Gadget Challenge: Fitbit vs. Jawbone (conclusion)




Introducing the Fitbit One


Small and compact, it’s roughly the size of a pinky finger. It comes with a USB “dongle” for wireless connection to your PC. A USB charging cord, and an armband for sleep tracking. The app is available for both Android and IOS, however, it would only sync with my iphone. The Android phone I had did not offer this functionality and would only download the data after syncing with my PC. Last but not least, it offers an on-device readout of your progress for instant feedback at the press of a button.

Meet the Jawbone Up:


A bracelet-style tracker available in a variety of colors. The only extra you need for this device is the USB charger (included). The UP does not sync with your computer but instead plugs directly into your smartphone by removing the “Jawbone” cap to reveal a plug. The app is available for both Android and IOS and detects the device as soon as its plugged in. The device has a single light and one button at the end opposite the plug.



I wore both devices for several days, treating them exactly the same. Both while sleeping and while at work, where I do quite a bit of moving around. At work I put them through quite the range of tests: I am in and out of cars all day, up and down stairs, at my desk doing paperwork, and walking …….lots and lots of walking around. Here are my daily numbers:

Day 1: *Fitbit – 16,524 steps, 7.36 miles, 3149 calories *Jawbone – 14,945 steps, 7.13 miles, 2,353 calories

Day 2: *Fitbit – 17,323 steps, 7.72 miles, 3,255 calories *Jawbone -17,027 steps, 8.09 miles, 2,065 calories

Day 3: *Fitbit – 14,771 steps, 6.58 miles, 3,057 calories *Jawbone – 13,746 steps, 6.5 miles, 2,128 calories

Day 4: *Fitbit – 16,345 steps, 7.28 miles, 3,144 calories *Jawbone – 15,560 steps, 7.35 miles, 2,020 calories

As you can see, the Fitbit calculated high, while the Jawbone went low. However, distance wise the Jawbone calculated more believing my stride length to be longer. Both asked for the same parameters at setup (height, age, sex, etc ) so they must use different calculations to set themselves up. I will add that the Jawbone offers a fine tuning ability where you walk a specific distance for setup that I didn’t use. So which one is better? That’s very hard to say but I suppose if I was going for weight loss I would want to the one that guesses low so that I’m not over eating when translating this into calories I can consume.

Sleep tracking results were pretty similar between the two. However, if I got up in the middle of the night the Jawbone believed I was done sleeping and stopped tracking. Without any sort of status screen I had no idea until morning and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to restart.  I don’t know what to do with the results anyways. I suppose I could test out things I do before bed and how they affect my sleep but quite honestly it was only there to satisfy my curiosity.


When it came to displaying results both apps were easy enough to use. The Fitbit’s wireless ability was a definite plus over the clumsy plug in of the Jawbone. Both apps sync with other fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal but with somewhat limited effectiveness. Logging food with the Fitbit was a chore! You have to search for the food and usually had to settle for a similar item as many name brand items won’t show up in the results. The Jawbone offered up a much nicer looking, easy to use interface and has barcode scanning taking all the guesswork out completely. I will note that the MyFitnessPal app can substitute food logging on both apps which offers much better tracking then either. So what’s the overall winner? I will go with the Fitbit but ONLY if paired with the MyFitnessPal app… stand alone I would go with the Jawbone.


For me, the bracelet was awkward and clumsy. I don’t wear jewelry or even a watch so it bothered me constantly. At work I wear a shirt and tie and the Fitbit fit discretely into my shirt pocket (they say you can clip it to your bra but well …I don’t have one) while the Jawbone screamed LOOK AT ME I DON’T FIT IN HERE. (it didn’t help that the color I had to try out was teal lol) There is no status screen on the Jawbone which I didn’t like and no wireless connectivity was a thumbs down as well. The app was better on the Jawbone but a small download of MyFitnessPal evened the playing field. In the end neither device inspired me to walk more or beat any sort of goal. They do, however, give you a good basis for accurate calorie counting and (provided you stick to it) can help you lose weight.


For my money, it’s the clear choice. Do you use either of these products? What’s your opinion?

-p.s.- I was in no way compensated for this I had access to both and took the opportunity to make a post out of it. The Jawbone Up was given to The Everyday Warrior to try out through a Verizon program she is participating in.