The FitBit Flex vs Jawbone Up – Which is the Better Smartwatch?

By | December 3, 2014

Last Updated on

Smart watches and other wearable devices really started becoming popular over the past few years. There are many advantages that make smart watches appealing, such as their ease of use, the ability to perform smartphone functions without actually needing your phone, and enable healthy buffs to easily track their activity and diet.

Whatever your reason for wanting a smart watch, choosing the right device is the first step.

Both 2013 and 2014 have been big years for smart watch development. Previously smart watches weren’t as technologically advanced and were more of a novelty item. Today there are quite a few different models on the market that perform marvelously. Manufactures will only continue to improve them.

Two very nice models are Fitbit’s Flex and Jawbone’s UP. Both watches have their advantages and disadvantages but are overall wonderful introductory devices. Let’s take a look at each device and see how they stack up in this head-to-head Fitbit vs Jawbone Up comparison:

The FitBit Flex Features

FitBit is already a very reputable smart watch company that consistently makes top-notch devices. The Flex model is versatile and ideal for people who are looking for a smart watch for their active or health-conscious lifestyle.

According to the FitBit website, the Flex has 4 main functions:

  1. Activity and Sleep Tracking
  2. Easy Wireless Device Syncing
  3. Complimentary App to Track Data
  4. Makes Fitness Fun

That last function is more of an opinion. However there are abilities the watch offers that certainly make fitness more appealing. For example, you can set daily goals and earn badges when said goals are completed. The Flex is very family- and friend-friendly so if you and a fellow loved one are getting fit together, you’ll enjoy being able to challenge them to fitness goals.

Fitbit’s activity and sleep tracking options include measurements like steps taken, distance, calories burned, hours slept and more. The device hooks up easily to your other devices like computers and smartphones. Speaking of smartphones, FitBit has a great app to complement their device. This app will shows charts and graphs of your data and offer you tools to further your progress.

As for the other functions, they do meet and exceed most expectations.

The design of this smart watch is appealingly simple. Since the watch is created for 24/7 wear FitBit wanted to be sure the band would be appropriate to wear during a variety of different situations. They certainly achieved this.

While you might not want to wear it to a formal dinner, it is non-distracting in design which makes it ideal for those who go to events often, work in an office or otherwise need to wear inconspicuous accessories.

The Flex comes in many different colors and in both a small and large size. The band is totally replaceable so you can remove the actual Flex device and pop it into a new band. The device itself is small and black with the FitBit logo and 5 tiny LED lights.

The device is water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about removing it for a quick shower or to do some dishes. The band and device are also pretty much indestructible for all types of normal wear-and-tear.

All in all, the FitBit Flex is a tried-and-true smart watch that works well for most people on a budget. If sleep tracking is very important to you the Flex would definitely be the better option.

If you are also someone that finds normal watches to be cumbersome and annoying, you’ll find that the band on the Flex is very sleek and will go unnoticed with wear. Overall, the Flex is the perfect introductory smart watch.

The Jawbone UP Features

The Jawbone UP is often compared to many of the FitBit smart watch devices. Both companies make excellent products and are up to date with the latest in technology. Jawbone is a less popular company compared to FitBit but the UP is an excellent device for people who are unhappy with the FitBit Flex or are looking for a smart watch with different capabilities.

The slogan on Jawbone’s website for the UP is, “The Key to Unlocking a Better You”. The UP program is all about goal-setting to improve overall healthy, whether it has to do with sleep, exercise or diet. As with most smart watches the UP comes with a complimentary app that works with iOS and Android phones.

Unfortunately this device doesn’t work with PC which is a downside for many people. If you’re looking for a solely mobile experience then you’ll also be happy to know that the UP also works in conjunction with huge number of different apps, like My Fitness Pal.

Some of the capabilities of the UP include:

  • Diet tracking with an easy-to-use and extensive food “library”
  • Decent sleep tracking technology that surpasses the FitBit Flex
  • “Gentle” alarm system that works with vibrations to wake you up more naturally
  • “Idle Alert” option will tell you when to get up and move after a certain amount of time of inactivity
  • An amazingly well-designed app that is easy to use and pleasing to the eye
  • Simplistic yet stylish band is suitable for casual wear and possibly formal wear

The band of the Jawbone UP is made from a thin, hypoallergenic, dense rubber so you don’t need to worry about skin irritation if you do have sensitive skin. The band comes in different colors and sizes but the UP device itself isn’t removable. This can be an issue if you eventually become tired of wearing the same color band every day. The entire band also has a subtle zig-zag design.

Though the band is thin, it doesn’t fit the wrist as snugly as a normal watchband would. Wearers might find it irritating that the smart watch can easily catch on objects.

The smart watch is water and weather resistant so it’s suitable for pretty much any activity except those in which it will be submerged in water or caked in debris like mud. Similarly to the FitBit Flex, the Jawbone UP is easy to clean and keep sanitary.

The technology of the Jawbone UP is more up to par when compared to the FitBit Flex. Sleep tracking for one is much more sensitive. When it comes to comparing the two brands you really need to decide which options are most important to you. The Jawbone UP is perfect for people who are a bit tech-savvy but are new to smart watch devices.

The stylish design, visually appealing app and other features make this device a great bang for your buck if you want a step-up from the Flex in terms of technology alone.

Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone Up Comparison

Fitbit Flex Jawbone Up
Overall Tech Rating: 3.5/5 Overall Tech Rating: 4/5
Single Audible Alarm Vibration Alarm Option that Senses Dips in REM
Average Sleep Tracking Options, Lacking in Sensitivity to Restlessness Very Sensitive Sleep-Cycle Tracking
Lacking in Nutritional Database Extensive Nutritional Database w/ Ability to Scan Food Barcodes with Phone Camera
Very Thin, Sleek Design; Fits Snug Slightly Thicker Band; Prone to Catching on Things
LED Display Shows Your Goal Progress No Display, Must See Progress by Visiting App
Comes in 10 Colors and 2 Sizes Comes in 8 Colors and 3 Sizes
5-7 Day Battery Life During 24hr Wear 7-10 Day Battery Life During 24hr Wear
iOS, Android and PC Compatible; Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Auto Syncing iOS and Android Compatible Only; No Automatic Syncing
Retail from Manufacturer: $99 here Retail from Manufacturer: $129 here

The Winner Is…

Between all of the features both devices have, the winner would be the FitBit Flex. The Jawbone UP is a serious competitor but the price difference between them doesn’t necessarily justify the very small advantage the Up has when it comes to capabilities. That being said the Jawbone UP is still a great smart watch that may be better suited for people who don’t really want a “simple” device.

If prices were equal, I’d rather have the Jawbone Up You can find the Jawbone Up at this listing for a great price.

Always use your best judgment and do plenty of research before purchasing your new smart watch. Often times one tiny difference, such as the Flex’s ability to sync wirelessly or the UP’s ability to sound a vibrational alarm for a more pleasant morning wake-up, just make a device a better fit for an individual’s lifestyle.

Since smart watch technology is still relatively new, you’ll likely have to do without some options in favor for others that you deem to be more important. At this stage I would definitely lean towards the FitBit Flex as a better entry-level fitness smartwatch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *