jb2The guy is showing us his new $150 smart watch. It interacts with his iPhone fitness app so when he’s running not only can he control his music from his wrist without touching the phone, but he can also track his progress through the workout.

So last year. Shall I tell him that the Jawbone UP is the same price at Apple stores and way smarter? Yes I shall.

It looks like one of those trendy resin bracelets people buy in Chapel Street, except it’s bendable and there’s a computer inside complete with an accelerometer that tracks everything from the steps you take to how well you’re sleeping. Are you eating healthily? Are you in the right frame of mind to propose marriage to the girl next door? Thank goodness for Jawbone.

jb 3Bend the bracelet around your wrist, turn on. That’s it. You can wear it in the shower but don’t take it swimming (if you want something for swimming, indeed diving, think about the Shine activity monitor, around $140 at Apple stores).

The Jawbone bracelet is covered in medical grade hypoallergenic rubber and the only tech hints it presents is the chromed tip at one end and the 3.5 mm jack under a cap at the other, for plugging into your smartphone. Oh, and there’s a single small status light to indicate the mode it’s in.

The mode you’ll use most is Move, tracking the steps you take, distance travelled and calories burned. You can calibrate this for the gym, biking, running and walking, monitoring progress and setting goals.

The scary mode is Eat. Enter what you’re eating and drinking either by selecting from a list or by scanning the packaging barcode. You will be informed of the calories you’re consuming, and the fats, carbs, protein, sugar, fibre and sodium, and where you’re up to in recommended daily average intake. Seriously, do you want to know?

jb 1Far more benign is Sleep mode. Switch to it as you settle down and the following morning you’re told how long it took to get to sleep, how long you remained sleeping and how much of it was light or deep.

Here’s the handiest thing; there’s an alarm function that wakes you silently by vibrating on your wrist so your partner may continue pushing out zeds unabated. The best bit is that it only activates when you’re sleeping lightly so you won’t wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by the 6.12 to Flinders Street.

The last mode is Mood which is kind of new age touchy-feely reassurance that the Jawbone is working for you. At day’s end as you survey the sum of eating, sleeping and exercising you enter the mood you’re in by picking the appropriate icon. If the faces all turn out grumbly maybe you should have spent your $150 on beer.

If not, maybe you’ll like the new FitBit activity monitor due early 2014 at $170, with an altimeter to track your work on stairs as well.

November 2013



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