Fitness Trackers: Fitbit vs. UP2

  We are a divided home.

Amy has a Fitbit. I have an UP2. It’s a complicated relationship in which we are both trying to learn to live with the other. And while we would love to be on the same page on this issue so we could finally put to rest the age old question of who gets the most steps per week, there are some differences in the devices that are pretty interesting.

We’ve both had our devices for about 6 months and generally speaking, we are both happy with our choice.

Fitbit
Amy loves her Fitbit Charge mainly because she gets phone calls and texts alerts through her band. And it has a watch with a bright visual display that gives her ultimate joy when she hits 10,000 steps. It is a bit bulky and comes in at $130.

The app is easy to use but doesn’t always play nice with others. Syncing it to Runkeeper and other apps have proven a bit cumbersome and not as clean as it should be.

Fitbits don’t like water. And should never be fed after midnight. No WATER!! Wash your hands, shower – just take it off.

Battery Life
This is a major warning to Fitbit users. Amy is on her third Fitbit because of battery life. After about a month of use, the band won’t keep a charge longer than 24 hours. The reason the company says is water damage. But that doesn’t seem to hold water – pun intended – as Amy doesn’t ever get it wet unless you are counting sweat – which an activity tracker should handle that, right? Typical life is reported to be 8 to 10 days but average ends up being about 7.

Customer Service is not a strong suit of Fitbit. It was NOT a good experience. They directed us back to where we bought the Fitbit who sent us back to Fitbit because they had a ton of them returned for the battery. We ultimately talked our local to store exchange it – twice. The last time the store told us they would not exchange it again after the 60 days unless we bought an extended warranty. We didn’t. We figured – if it dies again, we are getting a different tracker.

Her latest Fitbit has been holding a charge for over 3 months so perhaps we are out of the woods on this issue. Maybe Fitbit finally got it fixed but it doesn’t sit well with me that a company acted like this. Makes me think they knew they had a batch of bad batteries and it was cheaper to act like jerks than just deal with the problem.

Overall – Amy likes the Fitbit and doesn’t feel a need to change. At this point.

UP2 by Jawbone
There are couple of downsides to the UP2 right out of the box. First, no visual display for a clock or call/text notices. For many, this is a deal breaker before anything else. The plus side is you can get an UP2 for around $90-95.

The positives? It’s a slim look, not bulky like Fitbit. It’s comfortable and lightweight. Best news of all? It’s splash-proof.

Meaning – take a shower, wash your hands with it on. Do the dishes – whatever. They recommend not getting it fully immersed. However, I can tell you from first hand experience – it can take an immersion. Maybe not swimming but say – falling in your waders, getting a fish off the line, or washing hands in the lake – it will take it.

It’s got idle alert and you can set about a million different alarms with the app. The app rocks. It plays nice with Runkeeper and a host of other apps. Even will synch with the iPhone Health app if you forget your tracker one day and have to use your phone instead. In the app, you have the ability to compete, have teams – just like Fitbit.

Big difference? It’s got a life-coach mode that will send you hints, helps, and tips on increasing your activity, decreasing your calorie intake all custom made around the data that the band is picking up from you. It’s a great feature.

Customer Service
In short, Jawbone has been one of the best companies I’ve dealt with.

Issue 1: The band broke and tracker fell off my wrist in a trout stream in Colorado. Gone. Bye-bye. I called and asked them what – if anything – they could do. They got my details and in 7 days – I had a brand new one. No charge. One time thing, they said.

Issue 2: Band broke again, rubber cracked on it. 5 minutes on phone, sent me a new one with a return envelope for the old one. I got three follow up emails and a phone call to make sure I got the band and it was working properly.

Issue 3: Band broke, part 3. CSR on other end said – no problem. We’ve had issues with that model. Gonna send you an updated model with a new band clip that should solve the cracking problem. Send us back the old one – on their dime. Again, multiple emails and phone calls to follow up and make sure it was all working.

I love the UP2. Yes, it would be cool to have a digital display but not at the cost of the splash-proof or the slim design. And the customer service is outstanding so I’ll keep my UP2 for the moment.

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