For some unknown reason, I keep giving my money to Jawbone. Despite dealing with multiple replacements for the original Jawbone UP band and the Jawbone UP24, I plunked down my credit card and pre-ordered the UP3 in November. Then, Jawbone delayed the band for six months. So, now that Jawbone has finally shipped the UP3 with a complete redesign and new sensors, is it worth it?
Despite that, I’ve enjoyed my UP3 so far. The new redesign is much welcomed. The band is much more comfortable to wear and I’m less concerned with damaging its components every time I put it on or take it off thanks to the fact they’ve been moved into the top of the case. The band also looks much nicer and makes typing way easier.
There are some concerns though. For one, the new clasp can be difficult to close and putting the band on can be an exercise in frustration some times. Jawbone also instructs users to wear the band tight enough for it’s five sensors to all touch the skin. For me, this means that the sensors have the tendency to dig into my wrist and feel uncomfortable.
Speaking of sensors, they’re what drew me to the band. Jawbone promised bioimpedance sensors that would be able to do things like tell me if I was dehydrated and needed to drink more water. But they don’t. At this time, all those fancy sensors can only do one thing: measure my resting heart rate when I wake up in the morning. Jawbone has promised to add more sensor features in future software updates, but it’s disappointing that after all the delays, these features weren’t ready by the time the band finally shipped.
Battery life is excellent, but that’s always been the case with Jawbone’s UP bands. Jawbone claims 7 days of battery life and so far the UP3 has delivered. Of course, this much easier when you don’t have a screen to deal with. We’ll see how battery life is affected once Jawbone unleashes the full potential of the band's sensors.
Ultimately though, and even though I’m satisfied with mine, it’s difficult to recommend the UP3. Yes it looks better, is more comfortable and has great battery life, but It’s disappointing that Jawbone took so long to release the UP3 and then immediately cannibalized it with with a cheaper option and a better (maybe) UP4. The fact that the band’s sensors are still crippled is also an issue. However, my biggest reason for not recommending the UP3: Jawbone has had a horrible track record with the long term durability of it’s UP bands.
Until Jawbone proves it can build a product that will last longer than a few months, I wouldn’t recommend you spend your money on them.