Mobile Health’s Best: Nike FuelBand, Sleep Cycle, and Jawbone UP

February 27, 2012

I own both the Jawbone UP and the Nike Fuel Band. Being a geeky guy that likes data, I was quite interested in tracking sleep and exercise. When the Jawbone UP came out, I immediately got one. However, there are other options out there so I decided to write a review on the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Sleep Cycle alarm clock App.

Jawbone UP

The Jawbone UP tracks sleep, movement, meals. I think the Jawbone does an awesome job packaging and marketing their products. In fact, I think they do a better job than Nike when it comes to marketing and packaging. The thing that I really like about the Jawbone UP is that it tracks how much and how well I sleep. After using the Jawbone UP, I became aware of how I felt after 5.5 hours versus 6.5 hours versus 8 hours of sleep. Then after seven days the device became defective and stopped charging. I took a chance on buying the device because I knew Jawbone had a no questions asked refund policy. Jawbone’s product idea was really good, however, I think they took a chance and launch the product before they done adequate QA testing. I pretty much feel like Jawbone blew it as being first to market with a defective product has jeopardized the trust with the consumer.

Tracking Sleep

With a dead Jawbone UP, I was able to find an alterative app for tracking sleep called Sleep Cycle alarm clock, created by Maciek Drejak. The Sleep Cycle App has over 1 million downloads and does an even better job tracking sleep than the Jawbone UP. It also only costs $0.99 and has almost 10,000 ratings. This app acts as an alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase – a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. The nice thing about this, is you don’t have to wear a bracelet when you sleep.

Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel Band is similar to the Jawbone UP but it does not track sleep and costs more money. It tracks steps, calories, and time. It also tracks something called Nike Fuel, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person’s movement through the wristband’s accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. The band is thicker and more sturdy than the Jawbone UP.

Nike+ Twitter Response: How are calories calculated by the Nike FuelBand? Updated: 2/27/2012

The surface of the band also has a cool digital display that gives you immediate stats about how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and shows you the time of day.

Nike FuelBand Is Better Than The Jawbone UP

Let’s compare two working products and let’s pretend that Jawbone UP solves it’s defective battery issue. Here’s why the Nike Fuel Band Is Better:

  • Nike FuelBand charges wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy and syncs to the iPhone App. Jawbone UP has to plug into the headphone jack to sync.
  • Nike FuelBand provides you stats on the display for immediate feedback. Jawbone UP doesn’t until you sync it.
  • Nike FuelBand doesn’t have parts that fall off and get lost. Jawbone UP has two pieces that could fall off and get lost. It also could fall off and get snagged on things.
  • Nike FuelBand tells time. I didn’t think this would be that good until I realized there is one less thing that I have to wear. Nice to lose the wrist watch. It definitely something you can wear while playing contact sports like soccer or football and not worry about it scratching someone.
  • Nike FuelBand is more suitable for me than the Fitbit. I was never a candidate for Fitbit because it’s something that I could easily lose. I’d gladly pay $50 more for a product that I won’t misplace or lose. Yes, the Fitbit tracks sleep too, but, again there’s a $0.99 app called Sleep Cycle that takes care of that for me.


Keep It Simple and Do It Really Good

Some companies compete by having more features and being cheaper. Nike is showing that you can charge more money for a high quality product. As an entrepreneur I like this model better than competing on price and could write a long blog post on why it’s better to charge more for a product than be at the bottom of the barrel. Nike, while not first to the mobile health band race definitely is capitalizing on Jawbone’s misstep. It’s too bad for Jawbone because Jawbone’s marketing team really did a great job with their marketing effort.
Updated: March 6, 2012

How to Soft Reset Your Nike FuelBand

While up skiing, my FuelBand would not sync to my iPhone. I tried to make my iPhone forget about the FuelBand and then try to re-pair it via Bluetooth. That didn’t work in fact, I could not get my iPhone to even see the FuelBand as a Bluetooth device. I called customer support and they walked me through how to reset or reboot the Nike FuelBand. You hold down the button on the FuelBand until it says “reset”, click the button one more time, and it will reset or reboot the FuelBand. You will NOT lose any data that is on the FuelBand. It’s kind of like rebooting a computer or turning on and off any electronic gadget.
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