Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24: Comparison Review


Fitness trackers have come a long way since the original Fitbit was introduced in 2009, as a little device that you could clip onto your waist. Within 6 short years, we can count at least 9 companies with various offerings on the market, catering to different budgets, styles, and activities for any and all demographics.

Today, this review takes a look at two devices, side-by-side, from two of the more recognizable names in the activity tracker game: the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone UP24.

In this review, each device was examined under the lens of the following categories: style and comfort, and overall practicality and usability.

Flex and UP 24 on wrist

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex

Style and Comfort

Out of the box, the Fitbit Flex comes with two bands that house the actual device. The default band is the large band, with a second, smaller, band available. The bands themselves are made of a very soft elastomer material, which does not contain any latex, and feels great against the skin. The Fitbit Flex bands also allow for adjustments, using a set of slits that a pair of teeth clamp into, ensuring a snug fit on wrists of almost any size.

The soft material of the bands, along with the ability to adjust the size, allowed for the Fitbit Flex to feel non-existent throughout the day, giving the impression of a silent companion quietly observing your activity and silently nudging you for accomplishing any step-related goals you may have hit.

Overall Practicality and Usability

Fitbit flex software

Paired with the Fitbit app (this reviewer used the iOS version,) the Fitbit Flex is able to automatically track the number of steps taken, distance moved, and resting and active calories burned. Buzzing vibrations of encouragement will happen throughout the day as you work your way to your daily step goal, and a celebratory vibration happens once you achieve it. There is also a sleep pattern tracker, which shows how well you slept the night before, activated by the app or by tapping repeatedly on the Fitbit Flex.

The app also allows for manual input of exercises, meals eaten, weight, and water consumed. However, certain activities, like running, jogging, and hiking, can be automatically tracked by using the Fitbit along with your phone. The options for manual input are simplistic, and don’t really account for too much detail, but they act as a decent way to keep track of various inputs that affect and contribute to your overall level of fitness and health.

With a battery life of approximately 5 days, the Fitbit Flex will last throughout the week, and can be fully recharged in less than two hours. The battery life is definitely decent, especially considering the diminutive size of the device.

Jawbone UP24

Jawbone UP24

Style and Comfort

The Jawbone UP24, for all intents and purposes, oozes cool the minute you pull it out of the packaging. On first appearances, it’s a tight little coil made of rubber that supposedly houses enough electronics to keep track of my movement and activity. The little silver button on one end of the coil activates the devices, and can be pressed using specific sequences to activate various functions such as sleep mode and stopwatch mode. The little silver cap with “Jawbone” embossed into it surface is the cap for the little 2.5mm jack that is plugged into the USB adapter for charging the Jawbone UP24.

The cool factor of the unboxing wanes slightly as you get the UP24 onto your wrist. Encased in medical-grade, hypoallergenic rubber, the rigid and firm surface of the band is relatively comfortable, but its rigidity gives it a singular shape that will not conform to your wrist. Comfortable for some, potentially uncomfortable for others.

Overall Practicality and Usability

Jawbone UP24 software

The UP app (this reviewer used the iOS version) counts steps, distance traveled, active and resting calorie burn, and the amount of time spent active vs idle. Like the Fitbit app, users can also manually input exercises or activities, moods, meals eaten, and progress photos throughout the day. The level of detail for entering in exercises and meals was on the slightly more detailed side, allowing users to change level of intensity, specific serving sizes, etc.

In addition, the UP app has “Smart Alarms,” allowing you to set an alarm clock that will wake you up to 30 minutes before the set time if you’re in a lighter phase of sleep, making the waking process much more natural.

Like the Flex, the Jawbone is able to track activity automatically once you get it into Stopwatch mode. Unlike the Flex, it doesn’t seem to require having your phone with you to track your activity, as long as you’re doing something active, which is a nice plus.

On a full charge, the UP24 can last an astounding 15 days, meaning you’d have to charge the UP24, at most, twice a month. That level of longevity is one of the strongest selling points of the UP24, given that it is a very stylish and capable device, you also hardly have to think about recharging it.

The Bottom Line

This product is perfect for: Runners, joggers, hikers, and anyone looking to track their activity and consumption with the goal of becoming more fit.

Key things to be aware of: The size of your wrists, if you place importance on comfort and fit. The Jawbone UP24 comes in three different sizes, but the shape of each one will not really change from its default coil-shape, so be sure to try them on and find your size.

Final review score: 4, for both fitness bands. The Fitbit Flex wins in terms of comfort, and the app may appeal to those who are fans of being able to glance at information quickly, given its minimalistic design. The Jawbone UP24 oozes style, and its app allows for more granular levels of detail in manual tracking, as well as having the much longer lasting battery.

While the Jawbone UP24’s slick design and longer-lasting battery are appealing, I would personally choose the Fitbit Flex as my choice for being more comfortable, and having a more visually appealing app. At the end of the day, I would have been happy with either fitness band on my wrist, it all just comes down to small personal preferences.

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Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone UP24
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Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

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