Nike Fuel, Fit Bit, and Jawbone, have been going head to head as the biggest names in the fitness bands industry this year, but it hasn’t yet been clear, which one is in the lead.
Personally, I took my first leap into the fitness band craze by getting the Jawbone UP 24, an updated version of the more commonly known UP band.
How has my experience been so far? I’ve tried it out for three weeks now, and this is how my experience has been so far..

 Design
The UP 24 comes in four colors; pink coral, lemon lime, onyx, and persimmon- which is the one I have.
The hardware is flexible rubber, and is hypoallergenic, meaning users shouldn’t be worried about developing a rash or allergic reaction *cough* unlike a lil Fit Bit mishap.
The band is very smooth, and it feels just like wearing a bracelet. Its sweat-proof, and can tolerate a couple of droplets of water here and there, however, you definitely have to take it off when going in for a shower or a dip in the pool.
The band has a plug, through which you can charge it, hidden under the silver cap(picture above). The older version of the UP 24, the UP, required the band to be plugged into the phone for synchronizing, however, the new model can sync wirelessly through bluetooth with your phone or i-pad.
Some users would complain that they would’ve preferred to have a little screen for real-time updates(a la Nike Fuel), however, the UP 24’s ability to sync wirelessly now, serves the purpose while keeping the band’s design slick yet simplistic.

Sleep Tracking & Power Naps
With just a single click, the UP 24 switches from monitoring your activity and steps, to monitoring your sleeping habits, calculating -with approximation- the amount of time you slept in total, the amount of sound sleep you had vs. active sleep (I move a lot in my sleep, so it’s very helpful to see how my “light” sleep takes a major toll on my day and energy).As for the power naps feature, you know when you wake up all cranky and exhausted from a nap, which is the complete opposite of why you took one to begin with? Well the UP 24 helps with that! As soon as you set your band on power nap mode (using 2 light clicks, followed by a longer one), the band vibrates repeatedly and slowly after 27-45 minutes, depending on the duration that is best for you individually, to wake you up.
The power naps can also be set from the application, however, I personally find it easier to set everything from the band.

Alerts
Other than the alerts set above, you can customize your customized alerts which fall under two categories, the idle alert, and the activity alert.

Idle Alert: Whether you work at a desk job, or you’re a student, sometimes you sit around longer and move a whole load less than you plan. The idle alert can be set through your phone to make your band go off after a certain amount of time with vibrations to remind you to get moving.
Activity Alert: On the other hand, sometimes you want a little pat on the back to get you moving forward. You can set an alert to get notifications on when you have taken a certain number of steps. So for example, if you want to make sure you have taken 6,000 steps before 6 pm, you set an alarm for 6k steps, and will get a notification as soon as you’ve finished them, so you know whether you require to keep moving more, or whether you keep your pace.

Application

I think this is the only negative thing I’ve experienced with the band so far, and it can’t fully be blamed on it I guess. The app! For some reason the UP 24 (unlike the UP) can sync with a very limited number of phones and softwares. For example, I have the Samsung Active, which is relatively new, but I can’t sync it with my band because it has the Android 4.2 system, while the band requires anything above 4.3 (I ended up syncing it with my Ipad).
Same issue with the Apple peeps, if you don’t have an Iphone newer than 4s, or an Ipad that is older than 3rd gen, you can’t sync your band with your device.
My only question was WHY? Why not allow the new band to both sync wirelessly, and through the plug(I tried stuffing the plug in my phone hopelessly- no use.)
Onto the brighter sight of the app., users can create accounts which they can sync with the band on various devices, allowing you to get notifications on whichever device is closest to you -first world problems, I know, but efficient. The app also features awesome wellness tips, rich details and breakdown on your sleep habits and activity, calories burnt during rest and being active, and also a food-tracking option, winner! The meal tracking options includes the ability to scan a product’s barcode, look for it in the app., or add it to the data base.

Wellness Tips

Food Tracking

Details on required and consumed food categories for the day
I find the food category list really useful. For example, if you consume too much of sodium-filled foods, the little salt icon would go red. Also, with time, as a user you can notice patterns in your eating habits, and cut out whatever is harmful and over-consumed. (I got a problem stirring away from the carbs!)
Activity

The orange tab on the main app’s page can be selected to view your step count (you can set a daily target/goal to reach), calories burnt both during working out and when resting, and a few other useful information. Users can also manually enter workouts (since, you know.. you can’t calculate swimming laps with the band on..), and even set the stop watch to time the workout.

Verdict
With everything I reviewed up there, I feel like there’s so much more to talk about! The application is rich with other options such as ‘Smart Sleep Alarms’, so if you’re not into waking up to a noisy annoying alarm, the band can be set to gently wake you with repeated vibrations (and you can set multiple alarms), also, pretty efficient if you want to be a considerate roommate, right?
There are also ‘Reminders’, where the user can set time reminders to sleep, eat, workout, or even other customized reminders. The band will vibrate as a reminder, and a push-notification is sent to the device as well.
Finally, there is the ‘Today I Will’, where the UP app. challenges you to do something, and you can choose whether you want to take the challenge or not. For example, because I have an immense lack of sleep, the UP app challenged me to go to bed at 2:30 am on one night, and I accepted.. Do you want to guess who failed the challenge?
See, the cool thing is, you can add “teammates” (your FB/Twitter peeps) and keep motivating each other by sharing your recent updates, your step count, etc. (you can edit the privacy of the bits of info. shared..I definitely have my food info on private lol)
And if you want to do it solo, you can check the Lifeline and Trends tab which help you understand your patterns.
Now on to the verdict, I will be a bit biased towards the UP 24, well, because it’s the only fitness band I’ve tried, but also because there really hasn’t been anything to complain about other than the application syncing issue. Otherwise, the band has been really useful and helpful since I recently embraced fitness(who would’ve thought?), and I would probably recommend it to anyone interested in a fitness band. The only thing keeping it away from perfection, in my eyes, is the fact that it doesn’t track the heart rate, but then again, the majority of fitness bands don’t!

Pros:
Comfy wear
Wireless syncing

Cons:
Limited range of phones and devices it can be synced with.

Jawbone can be found in (UAE recommendations): Virgin Megastore, IStyle, Sharaf DG, Jumbo, Carrefour, IQ, Plugins, and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Duty Free.
Price: AED 550+.

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