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Jawbone delivers the most wearable fitness tracker yet, but it doesn’t do quite enough

Source: Supplied

JAWBONE’S loyal audience of step-counting, sleep-checking, calorie-calculating fitness fans has been waiting impatiently for this device.

The delayed Up3 promised new technology for the lifestyle fitness industry, adding a bioimpedance sensor in a sleek, fashionable form.

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Now it’s finally in Australia the verdict is mixed.

Subtle technology ... Jawbone’s new top model fitness tracker doesn’t look obvious.

Subtle technology … Jawbone’s new top model fitness tracker doesn’t look obvious. Source: Supplied

First, the good news. Jawbone has created the most wearable fitness tracker yet.

Whether you invest in the licorice-like Black Twist or the quilted Silver Cross design, you’re unlikely to be stopped in the street and asked about the technology you’re wearing.

The Up3 looks like a subtle piece of jewellery, and it’s unisex enough to be worn by anyone.

The band fixes to the wrist with a unique metal clasp that, while fiddly, is more secure than some rival bands.

Aside from good looks, the Up3’s biggest addition is a series of bioimpedance sensors. Five such sensors sit inside the fitness band and by touching the skin can assess the wearer’s heart rate, respiration and galvanic skin response, or electrical resistance released as a response to stress.

Naturally, this addition provides a lot of information, and Jawbone currently uses it to produce some of the most accurate sleep tracking on the market.

Bioimpedance addition ... The Jawbone Up3 fitness tracker adds a heart-rate sensor that c

Bioimpedance addition … The Jawbone Up3 fitness tracker adds a heart-rate sensor that captures the wearer’s resting pulse as they sleep. Source: Supplied

After a night with this band on your wrist in sleep mode, its accompanying app will tell you how much time you spent in light, deep and REM sleep, and how much time you spent awake. It will also chart your heart rate during sleep and deliver an average for the night that you can monitor over time.

The results are more fascinating than they sound and see users wake with anticipation each morning, logging on to see how their latest slumber has been graded.

Following a software upgrade, the Up3’s controls are also more sensitive, and one charge of its battery will let you see out a week without reaching for its magnetic charging cable.

Naturally, this device is also an able step counter and finds a good balance between counting and discounting movement (gesticulating does not count as exercise).

And now for the bad news.

Lifestyle tracking ... Jawbone says its devices are designed to track everyday activity,

Lifestyle tracking … Jawbone says its devices are designed to track everyday activity, and not just exercise. Source:Supplied

Despite the introduction of advanced bioimpedance sensors, this fitness tracker cannot assess your heart rate unless you’re asleep. In what seems like a glaring oversight, you cannot monitor your pulse during exercise or even check it after you’ve finished sweating.

This could improve with a software update but it is unavailable now and likely to see serious fitness fans researching competitors.

Despite early promises, the Up3 is not waterproof but only “splash resistant” so you cannot submerge it.

It also lacks a detailed display, you cannot start its exercise Stopwatch mode without the app, and it has no incline sensor to track your stair climbs.

There’s no hiding it: the Jawbone Up3 has serious omissions. Those who want to monitor their heart rate or wear a fitness tracker in the pool will not appreciate its hardware.

That said, the Up3 is comfortable to wear constantly, more fashionable than its peers, delivers the most detailed sleep tracking in its category, and its health coaching app is insightful. Amateur fitness fans can get a lot from this device, and future software updates may deliver more.

Jawbone Up3