I received a few emails regarding my BodyMedia Fit armband that I've been using and logging in my activities.  I have been using it for over a year and I still use it.  I think it is more accurate than the wristbands that Jawbone, Nike, and FitBit have created because it has sensors on it which measures the body heat to convert into calories burned. 

I had bought the Jawbone UP version 1 when it first came out over 2 years ago.  That was a big flop by the company .. they offered refunds for everybody that bought it.  The UP version 2 came out a few months ago .. and design still looks the same.  I'm not sure what changed about it.

Jawbone recently announced the acquisition of BodyMedia.  In terms of products, I'm not sure whats going to change.  But I'm hoping for the best.

I had a old review of both products in my previous blog that I am posting below for you to decide which product would work for you.  Click on the Read More link to expand the positing.  Please message me if you have any other questions.
This blog posting will be about the BodyMedia and Jawbone UP activity tracker device.  This blog posting will be about the activity/calories/sleeping comparison between the two.  There will be another blog posting regarding the hardware and software of both devices.

The BodyMedia armband -- straps on your arm and uses 4 sensors to measure the skin temperature and sweat that builds up .. then it calculates how much time of moderate/vigorous activity, calories burned, steps taken, and roughly how many hours of sleep you get.  You are suppose to wear this device for about 23 hours of the day .. since I really want to know how many calories I burn everyday I have to wear the armband with my regular clothes which may look like a tracking device .. this may cause a few stares.  Although it straps around your non dominate arm -- I barely notice it being there.  There were a few times I thought I showered with it on!

The Jawbone UP -- since I only had this device for about a day .. I was able to play with it enough to get the idea of how to use it.  The UP uses a motion sensor instead of a sensor against the skin .. and the same idea with the BodyMedia it tracks your movement (steps, distance, calories burned, pace, intensity level and active vs inactive time ) and sleep (hours slept, time to fall asleep, light vs. deep sleep and sleep quality). Because the device is a bracelet .. this looks a little more discreet .. like a regular bracelet.  Jawbone claims that you can go up to 1m in water and also shower with the bracelet on. But for the amount that you are paying for the device .. I wouldn't want to even try.

So I wore both devices today at the gym.  I wanted to compare how many calories/steps I approximately burn in a 5k run.  I also had the treadmill calorie counter as well that I will include here.  I ran for approximately 39 minutes.


This photo -- I took a picture on the treadmill after I ran 3.12 miles.  The duration was 39:10.  Burning about 497 calories.
This picture  was a snapshot I took of the BodyMedia app in my iPhone.  It was behind about 4 seconds.  Burning about 495 calories.
This snapshot was the the Jawbone UP application in the iPhone.  It was behind about 3 seconds. and for a distance of 3.37. Burning about 611 calories
As you can see, the most accurate calories burned for the 5k run would be the BodyMedia Fit armband.  The calories burned were off a few calories.  Between the BodyMedia Fit and Jawbone UP .. it says I burned 611 calories and ran for about 3.37 miles.  I think this is because the bracelet uses the motion sensor and probably really as accurate as the skin sensor that is strapped on close to the skin.  
Between the steps taken for both devices the difference were 319 steps.  I'm not sure how the BodyMedia Fit calculates the steps taken but I think its the motion sensor and measures how often you swing your arms while walking.  Also, for the UP .. the bracelet vibrates when it does not measure any motion on your arm -- meaning you've probably been sitting too long being inactive.  You can set the bracelet to vibrate to your liking .. I've set mines to buzz me if I have been inactive for more than 45 minutes.  This tells me that I have to get up and get active in some way.


The sleep portion of both devices is interesting.  It both measures deep vs. light sleeping .. this I figure it'll determine if you are light sleeping when the device senses motion.  It also calculates how many hours of sleep you get .. and your sleep quality.  Of course, there is a more accurate way of determining how much sleep you are getting .. but for people who just wants to know when they dozed off and wake up .. these 2 devices are good in determining that.  The BodyMedia Fit automatically detects when you are sleeping by movement .. and the UP you'll have to press a button to turn on the sleep feature .. and in the morning remember to turn it on regular mode to start tracking your day.
One added bonus that the Jawbone UP has that the BodyMedia Fit doesn't have it the ability to vibrate as a silent alarm while sleeping.  It vibrates on your wrist and intelligently wakes you up at the ideal moment in your natural sleep cycle just before your desired wake time.  I set the "Smart Alarm" to wake me up between 8:30am to 9:00am .. 7 days a week.  It only lets you set no more than 30 mins.  I don't know how it determines when to vibrate but today it woke me up at 8:33am .. maybe cause it noticed I was starting to move around a little more.
Here are two graphs that I got from the sleep duration of both apps.  The BodyMedia is the top which the only way to know how many hours your slept is by uploading the armband to the website.  The lower graph is from the UP's iPhone app.  Although the amount of sleep I got is off by 23 minutes .. I wouldn't say this is a bad idea .. like I said earlier .. this is just for the regular people who wants an idea of how many hours they sleep.  
Overall, the tracking aspects of the UP is a good concept .. but since the device is made by Jawbone .. you would figure you could sync information by bluetooth.  This is not the case .. there is a 3.5mm jack on the bracelet .. to upload information .. you have to plug it in the iPhone and sync is manually.  The BodyMedia Fit I got has a bluetooth function so that I can sync up with my iPhone and see the current calories and activity I've done so far.  


I've only had the Jawbone UP for 1 day .. and I've gotten accustomed to having it on my wrist .. the idea of the UP bracelet is to get yourself moving and have fun doing it.  It comes in several different colors ... and I think the device is a work in progress .. I'm sure it can do other things .. users will have to let Jawbone know ... the software is also a work in progress ... usually I know how to maneuver an app within a few hours .. its been a day or so .. and I'm still getting use to the functions and how to navigate.  Oh yeah! did I mention that the software for UP is only iPhone/iPad/iPod compatible right now .. but the company says there will be an Android app for it pretty soon.  
Maybe I'm being biased .. but I still love my BodyMedia Fit armband.  Although, it doesn't buzz me when I've been inactive or buzzes me to wake me up in my lightest sleep in the morning .. its the closest accurate reading I get since I always want to have up to date calorie information.  


07/21/2013 5:29pm

thanks for the review! I was thinking about the UP. I have had the BodyMedia Fit for a while. The drawback to the Fit for me is the paid membership. Does the Up have the same kind of thing?

05/21/2014 2:09pm

This is exactly the information I was looking for. I would love to get an update from you about the UP, because you only had it for 1 day when you wrote the article. I would appreciate it if you could let me know. I am after the best tracker which sounds like the Bodymedia. However I also like some of the other features of the UP. If the UP is inaccurate then I would go for the Bodymedia though.

Thanks for writing the review!

Ken Cheng
05/21/2014 2:34pm


I stopped using the Jawbone UP since the post. The jawbone I reviewed was for the first version when it came out. That was the time when Jawbone gave refunds to everyone that bought one.

I am using the Fitbit Flex at the moment along with my Bodymedia and have found it with similar results. Maybe off 200 steps or 300 calories. I like the fitbit because I can add my friends into it and we can compete.


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