Jawbone UP3 and UP2 major updates address failings: New designs incoming too

Passive HR monitoring and auto sleep detection on board for improved trackers

We talked and Jawbone listened. By we, we're referring to the tech press and you, the consumers.

After receiving mediocre reviews and plenty of customer feedback for the Jawbone UP3 and the UP2, the San Francisco company has announced that new firmware will address a number of the key concerns, and there will also be new designs and colours hitting the shops.

In our Jawbone UP3 review we stated: Jawbone claims that resting heart rate is the key bpm metric. However, while a resting heart rate is indeed an important indicator of general health levels (a spike can indicate an upcoming illness, for example), continuous heart rate monitoring is crucial for training in intensity zones.

The new software adds daily passive heart rate monitoring, allowing for a more complete picture of your bpm metrics. With these additional readings you'll be able to see your heart rate trends over week and month long periods, and see how things like caffeine, alcohol, stress and sleep affect your daily readings.

Essential tips: Get more from your Jawbone fitness band

Back to our UP3 review and we complained: The fact that you have to manually set the sleep mode for a more accurate reading (a double tap on the device's face followed by a long tap until the blue LED comes on) isn't ideal.

This has also been addressed with the new UP2 and UP3 (and UP4, actually, if you're one of the few to own the e-payment band), with automatic sleep tracking added to the mix, and the capacitive touch controls no longer part of the setup.

Another complaint, this time from our Jawbone UP2 review: The strap features an odd clasp that served to constantly irritate us, and we can't fathom Jawbone's reason for using it. It was also immensely frustrating to hook up. If you're a wearable designer reading this, take our tip: if you can't do up the strap in the dark, go back to the drawing board.

It seems as if Jawbone has done just that. There's an improved, tighter band clasp on new devices and it is also launching an all-new strap design for UP2. There are loads more colours to choose from too, including Turquoise Circle, Oat Spectrum, Gunmetal Hex, Orchid Circle and Black Diamond for the UP2 and Indigo Twist, Ruby Cross, Sand Twist and Teal Cross for the UP3.

Given this is a pretty major update, we'll be revising our recent Jawbone UP reviews - stay tuned for those. We think it's great that the company has reacted to people's concerns so promptly.

Read this: How to set your fitness goals and actually stick to them

UP2, UP3 and UP4 users will soon receive the option to update their firmware through the UP App - both iOS and Android. As well as the firmware tweaks listed above, Jawbone has told us that Smart Coach has also been improved, with 50% more lifestyle tips now on offer.

What do you think?

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  • Dragonasi·

    I will be interested to see what the substance is in this update. But I think it will be too little and too late to save the UP3. There has been a lot of trust and patience lost by potential customers, who have probably already moved onto alternative bands, and Jawbone have a big hill to climb to get be credible in the premmium band sector again.

  • Mikoww·

    Can't wait for a new Wareable test of the Jawbone up3 ! 

    I know many customers suffered from the jawbone mistakes lately, but on a fair way, I'd like to know if the implementation of the passive heart rate function is now a "+"..

    So, does it worth it? Any clue if further implementation with the other sensors of the device are expected?

  • Michelledvm26·

    Did firmware update today. Now I can't get any lights to come on my band at all. It won't sync. Won't charge. Lights don't even come on when it is plugged in.

  • ricyan·

    Wouldn't the inclusion of these new features decrease the reported battery life for the UP3?

  • Roseearly·

    I'm disappointed they fixed the clasp on the Up2, but not the 3. Now that they fixed the other aspects that's the only real thing holding me back. 

  • HFGEnthousiast·

    The UP3 has received some useful upgrades but it still has some flaws. No screen, gps, continuous heart rate monitoring (which is needed for intensity training), bad clasp, etc. A good overview of the positives and negatives can be seen here: http://bit.ly/1KeUNYK

  • Anonymoushooter·

    Having had this thing a while now, I'd like to go on record as saying the last update was a HUGE improvement on the behavior of the UP3. Most notably the sleep tracking. Gone is the need to tap the band to put it in sleep mode. Also, it seems to clip a couple standard deviations from the resting HR, which results in a much more accurate picture of your resting heart rate, rather than artificially increasing it if you get up to pee in the middle of the night.

    The UI of the app is greatly improved. This update adds a full star to any previous review.

  • Kristen·

    I'm hoping the firmware updates help, but as of now I've sworn them off. I feel like I wasted $100 on the up2. Their customer service has been shoddy up to this point, and them fixing the clasp for future revs isn't helping the customers who bought and got screwed already. Frankly, they never should have released something so poor. The fact they did means I won't be buying jawbone anything in the future unless they make a major outreach campaign to fix this mistake.

  • LoriW·

    Bought the up2 4 days ago.. Sitting on beach went to take it off to go in water..The unthinkable happened . The clasp flung off never to be found again. Extremely disappointed. Will be returned. 

  • Caf·

    As soon as there is Windows Phone compatibility, I'll change my Garmin vivosmart for this