Im always intrigued with the various ways technology can be used in our lives. Especially when it reaches beyond my normal tech zones of computers and reading and video games. I purchased the Jawbone Jambox, a small Bluetooth speaker and was highly impressed by the quality. That prompted me to check out Jawbone’s website to see what else they were doing. I knew they did the Bluetooth headsets and didn’t need one of those. But then I saw the Jawbone Up and became curious.

After reading some initial reviews I wasn’t encouraged because it got a lot of negative feedback. Still the concept and images made me decide to ignore the bad and get one anyways.

I don’t workout at the gym but I do swim, so the idea of using it to track that exercise as well as the standard pedometer also lead me to take the plunge. On top of that I’ve been attempting to understand sleep and sleep patterns and how to get the best nights sleep.

So, how well does it do any of this? The sleep tracking works well and has been very interesting to see. It measures your movements while you sleep to determine how much deep and shallow sleep you get. It has a built in alarm to wake you at the optimal point in sleep, gently vibrating on the wrist instead of a blaring alarm clock. I still wake up groggy most of the time, but have noticed a few nights where it woke me at just the right time and I was ready to go.

The pedometer works well and has you set a goal so you can see how you do each day. It’s hard to get as much movement as you really should but that’s not anything to do with the device.There is a food tracking function but I haven’t used that much. It looks like it just allows you to take a picture of your meals. Not sure if it does more than that.

I haven’t experienced the issues of syncing, battery life and charging that others have reported. These issues have caused Jawbone to quit selling the Up temporarily until they can address them. They even went a step further by offering no questions asked refunds allowing the users to keep the device on top of the refund. Not many companies willing to stand behind their products like that.

As far as the workout mode goes I haven’t used it much to track workouts. The reason is my only workouts are swimming laps and I haven’t been brave enough to wear it while swimming. The band is listed as water-resistant to 3 meters. That should be enough to cover normal lap swimming but I didn’t want to take the chance. There are some who have said they use it while swimming and don’t have problems and just as many who have said they used it and then started having problems.

The band is comfortable to wear and I barely notice it’s there most of the time. The battery life seems to be around 6 days or so. It could probably go longer but I haven’t tried wearing it until it ran out.

I wish it had a PC or Android client. Currently its only on iOS for the syncing of data. I have an iPad so I use it on there even though the app is not made for iPad, it’s made for iPhone/iPod so it doesn’t look too good on the iPad. I also haven’t used it in conjunction to the iPhone to utilize the GPS tracking function.

Overall I’m happy with the device and may get up the guts to swim with it. Hopefully it’ll help me keep more active. Just the act of monitoring activity tends to make you want to be more active.