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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 19 April, 2014

Wearable tech the newest development in fitness: which is the best band to buy?

It’s the Jawbone Up v the FitBit. And it’s live.

WEARABLE TECH IS all the rage these days.

Fitbit and Jawbone recently launched new digital wristbands that motivate you to stay active.

These devices track how many steps you’ve taken in a day, how many calories you’ve burned, and the distance you’ve travelled.

The Fitbit and Jawbone stand out from other fitness bands by tracking your sleep. The devices then help you to figure out how to wake up more rested. An added bonus is the vibration motor that can silently wake you up from sleep so you don’t disturb your partner.

Both the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up have their positives and negatives. But which one is better and why?

1. The Jawbone Up has the best battery life.

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Pic: Kevin Smith/Business Insider

The Fitbit Flex’s battery is said to be in the five to seven day range. In my experience, I got about five days of use before I had to recharge.

The Jawbone Up is said to last 10 days. So far my device is at 75% after two days and the app tells me I have eight days left. I spoke with a more experienced Up user who told me that she typically only gets about five to six days of battery on a charge.

Winner: The Jawbone Up wins this round simply because it doesn’t sync with your phone via Bluetooth, which saves on battery.

Score: Jawbone: 1, Fitbit: 0

2. The Jawbone Up has a better smartphone app

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The Fitbit mobile app is available for iPhone and select Android phones. It provides useful information about how many steps you’ve walked, distance, calories burned, your sleep cycle and even tracks how active you’ve been. The app is easy to use and works as you would expect it.

The Jawbone Up’s app just looks better. It’s more visual, provides more information, and is easy to use.

Winner: Jawbone. While the Fitbit app isn’t bad, the Jawbone app wins for its better design and more features.

Score: Jawbone: 2, Fitbit: 0

The Fitbit can sync with your phone wirelessly

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Pic: Kevin Smith/Business Insider

The Jawbone has to be plugged into your phone whenever you want to sync it. That can get annoying and there is a huge chance you’ll lose the end cap, which covers the headphone jack.

The Fitbit syncs wirelessly several times a day. You basically don’t have to do anything and your data is stored either on your computer or smartphone.

Winner: Fitbit takes all the work out of having to sync your data.

Score: Jawbone: 2, Fitbit: 1

The Fitbit is more comfortable

This one is a tough category. Both bands are comfortable. I don’t like the clasp on the Fitbit because its hard to get on. Despite this, the Fitbit seems to disappear once it’s on your wrist. It’s so comfortable that you won’t notice it’s there.

Winner: Fitbit. The Jawbone has a unique design, but it isn’t as comfortable.

Score: Jawbone: 2, Fitbit: 2

The Fitbit has a better sleep tracker

Both devices can track your sleep.

The Jawbone Up gives you an interactive graph where you can track your sleep minute by minute. Jawbone also shares information like how long it took you to fall asleep, how long you were in light sleep versus deep sleep, and if you woke up at all through the night.

The Fitbit tracks less, but it does tell you at which points through the night you were restless or when you woke up. While Jawbone gives you more information, the Fitbit’s sleep tracker is more accurate. There were times when I woke up and the Fitbit knew when the Jawbone didn’t.

Winner: Fitbit. When wearing both devices at the same time, the Fitbit’s sensor was slightly more accurate.

Score: Jawbone: 2, Fitbit: 3

The Jawbone Up has a better alarm

The Fitbit can wake you up silently so you don’t disturb your partner, you can have multiple alarms.

But the Jawbone has a smart alarm that wakes you up when you’re in a state of light sleep, within 30 minutes of the time you set. You can also set up to 4 recurring alarms.

Winner: Jawbone. The Up has more sleep features and a smart alarm that wakes you up so you feel more rested.

Score: Jawbone: 3, Fitbit: 3

The Fitbit is cheaper

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The Fitbit Flex retails for £72 (€84).

The Jawbone will set you back £99 (€116).

Winner: Fitbit. Cheaper is better.

Score: Jawbone: 3, Fitbit: 4

The Jawbone up is more stylish

Fitbit focused more on functionality and comfort rather than style. The Fitbit doesn’t look bad but it also doesn’t look as stylish as the Jawbone Up. The Jawbone Up has a creative design and looks great. It can complement any style. There have been many times when people will stop me and ask what I have on or they will mistake it for a bracelet.

Winner: The Jawbone’s design is unique and features metal accents.

Score: Jawbone: 4, Fitbit: 4

The Jawbone Up makes it easier to track what you eat

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With both the Jawbone Up and the Fitbit Flex you have to enter food you’ve eaten manually.

The Fitbit makes it easy –– it has a database full of items detailing how many calories each one contains. If you don’t see what you ate in the database you can add it manually.

The Jawbone Up is again much more visual. You can even scan a barcode or take a picture of the item you’ve eaten and the app will do the rest.

Winner: Jawbone added the killer ability to scan or snap a picture of your food to add it to the app. It’s much easier than just searching a database.

Score: Jawbone: 5, Fitbit: 4

Winner: Jawbone Up

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I like the Fitbit. I really do. But it’s a little too basic for me. It does exactly what it’s meant to do: provide you with data about how active you are throughout the day.

But the Jawbone Up just has more features and it actually gives you advice about what you can do with the data it collects. While the Up doesn’t wireless sync (annoying!), it has every other feature of the Fitbit, and then some.

The Jawbone Up is a little more expensive, but for now, I think it’s slightly better than the Fitbit Flex.

Final score: Jawbone: 5, Fitbit: 4

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