Jawbone Up3 Review: Is It Better Than A FitBit?

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UPDATE: Jawbone Goes Out of Business

So, yeah… probably don’t buy one of these fitness trackers.

There are some pretty attractive discounts around right now for Jawbone devices.

But there is one big issue with this: there is no company to support the devices.

Buy one now, at a discounted rate, and you’ll be left with a device that will NEVER get updates.

For this reason: you’re best off avoiding them and looking elsewhere.

Samsung has some excellent options, however, which you can check out below: 

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Smartwatches were a device category that a lot of people fantasised about, most likely due to their depiction in sci-fi for many years, but then when the reality came along it just didn’t live up to the hype.

You could hardly describe smartwatches as having “taken off” – they don’t sell too well, and that’s despite firms as lofty as Apple and Samsung releasing several iterations and repeatedly pushing the concept.

Why are they so unpopular though?

In our view it seems to be a case of smartwatches trying to do too much of what phones do already, and due to the confines of a smaller form factor, not doing it as well.

Most of them don’t even function independently of a smartphone.

What’s more, in many cases much of the added functionality means battery life is poor; and if we’ve taken away only one thing from the smartphone experiment, it’s that people hate re-charging watches all the time.

HOWEVER, there are one or two features of smartwatches which seem generally quite popular with consumers – most notably fitness tracking.

But crucially these features can be had elsewhere on devices which are honed towards the task, they last longer between charges, and ultimately sell better – we’re talking about fitness bands.

Yup, stripping away all the guff and just focusing on what people want from a wrist-mounted device – better fitness tracking – seems to be the magic trick for selling more hardware in this category.

Most phones these days do some sort of fitness tracking, but a bespoke tracker like the Jawbone Up3 brings a lot more functionality to the table.

They make tracking easier and more accurate, pack in lots of detailed analytics, and allow you a greater degree of control when logging your activity.

So… is the Jawbone Up3 fit for purpose?

Let’s find out shall we?

Jawbone Up3 Review: Design

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Subtle. Understated. Smart – the Jawbone Up3 is all of these things. It looks like a leather bangle and won’t stand out too much when you’re dressing to impress. Especially if you go for the black model.

The Jawbone Up3 is ideal for those of you looking for a stealth fitness tracker, something that can be worn and used without any real fuss. I like this about the Jawbone Up3, as I don’t like a lot of business happening on my wrist.

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The band itself is slim and will sit comfortably above or below your watch. The Jawbone Up3 is only splash resistant, though, so be careful taking it swimming or in the shower. The clasp is durable and, once fastened, stays put which is handy for those that like running long distances on tough terrain.

There’s not really much else to say about the way it looks; it is what it is – nothing more nothing less. The Jawbone Up3 is lightweight (29g) and, in my opinion, is nicer looking than its nearest FitBit rival.

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The Jawbone Up3 is designed to fit wrists ranging from 140mm to 190mm but if you want to take advantage of its heart monitoring features you’ll need to make sure its tight, as contact-pressure is required.

Jawbone Up3 Review: Features

The latest update for the Jawbone Up3 has fixed a bunch of issues that plagued the device at launch. It can now switch seamlessly between activity mode and sleeping mode as well as take constant heart readings throughout the day in order to give you accurate data about when you’re most active.

There is no display on the Jawbone Up3, so you’re reliant on your smartphone to view data and logs. This isn’t too much of an issue, however, as the device is designed to simply work in the background and keep out of the way.

Where the Jawbone Up3 really shines, though, is in its wide support for a host of third party applications. It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android. You can link it with Runkeeper, for instance, to track and log your runs and a host of other fitness applications, which is a really nice touch.

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The big star of the show, however, is Smart Coach.

Smart Coach basically makes lots of suggestions about how to improve your overall health and the best ways and approaches for achieving your goals. It will, for instance, tell you the best time to go to bed and the best time to wake up; offer up tips on your running routes and progress, as well as frequent insights on improvements you’re making.

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The quality of the data and the level of consistency across the iOS and Android apps is great and, after using the Jawbone Up3 for a couple of weeks, I really started enjoying Smart Coach. Like, I actually got lots of value from it, even if it was just a motivational quote that helped me man-up and go for a run when feeling a little lazy.

Jawbone Up3 Review: Battery

Battery life is pretty solid. But that’s to be expected on a device that doesn’t have a display.

I consistently got around 7-8 days of uptime before it required a charge.

Jawbone Up3 Review: Verdict

If you’re looking for a sleek, subtle, feature-rich fitness tracker, the Jawbone Up3 comes highly recommended. Jawbone’s platform is superb, working seamlessly across Android and iOS.

I love the fact that it integrates third party applications and Smart Coach is a brilliant USP for the platform. The only potential downside to the Jawbone Up3 is that its a little pricy at £130 – but then you do get what you pay for these days.

GroupOn is running a pretty good offer on these, however, where you can pick one up in the US for $58! 

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