Jawbone Era Headset is ‘simply the best on the planet.’ It might take a day’s juice out of the 10 days the UP lasts for, but adding bluetooth would make it easier to use and more competitive with other wearable devices. Space a limit? The UP has more cumulative volume than the Fitbit One and the Withings Pulse.

Manufacturing. I’m on my 3rd Jawbone UP. It’s been less than eight months since I received my first one, and I haven’t even been using it daily. Customer support tells me that since I’m past my first month, my only option is to trade in my broken UP for a new one, which I can do up to one year. After that, a dud is my own problem. Given my current track record, I’ll probably need a new one in less than three months – oh, and money back after the first month is not an option.

Apps Sync. The UP app doesn’t give you credit for runs/walks/activities done with other apps, if you aren’t wearing your UP band. RunKeeper doesn’t calibrate my steps (says zero) but it does say I walked 3.44 miles at a pace of 11.4 miles / minute. Based on my height and weight, which UP knows, it should be able to provide an estimate on how many steps I took during that walk. Instead of moving 9,635 steps, I should have roughly double that for Oct. 6th

Sensor sensitivity. Jawbone doesn’t always know when you get up for good (you have to push the button when you go to bed and when you wake up to track sleep). Surprisingly, my brisk walk this morning was interrupted with my UP vibrating at 7:00AM. I had set my Smart Sleep Alarm to vibrate at 7AM, but I had been continuously moving around since  6:26AM, and seriously pounding the pavement before the sleep alarm went off.

The Jawbone UP is in a burgeoning space, with new wearable trackers entering the market. I hope the next version produces a more thought out device, and addresses some of my concerns – concerns that an actual user would have.

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5 thoughts on “Jawbone UP: Issues, Bugs and Imperfections That Surprise Me

  1. Arkadiy says:

    I am using FitBit Flex and it suffers from similar issues. I like the little thing overall but I estimate it to overachieve by about 25-35%. But I simply aim at being consistent and competing with just myself. I am hoping for improved products that take into consideration heart rate, perspiration, gps, better sensors etc. All at the same size 🙂

  2. Alexisavvy says:

    That is very interesting – thanks for the feedback on the Flex. I’ll be trying out the new Fitbit Force in a few weeks and interested to see how that stacks up!

    • arkafonb says:

      keep me posted on the Force…I might want to upgrade although I don’t expect much improvement in accuracy. But it is nice to see how many steps you hiked plus all that on a tiny screen vs. looking at your phone all the time.

  3. steve says:

    Question to anyone who might know: My wife has this Jawbone UP and it records about 1/2 of the steps she actually makes. Is there a way to recalibrate it or is this one destined for the scrap heap due to internal problems? Unable to find answers anywhere.

  4. Alexisavvy says:

    Hi Steve, there is a way to do a soft reset and a hard reset on the device. A hard reset clears all the data, so I would try the soft reset first. If you have any questions, I suggest contacting Jawbone (details below). I got this information from the Jawbone help desk folks in May 2013, hope it helps:

    I’m sorry that your UP is not working as it should. Please attempt the soft reset below:

    – Start with the UP connected to the charger but don’t connect the charging cable to your USB port.
    – Press + hold the button on your UP as you plug the charging cable into the USB port on a well-powered computer. Release the button on your UP. You should see the Status Light flash multiple colors, like a rainbow.
    – Remove the UP from the charger. The Status Light will begin to flash yellow and red.
    – Please sync your band.

    Let me know if this resolved the issue. If this did not work, please attempt the hard reset. This reset is a little more intense. It will return your band back to factory settings. This means it will erase all data on the band that hasn’t already been synced. This should give us the reaction we are looking for. Find the hard reset below:

    – Press the button on the UP band ten times, pressing + holding the button on the tenth press.
    – Continue to hold the button until the Status Light starts flashing red. Then, release the button.
    – Please sync your band.

    If this still did not work, we would like you to try one last thing. Please attempt the Voice Memo Test if you are using an iOS device:

    – Please open up the Voice Memo application on your iPhone. The Voice Memo application comes standard on all iPhones and will be located in your Utilities folder.
    – You should see the dial resting at -20. Please plug in your UP band and let me know where the dial moves to, if anywhere.

    Please reply with how your UP responded to each of these steps and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

    If you have any further questions, you can reach out to us through chat (just click the following link) http://jawbone.com/contact , by phone at 1-800-JAWBONE, or by replying to this email. Please keep your ticket number of: 962731 for when you get in touch. It’s very helpful.

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