Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone Up: The Battle of the Fitness Bracelets


The Jawbone Up does a lot of the same, but with two major downsides. You have to plug the bracelet into your phone to sync and it doesn't have a computer syncing capability. Take the cap off one end of the bracelet and plug the headphone jack into your iPhone or Android phone -- the data will transfer over to the app.

The lack of Mac or PC support and the fact that you have to plug it in every time to sync are the Up's major drawbacks, especially when you've used trackers like the FitBit One, which actually has a screen on it to show you how many steps you've taken. (Nike's Fuelband bracelet, which came out almost two years ago, has a screen on it, but the battery only lasts two or three days.) It's like living in the dark all day long about your progress. On the other hand, when compared with the Fitbit app, the Up's app is much more visually compelling. There is a stream of your activity and the look and graphics are more inviting.

Tracking Food and Sleep
In addition to monitoring your activity, you can also use the Up and Fitbit apps to track your food intake. It requires you to put in what you eat, but both apps have a database of meals and snacks with some caloric information about them. The Up app really shines here again, with photos of the food and charts about the calories.

There's one aspect of your life the gadgets track: your sleep. Both have sleep mode settings that can tell you more about what you do when you're out at night. You get information about how long you slept for and how many times you woke up. The Up provides more detailed information though, with details on how long you were in deep sleep. Both also have a built-in alarm; the bracelets shake to wake you up. Both bands last close to a week on a charge.

Bottom Line
The Jawbone Up and the Flex are solid fitness trackers with some interesting tricks, but neither is perfect. While I like the hardware and app design of the Up, I much prefer the Flex for its wireless syncing capabilities. But even then, after a few weeks with them both, I found that I prefer a device that I can conceal – like the Fitbit One or Fitbit Zip. Neither bracelet matched my outfit when I went out for a nice dinner.

Still, both these trackers should do the trick of getting you up from behind the desk. Although, some say you do burn around 100 calories an hour just by typing.

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