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There's a fitness tracker for everyone now: the elite runner, the casual gym-goer, the newbie exerciser and everyone in between. For those out there who don't know where to start, the $50 Jawbone Up Move makes it simple. The company's newest tracker is a small device that lives on your body and tracks steps, calories and sleep. Paired with Jawbone's Up app, it's a powerful little companion, but it has some strong competition to beat.
The Jawbone Up Move looks right at home in Jawbone's Yves Behar-designed line of trackers. Similar to the Misfit Flash, the Up Move is circular, but unlike the smooth Shine, it has a ribbed design on its face.
Hidden in the face are several LEDs that show you which mode you're in and how far along you are in your daily step goal. I prefer the Up Move's design to that of the Misfit Flash due to the Up Move's attention to detail, with the shiny coating on its display, the flower pattern on its face and a satisfying click sound when you press it.
The Up Move comes with a clip for you to fasten the device to your pant pocket, shirtsleeve or anywhere else on your body. You can also buy wristbands to hold the sensor. They come in fun colors like pastel purple and fiery red, and each cost $15. While the wristband is very comfortable, I sometimes had a hard time fastening it with one hand.
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The Up Move is meant to disappear onto your body after you secure it, and it does just that. I forgot I was wearing the device when it was in the clip attached to my jean pocket, and when it was in the strap on my wrist I nearly showered with it. (The Move is a splash-proof tracker, but be careful not to fully submerge this little guy.)
As the Jawbone Up Move disappears on your body, its display disappears into the body of the device. Push its textured side, and the LED display comes to life. Small lights illuminate the edges of the sensor to show you your progress toward your daily step goal, and small icons show you which mode you're in.
Step mode, indicated by a little orange running man, monitors your movement over the course of the day. Pressing the display twice and holding on the second press activates Stopwatch mode, your activity-tracking mode for workouts.
You'll see the running man icon flash when you enter Stopwatch mode, which keeps track of the duration of your workout, steps taken and total calories burned. The activity will show up in your timeline in the Up app once you sync. You can then add more details, such as whether you were running, playing soccer or doing yoga, and your intensity level.
The third and final mode is Sleep: Right before you hit the sack, press and hold the display to activate Sleep mode, indicated by a small moon icon. When you wake up, you do the same press-and-hold action to reactivate Step mode for the day. I'm disappointed the Up Move doesn't automatically go into Sleep mode like the Misfit Flash does; the automatic setting makes it much easier to put the tracker on and forget about it, day and night.
The Jawbone Up Move syncs all your data to the Up app (available for iOS and Android) via Bluetooth 4.0. Upon opening the app, it takes only a few seconds for the sensor to pair and flood the home page with your stats.
And what a lovely home page it is. Jawbone has the most gorgeous companion app for an activity-tracker. The app uses bold colors, clean typography and Google Now-esque cards to relay information to you about your goals and stats.
Dominating the screen are two thick arrows pointing up: one for sleep progress and one for step progress. Tap on either of those options to see a full breakdown of your day. Sleep shows you a graph of how well you slept during the night, with your sound sleep and light sleep numbers. Steps shows you the times you were most active during the day, along with your total active time, total calorie burn, resting calorie burn and more.
Scrolling down the home page reveals dedicated step, mood, activity and sleep cards, which give you an at-a-glance look at that day's data. Each card also has a tidbit of information, or advice, as the Up Move learns more about you, which you can use to perform better the next day. (See Smart Coach section for more.)
I found the Jawbone Up Move to be consistently accurate in tracking my steps and sleep. It was just as accurate when I was tracking my workouts in Stopwatch mode, displaying nearly the same distance and calorie burn that my elliptical or treadmill showed. But like the Misfit Flash and the Fitbug Orb, the Up Move doesn't track stairs climbed or heart rate.
One of the newest features in the Up app is Smart Coach, which learns your habits and gives you advice to improve your health over time. Smart Coach kicked in about two days after I began using the Up Move, and it gave me suggestions on how to eat better, sleep better and exercise more efficiently.
Smart Coach saw that I took 31 minutes to fall asleep one night, and the next morning after syncing my Up Move to the app, a card appeared with a link to UCLA's 12-minute guided meditation audio clip to help me fall asleep faster. I found Smart Coach's advice quite simple and actionable, giving me easy ways to change my habits.
To keep you on your toes, Smart Coach will periodically give you challenges such as pledging to drink eight glasses of water during the day; you can opt in to these challenges. I found that they not only brought me back to the Up app more frequently as I tracked my progress, but they also held me accountable for the little things I did to stay healthy throughout the day.
Jawbone's app also lets you log the food you eat, down to the last Splenda packet you put in your coffee. Jawbone's food database is huge, offering brand name foods and generic suggestions, and I was able to quickly find the specific protein bar I had for breakfast. There's also a restaurant food finder, making it almost painfully easy to log that Chipotle steak burrito you had for lunch.
Track the food and the number of servings you had, and the app records calories, nutrients and other data like fats, sodium, carbs and protein. Scrolling down on the food log page even simplifies the nutritional facts, labeling things such as fiber and unsaturated fat as "all you can eat" and things like sugar and cholesterol as "pass on these."
Jawbone uses your food data to calculate a food score for you, which measures the overall healthiness of your diet that day. Each food item you log also has a food score attached to it; think of it as Jawbone's version of Weight Watchers. The more food with good food scores you eat, the better your daily food score (and diet) will be.
You still have to record every piece of food that goes into your mouth. It's a tedious process that no fitness tracker has been able to master yet, but at least Jawbone's method is thorough, simple and pleasant to use.
The Jawbone Up Move has the same sleep tracking abilities as those on the Jawbone Up24, and they are just as accurate. The app breaks down your entire night's sleep into a graph showing your amounts of sound sleep, light sleep and the times you woke up. It also shows you how long it took you to fall asleep, how long you were in bed and how many times you woke up during the night.
Just in case you forgot to put your Up Move into sleep mode, you can use the app to manually add those zzz's you caught. The app also has an alarm feature that you can set as your sleep alarm if you so desire, but like the Misfit Flash, it's just a smartphone alert.
The Jawbone Up Move is powered by a coin cell battery that can last up to 6 months. It's the same type of battery you'll find in the Misfit Flash and the Fitbug Orb, and it's easy and inexpensive to replace.
Jawbone has made an inexpensive tracker than stands up well against the likes of the Misfit Flash and the Fitbug Orb, providing accurate step, calorie and sleep tracking. The Up Move is also perfectly integrated into Jawbone's strong family of fitness trackers in terms of hardware and software design.
It's easy enough to make a $50 gadget, but what really sets the Up Move apart from other inexpensive trackers is Smart Coach. Its tips and tidbits of advice may seem small, but they can provide the push you need to change your habits and start living healthier. Smart Coach is the feature that changes the Up Move from an amped-up pedometer to a useful healthy-living partner.
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Valentina is Commerce Editor at Engadget and has covered consumer electronics for a number of publications including Tom's Guide, Wired, Laptop Mag and Ars Technica, with a particular focus on wearables, PCs and other mobile tech.