Sunday, May 8, 2016

Jawbone Up Move vs Misfit Flash Activity Trackers

A few months ago, I picked up a Jawbone Up Move activity tracker, mainly to see how much I run during my weekly basketball games. I'm not a fan of the wrist trackers and I figure they'd get in the way when I'm playing basketball.

What good is a tracker if all the data is trapped in the app? Jawbone has an API and I found this Python wrapper to facilitate access to the API. I was able to extract the hourly activity data, load it into my MySQL database and generate my own graphs:

This chart compares my current day's cumulative step count to the average for Sundays. Since I usually do the same activities on certain days, I'm able to see how I'm doing step-wise for today (and potentially adjust my activity level if I'm watching too much basketball or writing too much Python).

After about 2.5 months of use, my Jawbone was dislodged from my waistband during a game of basketball, fell off somewhere and is unfortunately gone forever. I wasn't completely thrilled with it, so I opted for a different tracker as a replacement - the Misfit Flash. I found a Python wrapper for the Misfit got it up & running. It's been about 5 days, but that's enough time for me to decide it's time to switch back to Jawbone.

What are the key differences between the Up Move and the Flash?
- The Up Move clasp is rubber coated and feels durable. The Flash clasp is hard plastic with hard edges and feels like it could snap in half.
- Jawbone data is hourly when downloaded through the API. The Misfit API only gives daily data.
- Up Move activity tracking is much more accurate than the Flash. When we play basketball, we may play a game for 15 minutes then take a few minutes break before the next game and this goes on for a couple hours. Up Move accurately calls the 2 hour duration one activity. The Flash thinks it's 6 or 7 short activities, unless I manually tag the activity start and end with a double press.
- Up Move doesn't automatically detect sleep and waking up (requires a press & hold to change mode). Flash supposedly does, but so far it's not so hot on sleep detection. The lazy hours of watching TV on the sofa before bed are included as part of my sleep even though I do get up and about for about 30 minutes before I actually climb into bed. It does detect waking up OK.
- Up Move is bulkier and ugly. I tucked the nicer looking Flash into my sock when I played basketball to avoid losing it. The Up Move probably won't be as comfortable in my sock.
- Flash is waterproof but the Up Move is only splash resistant.
- Jawbone syncs in the background whenever my phone wakes up (usually. had occasional issues with it not syncing). Misfit annoyingly requires you to push the sync button in their app. Misfit has background syncing for iPhone but not for their 2nd class Android users.
- Misfit offers a sleep SDK to enable automation when sleeping or waking but it lamely only works on iOS. There is also a notification API that allows you to get real time notifications based on your activity...I think...but I haven't seen a single notification and it's useless to me since there's no background sync on Android. So these potential pluses are of no value to me.
- The Flash can be used as a trusted device to unlock your Android phone. The Up Move can't.
- The Flash, through the Misfit Link app, can perform operations on double or triple presses, like being a selfie shutter or doing some IFTTT action. Not so for the Up Move.

Overall, the Up Move's more accurate activity tracking and better syncing are the most important features to me. The automation feature of the Misfit Link app is nice as is the Flash's bluetooth trusted device feature, but less important. Looks like the Misfit Flash is getting returned and I'm going to have to buy another Jawbone Up Move.

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