I was a huge fan of my Jawbone UP2 activity tracker (as demonstrated by my review of the product earlier this year). I loved the way it looked and I was more than happy with all of its features – until the network started to waver. From there, the food tracking feature failed to pull my diet info through from MyFitnessPal and eventually disappeared altogether. Next the sleep tracker started to lose data, often suggesting that I’d been awake all night when in actual fact I’d slept peacefully! The final straw for me was when my UP2 tracker began to miss my steps. It gradually became completely inaccurate, eventually failing to log my steps altogether and consequently halting my 3 week streak of 10,000. As you can imagine, I was very frustrated! I finally decided it was time to try a new make and after learning that the Fitbit’s latest model (the Alta) was only £99.99 at Argos, it had to be that! As a make Fitbit is far better known than Jawbone but my question is: does the new Alta model warrant £60 more than I paid for my UP2? Read on to find out what I think…
I’ll start by reviewing the Fitbit app, which is far more intricate than the UP one and has more detailed features including steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, calories consumed and left to consume, hours slept, minutes active, hours in which 250 steps have been taken, water consumed, weight goals and exercise tracked. You can adjust the format of the app (something you can’t do with the Jawbone) as well as delete features according to your preference. Both apps are easy to navigate but Fitbit has a wider range of features and I personally prefer its overall aesthetic.
The set up process for the Fitbit Alta is clear and simple with the exception of actually getting the band on your wrist! I personally required help from my boyfriend and even then it was a struggle. In addition to that, the Alta needed more charging time than the UP2 so for its generally quicker setup the Jawbone tracker wins in that department.
The Alta is very nice to look at and is far more discreet than any other Fitbits I’ve seen. It’s a little wider than the Jawbone UP2 but its texture is far nicer and much better quality. It’s sleek, slim line and has an onscreen display, which is personally the main attraction for me as the Jawbone UP2 doesn’t. Using symbols the Alta displays the time, the amount of steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes and battery level. The band is detachable and you can buy others to change your Alta’s look as you wish. Again, this is something I couldn’t do with the Jawbone UP2 as the tracker was fixed to the band.
The Fitbit Alta’s food feature is good. You can submit your daily intake from which it will calculate your calorie total or alternatively sync with MyFitnessPal. It’s not quite as impressive as the Jawbone’s food feature which I personally found more interesting as it provided more detail such as the exact amount of fat, carbs and protein consumed and by how much your nutritional goals had been exceeded. Similarly Jawbone’s sleep feature was more comprehensive than Fitbit’s, with a better insight into the amount of sound sleep and light sleep endured. However, the most important element of any activity tracker is its performance with logging movement and the Fitbit definitely wins there. With the app, you can watch your steps log as you move which gives a great insight into how accurate it really is. Even more impressively, the tracker can distinguish between the types of exercise you are doing. So far the Alta has identified the difference between ‘walking’ and ‘running’ – and better still specifies my Boogie Bounce classes as ‘aerobics’! The UP2 could only really detect general movement and also failed to colour code progress which the Fitbit does.
My daily aim is now to achieve an all green board, of course! Although I really loved the Jawbone smart coach element, the Fitbit tops it with its many other additional features. Boasting the ability to tot up the hours in which you’ve been active and calculate the amount of calories you’ve actually burned during activity, it’s far more intricate and advanced. I also absolutely love the design. It’s so comfortable to wear (once you’ve managed to get it on!). That said, the UP2 can do many things that the Alta can such as silent alarms and reminders to move. But does the Fitbit do it better? To answer my own question – yes, the Fitbit Alta is the better tracker and does warrant £60 more than the Jawbone UP2 – but only because the Jawbone server was unreliable. If it had felt more secure, I’d have happily stuck with my UP2 in the long run. I thought the features were brilliant and I liked how it looked – but not enough to make do with the network breaking down. As a whole the Alta has better features, looks even nicer and has a far more trustworthy network. As a result, I’m very happy to call myself a Fitbit convert!