Jawbone UP3
Man running with Jawbone UP3 on wrist across pedestrian bridge.

Jawbone UP3 Update Pt. II

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Jawbone UP3, I Took The Plunge

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of tech, I fear no evil. Unless it’s in the form of a wearable fitness tracker from Jawbone. If you’ve kept up with the Jones’s, then you know I have been both in awe and critical of Jawbone’s fitness tracker. Recently, and purely by accident, I stumbled across Amazon Warehouse an open-box version of the shopping behemoth where products that were returned due to a variety of reasons (wrong item, wrong size, wrong color, changed mind, etc.) can be resold at a deep discount. I was originally looking for the Garmin Fenix 3, but came up dry. I thought would see what else there was available and came across the Jawbone UP3 for the ridiculous price of $86.22. I could have saved on taxes by shipping it to Kentucky, but that’s another 1-1.5 hours drive from Nashville and I already saved quite a bit.

Jawbone UP3
The Jawbone UP3 is in the Amazon Warehouse at a significant discount.

Considering the retail price is $179 for the UP3 and $199 for the UP4, $112 seems like a steal and that’s exactly what it is. If you are sitting on the fence and want to expose yourself to more Jawbone punishment (mediocre app updates, back-end server sync issues, etc.) then jump on it. Others swear by the Fitbit series, which allegedly has very few of the issues I see on the app/sync side.

Again, I had no plans on replacing my UP24, but at that price I would be hard pressed to pass it up. So I struck while the iron was hot. Now I have an UP24 buzzing every 30 minutes, crying for some attention. If anyone wants a free, used UP24, let me know.

A Little History, My Relationship With Jawbone

I started out with the original (2nd generation) Jawbone UP as a gift two years ago. I was immediate besmirched with the ability to record workouts, steps and track my sleep in a very unobtrusive form factor. Unfortunately it did not last long. My top complaints were:

  1. Poorly designed button did not survive a few months of heavy usage…I mean it is used for fitness right?
  2. The damn battery cap could be lost faster than you can…crap, there goes another one.
  3. Sync and charging issues that could only be resolved through power-cycling the unit.
  4. App back-end server sync issues (a constant issue, maybe they could move some of that to the phone/app so there wouldn’t be a constant reliance on the back-end and internet to get the results you immediately need).

I move up to the Jawbone UP24 just under a year ago and the product had improved significantly. The button, so far, has lasted and the battery cap seems snugger. I have yet to lose the first one (knock on wood). The battery life is pretty good at almost a week; overall its what the first generation should have been. Of course it always seems that way with tech right? That said, there were still some issues.

  1. Lost of sync via Bluetooth, sometimes there would be days of no data without having to re-sync the unit multiple times
  2. See #4 from above…the more things change, the more they stay the same.

You can ready my earlier thoughts and criticism at the following links:

  1. Where Is Your Jawbone UP3?
  2. Jawbone UP3 Update
  3. Jawbone UP4 Adds American Express Mobile Pay
  4. Jawbone UP2 Replaces Jawbone UP24

So far, I only have three issues with the Jawbone UP3. The first is the fit. It’s not nearly as comfortable and it comes loose after a day of wearing. Heck, I might sell or return it and stick with the UP24.


The second issue is related to fit and functionality. If the fit is too loose, the sensors don’t pick up. If it is too tight, they leave uncomfortable dimples in your skin much akin to a tech noogie. Lastly, I love the marketing Jawbone has done, sadly their software/hardware development team let us all down. Many of the features advertised on their site come from the free app and not from the device. Items such as food logging, sleep monitoring and even Smart Coach are via the app and background processes (heavily reliant on an Internet connection). What other features do the bio-impedance sensors provide that we don’t see? They advertise heart rate, respiration, and Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). In my limited testing, I have only seen heart rate.

Anyone have any ideas?