Jawbone vs Fitbug

Posted: Nov 10 2014

I’ve been wearing a Jawbone for the past month and have been really impressed with it. But there’s a newcomer to the lifestyle tracker market, the Fitbug. So, before we decided whether to stock the new arrival, we put it to the test.

For the past 2 weeks, I've been wearing both pieces of tech simultaneously. Firstly so I can compare usability but secondly to see how the data compares.

Lets start with set up and functionality

The Jawbone is ridiculously easy to set up. You simply download the app – whether apple or android, pair your Jawbone to it and you’re off. I downloaded MyFitnessPal to log my food intake and also Runkeeper.  By going to the App screen on the Jawbone pages, you can simply select any apps you want to download. 

The Fitbug took slightly longer but some of that may have been due to issues with my android phone. A simple entry of the Fitbug serial number and a few flashing lights later and I could see my recent movements. I did have an issue with the sleep monitoring. I woke up in the morning and there was no sleep registered. An email to Fitbug support and they showed me how to rectify it. As with the Jawbone, I linked the app to MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper. 


Usability

The Jawbone is simply a black rubber bracelet that wraps around your wrist. It’s pretty plain but it’s bulky. The most important thing is that you get the correct size.

Once you’re wearing the Jawbone you don’t have to think about it. There’s no graphical interface just a simple push button at one end of the band.

The only steps you need to take are when you go to bed. When you get into bed, you simply press the end of the band until the moon icon appears. When you wake up in the morning, you simply press it again until you see the flower icon.

I upload my data every evening and every morning. To do this, I simply plugged my Jawbone into my phone and pressed Sync. It takes seconds and I can easily see how many steps I’ve taken in terms of an actual number and as a percentage of the goal I’d set. It also showed my calorie intake and how healthy my choices were by giving it a score out of 10. After the morning sync, I could view my sleep pattern for the night. This detailed what time I was in bed, how long it took for me to fall asleep and how much of my sleep was considered ‘sound sleep’ and ‘light sleep’.

Once charged, the band lasts about 10 days and to charge it you simply plug it into your laptop for a few hours.

The main part of the Fitbug is a plastic disc which you can wear in a multitude of ways. By using the wrist strap, it looks like a funky sports watch but without a clock face. You can also just put it in your pocket or by using the clip; you can attach it to belt loops, waistbands and even your undies!

Like the Jawbone, there is no graphical interface on the actual device, just a button on the disc. I’d push this three times when I got into bed to start the sleep mode and again when I woke up to end sleep mode and start movement tracking.

With regard to syncing the data, this is all done wirelessly. You can choose 3 different sync frequencies, Push – where you simply push the button to sync the collected data, Stream which as the name refers, feeds data as an when it happens and Beacon which syncs at regular intervals.

I did find that on some days the data took longer than others to appear. But when it populated, the graphical results were pretty impressive and easy to decipher.


Functionality

Both devices have a number of similar functions – both track your sleep, food intake, calories burned and steps taken. On both you can set a goal of how many steps you want to make and also of how many calories you want to take in. You can also log workouts, runs etc. Both devices allow you to scan food labels or add new foods to your food diaries, but I found MyFitnessPal had a bigger food library to start with, hence why I chose to use that. I logged any gym sessions or classes using the inbuilt movement tracker but linked with RunKeeper to log my runs. Both systems allow you to link with a variety of different other apps to build up your lifestyle tracking system. 

The Jawbone has several other alarms. I used the Idle alarm which will vibrate when you’ve been still for a set period of time ie if you’ve been set at your desk for half an hour, it will notify you to get off your bum and move around!  There’s also a Smart Alarm which silently wakes you at your lightest sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed. 

You can also create a Team on your Jawbone app by simply inviting other people who you know have a Jawbone. When you sync your devices, your food, emotions, sleep and activity data is shared on the team pages so everyone can see it. I’ll pre warn you – it can create competition!

I couldn’t see any alarms as such on the Fitbug, but that’s not saying they don’t exist! Each day I would get an email with hints and tips on setting challenges and also nutrition.

By creating an account on the Fitbug website, you can obtain much more data on your activities and tips on how to improve your eating and exercise - much more than on your phone app.
 

Conclusion

My main objective to using one of these lifestyle trackers was to get an idea of actually just how active I am during an average day and also what I’m eating. I used to think I ate quite healthily but when it’s shown in a graphical format breaking down the fat, calories and sugar content of my daily intake, it was quite an eye opener.

By using devices such as these, it does make you think twice before eating that chocolate bar because by entering the information, it makes you accountable for those 250 calories in the Mars bar! And with the Jawbone, because the team members can see what you’ve eaten, they also know you’ve been bad!

For me personally, the Jawbone is my favourite. Aesthetically, it’s a black bracelet and it’s pretty durable. The data it shows in the app is concise and straight to the point without showing data I’m just not interested in. The Team pages can provide an element of competition like seeing who can take the most steps - it doesn’t sound much, but trust me, it can become addictive! We will shortly be stocking the new Jawbone24 and I will definitely be upgrading to that!

However, don’t disregard the Fitbug. It’s half the cost of the Jawbone and so for the money, it’s a great buy. When worn as a watch, it looks really smart but then when you’re wearing a watch at the same time, it can look quite confusing. This is why being able to wear it in other ways is such a good idea.  The app is self-explanatory but the device gets major points for being able to create your account on the Fitbug website. You could spend masses of time going through your data and looking at your history.

Hope it helps!

Lian

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