Several weeks ago, I got the BodyMedia CORE, BodyMedia’s new, smaller device that uses galvanic skin response, an accelerometer, skin temperature, and heat flux with some behind-the-scenes algorithms to track intensity of movement (moderate vs. vigorous), steps taken, calories burned, and sleep. It has a nice online app that displays all your stats in easily digestible bar charts and allows you to input and track calories consumed.
Now enter the Jawbone UP—a sleek little wristband that claims to do everything the CORE does. At the risk of looking like an obsessive weirdo, I am tempted…
Let me preface this with I don’t consider myself to be a Quantified Self junkie. I am nowhere near as obsessive as a true QS’er. By necessity, I need to track calories in and calories out. It keeps me real and tracking one motivates the other (if I track exercise, I’m more likely to track calories and vice-versa). That said, once I started wearing the CORE, I became increasingly interested in the quality of sleep I was getting, how many steps I was taking, and getting a more in depth picture of my overall activity and calorie expenditure.
Enter the UP…
The Great: nice design which is much less obtrusive compared to its competitors. It has some really nice, simple features like setting reminders to get up and move (the UP will vibrate on your wrist to remind you) as well as an online and iPhone app that allows for greater interaction.
The Not-so-Great: I went to their website to learn how this little thing worked (disclaimer: I’m not a technologist, programmer, or any other deep-knower of technological knowledge) and all I could find were repeated mentions of “a built-in precision motion sensor” and “sophisticated algorithms” coupled with an abundance of sexy-looking apps, colorful charts, and trim beautiful people holding iPhones.
So to my laywoman’s mind, it seems the UP might just be a souped-up pedometer.
I’m still tempted though. They’ve done a nice job of developing supporting features like their Challenges and Community, and I imagine the reminder feature would be helpful in getting me out of my chair for a stretch. At $99, I just may give it a whirl.
UPDATE Nov 6th, 2011
I gave in to tempation and bought the UP. It hasn’t arrived yet but I just read this review which seems to back up my suspicions of UP’s shortcomings.
I’m still looking forward to giving it a whirl but I’m guessing I’ll be using their 50-day money-back guarantee.