No mo Jawbone. :( Hello Fitbit. :)

I have been a dedicated fan of the Jawbone Up24 and Up2 fitness trackers for the last few years, but NO LONGER! I lost my first one, because there’s no clasp on an UP24 so I looped it around the top of my pants because I wanted stroller steps to count, and it fell off. D’oh!

Then I bought an Up2. And they had to replace it because the strap tore. AND, they didn’t have a black one to replace it with so I had to accept a light grey one, which I knew would look filthy and gross and cheap like a sad dead rubber band, and it did. But I had no choice, so I wore it until…

The band on that third one, the replacement for the second one, JUST TORE!  I emailed Jawbone’s customer service and they sent me a “we got your email” email, but nothing after that. It’s been weeks. So I called, and their message is basically a half-step better than dealing with Comcast—which means getting slapped with a glove filled with rocks instead of slapped with a glove filled with rocks with spikes on it…the message basically says “We really suck, you will not reach a person, you can try emailing. Cheers!”

So, fuck that shit. I’m done. Also, Fitbit finally makes bands that aren’t giant and ugly and hideous, so that worked out well for me, timing-wise.

Meet my new jam! Fitbit Alta.

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And yes, of course I got the special edition gold one. And yes, of course I already have a pink leather strap for it. Obviously. Come on.

Fitbit Alta Super Brief Review:

So far, so good. The straps are very easy to switch out. The bracelet has a very secure clasping system. The Fitbit Alta does seem a little more rugged than the UP2 was, so hopefully it won’t tear like those jokers did. It’s super easy to use. The app is fine. And it lets me know when I’m getting a call or a text, which is a little bit “Hey, calm down, you’re just a pretty pedometer OK? Stay in your lane.” But you can’t blame a bracelet for trying.



Fitbit Fashion

Wearables. Fitness trackers. I’ve been using one for almost ten years. It was called a Pedometer and it cost no more than $20. But now there are bracelets, so I’M IN. I’ve been using a Jawbone UP24 and I dig it. It looks less clunky than the fitbit bracelets, has a great, user-friendly app, and tracks sleep.

But if you have a Fitbit, people are working to make them less fugly. Here’s one I noticed on my Esty feed recently:



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Have you noticed all the articles about activity trackers lately? Apparently I have, because I bought one. I’ve always thought: that’s just an expensive pedometer, you idiots. But then I got it in my head that I wanted to go to fat camp, looked up what it costs, and said “waaaa. I can’t afford fat camp, so I’m going to buy myself a fancy tracker.” I’m a very rational person. Anyway, that’s how I ended up with a Jawbone UP24 around my wrist. Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 7.31.52 PM

MMmm. So tech-y. 

I’ve been using a little $20 pedometer for years. It works just fine, and it’s just as motivating as it needs to be. (The $10 ones break too easily.) It taught me that when I work full time in an ad agency and don’t walk to work, I only get 2500 steps a day. (A normal human being, not even working out, is supposed to get 10,000.) That is useful, life changing information. You could give $20 to a friend and ask her to tell you to slap you every hour and walk more, but she won’t be able to paint so stark a picture about how little you actually move and how close to inanimate you actually are. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset


So whatchoo got, Jawbone? Can you top that? I’ve been wearing the Jawbone UP24 for two weeks and here are the pros and cons:

PRO: wearing an activity tracker does communicate to you and others that fitness is a priority in your life.

PRO: It tracks your sleep. And it has made me realize I’m getting a lot less sleep than I thought I was.

PRO: It gives you updates on your progress and tips throughout the day. Like when it saw me only get 6.5 hrs of sleep for four days in a row it told me to catch up on some zzs over the weekend. Aw. It cares about me!

PRO: it’s always synching to your iphone via Bluetooth and the battery lasts a good few days.

PRO: You can set it to buzz to give you reminders when you’ve been inactive for too long! You don’t need to pay a friend $20 to slap you every hour and tell you to get up and take a walk.

PRO: smart sleep alarm: it can wake you within 20 min of your planned wake up time, but at a point when you’re in a light sleep, and before you slip back into a deeper one. Less zombie-like mornings.

PRO: I don’t have to clip it on my pants or put it in my pocket or take it out of my zipper pocket in boot camp when we lie on our back for abs.

PRO: you can synch it up with lots of other apps like My Fitness Buddy and track my run for even more accountability and insights.

CON: I’m pretty sure it counts hand clapping and bumpy car rides as steps. So that means it probably counts regular car rides? That’s not cool. Pedometers do not do that.

CON: I’ve somehow lost the USB plug and I can’t charge it until I find that stupid thing. The charge lasts a few days. The pedometer uses a watch battery that lasts months.

CON: no heart rate monitor, so no calorie burn feedback. Some do have this. They are big ugly watches as far as I can tell.

CON or PRO? no display on the bracelet itself. At first I thought I wanted a display, so I was considering the Nike fuel band. But I didn’t want to deal with made up fuel units (nike tracks “fuel” not calories or steps I don’t think).  And I thought it might be distracting to have flashing lights going off all day, so, I went with the jawbone instead of the Nike. It is nice to see how many steps you’ve gotten at a glance. But it’s on your phone, so all you have to do is glance at your phone. And it shows you what percentage of your step goal you’re at so far, so that’s extra motivation.

CON: I’ve been told that the new iphones can use their accelerometer like a pedometer and there are apps that basically turn it into an activity tracker. If you have it on your body at all times. Which I don’t. But, you know, FYI. Those exist. And many are free.

CONCLUSION:  Up 24 Loses. Technically. Rationally. Why? Because if you want a bracelet tracker, there are cheaper trackers that I’m sure do the same thing, and work with more platforms. And unless it’s a (big ugly) heart-rate tracking one, it doesn’t do anything that fancy. It is a useful app to hub all of your tracking in one place, but I don’t think that’s really worth $150.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. 🙂 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

EMOTIONAL RATIONALIZATION BONUS!  Hey. If seeing a fancy little thing on your wrist all day makes you more committed to getting your steps and whatnot, maybe that is worth something. And it does make a statement. And it is a conversation piece. And it’s easier to keep track of than a little slippery thing you have to put in your pocket every day. I have lost my little pedometer a few times. Pedometer = “Wait. What pair of pants was I wearing yesterday? Did I put it in my jacket pocket?” Plus, the sleep and inactivity alert things on the UP 24 are pretty rad. (I’m sure other trackers have that too, though.) But seriously, if you’re broke but want to track your steps, look for an app, or go on amazon and get this little pedometer. The ones at the drugstores and Target have springs in them, and they break. I’ve gone through many. I like the Omron brand. They’re solid. This isn’t the one I have, but I think it’s the one that came after. Close enough!

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 4.06.41 PM OH HAI!