Snap Judgement: Fitbit One vs Jawbone Up24

It is no secret that I enjoy self-quantification.  Well, if it is a secret, it shouldn’t be.  I enjoy self-quantification.

I have been using a Fitbit since 2011, so I’m starting to get a wealth of data out of it.  One of the ways it has been most useful is through its integration with Beeminder, which charges me money if I don’t keep up an average of 6500 steps a day. (Which I sometimes struggle to do)

Last year, I told my friend Abe (who is gainfully employed by Jawbone) that I like the concept of the Jawbone Up, but I wouldn’t get one until it had wireless syncing and integration with Beeminder.  Late last year it got both, but didn’t have Android compatibility, so I waited.  This spring, it finally did get the Android app we have all been waiting for, and I decided to try it out, to see what I liked and didn’t like about it.

I’ve had a Jawbone Up for about a month now, and I have thoughts about the differences and benefits of each.  Which I am now sharing with you.  Because I can, and because why not?

Step Tracking

Well, the Jawbone and the Fitbit are tracking different motions to estimate steps, so there are bound to be differences in the step counts, right?  The Jawbone tracks on the wrist, while for me, the Fitbit is on my hip.

image

How do they compare?  The Fitbit is almost always higher. On average, if I exclude Saturdays from my count, the Fitbit is on average 1086 steps per day higher.

 

[Why do I exclude Saturdays? Two reasons: #1 I usually grocery shop on Saturdays, and if I am pushing a cart, the Jawbone does not pick up steps reliably (given that my wrist is fairly stable). #2 I have been going to the gym on Saturdays and riding a stationary bike.  Because I keep my Fitbit in my pocket, I pick up a ton of “steps” that the Jawbone doesn’t see.  Last year when I was rowing on the erg a lot, the Fitbit didn’t pick anything up.  I kind of wonder what the Jawbone would do with an erg.  (I did discover that kneading bread is a great way to rack up Jawbone steps.)]

Winner: Neither has an obvious advantage here. I think that if you are consistent, you can estimate your activity level with either.  They aren’t directly comparable though.

Sleep Tracking

The Jawbone has a distinct advantage for Sleep tracking.  I absolutely hate the way Fitbit does sleep tracking. I have to get out my special velcro wristband, and fumble around after I’ve taken my contacts out to get the Fitbit in its special pocket, and then try to push the button, and then hope that the Fitbit doesn’t fall out in the night.  Then when I get up, I have to log on to a website to see the details of how I slept. You can imagine I haven’t tracked my sleep with the Fitbit in a long time.

With the Jawbone, because I am already wearing it on my wrist, all I have to do is push a button to start the sleep mode, and push a button to stop it when I wake up.  The data is (almost) instantly sent to my phone and I get a notification in the app showing me how I did.  It is easy as pie to use.

I like the silent alarm feature on the Jawbone, which allows me to set a regular alarm and/or set a smart alarm which will wake me when I am not in deep sleep, up to 20 minutes before I need to be up.  I have used the silent alarms on the Fitbit, but not for waking up, so I don’t have a direct comparison.

Winner: Jawbone, by a long shot.

(I also have the capability to integrate my Jawbone with my SmartThings house using IFTTT, so when I indicate that I have woken up on my Jawbone, the light in my room also turns on, so I don’t have any excuse not to wake up.)

Form Factor

The Fitbit One is a small fob that I generally keep in my coin pocket. No one has to know its there.

The Jawbone Up is a bracelet that sometimes doesn’t play nice with my sleeve cuffs.  Anyone who is paying attention knows it is there, although they might not know what it is.  Is there an etiquette yet for asking people about their self-tracking devices?

Winner: Fitbit for inconspicuousness

App Experience

In my opinion, the Jawbone’s app really shines.  It just has a friendlier interface, and I think it does a good job bringing the data you need straight to the user’s attention.  I particularly like the cards that pop up every day giving me information about how my habits stack up and how I can improve them.  On the downside, the Jawbone App tends to be a bit crashy for me.  Don’t know if that is just me and my phone, or if it is a common problem for others.

Jawbone App
Jawbone App

I don’t have anything bad to say about the Fitbit app, but I don’t have anything great to say about it either.  It is functional, it does what it is supposed to do.

Fitbit App
Fitbit app (can you tell I biked today?)

Winner: Jawbone

Other Stuff

Little things I like about the Jawbone Up:

  • Inactivity alarms – they  wake me up at work and remind me to get up and move around
  • Powernaps – when I need a quick nap, it will rouse me in about 25 minutes. Perfect!
  • Integration with IFTTT – Makes getting data into Google Docs really simple, plus SmartThings integration!

Little things I dislike about the Jawbone Up:

  • For the life of me, I cannot get the Stopwatch mode to fire consistently.
  • It doesn’t have a website where I can check data. I don’t like being constrained to my phone. Also, no tablet app?
  • I can’t get instant feedback from the device about step count without going to the app
  • This is tiny, but I hate that for Android it has to display a permanent notification that it is syncing via BlueTooth. I understand why it has to be, but I don’t have to like it. My notification space is precious to me.

Little things I like about the Fitbit One:

  • The Fitbit website has your data visible and you can do crude analysis there. I like the previous version of the site better than the current iteration.
  • Chatter – When I pick up my Fitbit, it greets me by name, tells me , and sometimes tells me that it loves me. 😀 Who doesn’t love a pocket computer that cheers you up?
  • Instant feedback – If I want to know how I’m doing, I just pull it out of my pocket and push a button.

Little things I don’t like about the Fitbit One:

  • It is hard to get the data out of Fitbit’s greedy little hands. It is doable, but it is not easy.
  • Until recently, it required a computer connection to sync. That was annoying if I was travelling and wanted to make sure I didn’t hit a Beeminder eep! day.  Now it will sync with my phone.
  • It is super easy to lose. I have never washed it, but it has fallen under my bed and gotten temporarily lost on numerous occasions.

Winner: Tie, probably.

Overall

At the end of the day, both of these devices seem to be good activity trackers.  They both have their quirks, and they both approach the question of self-quantification from different angles.  The only place where there is a clear outstanding winner is with Sleep Tracking. If you are interested in that, Jawbone Up is the way to go.  Otherwise, it really comes down to personal preferences.  Each does some things better than the other, but I don’t think there is a clear standout.

Great Customer Service

I recently finished reading Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service.  I’ve been obsessing with Zingerman’s Bakehouse breads lately and I have a Zing BAKE! class on my schedule for later this month, so when I saw this book on the audiobook shelf at the Library, I jumped at the chance.

It was read by the author, Ari Weinzweig, who outrageously gave his office phone number out at the beginning, saying that anyone who had questions could just call his office to discuss. Talk about service!  Anyhow, he talked a lot about ways that good companies could give good service, and while I have forgotten the finer details of it, I do know that I know great service when I see it.  (Here’s a link to their 5 steps for dealing with a complaint, along with some of their other customer service mantras)

I wanted to call out and give examples of two companies that recently left me pleasantly surprised by their approach to customer service.

The first is Woot.com.  I had recently ordered a box of batteries. (Skynet is eating them for lunch.)  When I got the box, I opened it up to find that instead of 72 AA batteries, I had 72 AAA batteries. In all of my life, I don’t think I will use that many AAA batteries.  I wrote in to ask about an exchange, because I really did want those AAs.  I got a quick email acknowledging that my correct order was on its way.

A day or two later, Woot sent out the following email, presumably to all the customers who had purchased batteries during that particular sale.

Dear Battery Lover,

How many times have you gone to the store to buy AA batteries, picked up what you thought was the correct package, paid for it, taken it home… and only then noticed you bought the wrong freakin’ type? You always feel kinda dumb, right? Now imagine if you did that something like one thousand times in a row.

Which is our way of saying that yes, we DID finally notice that we sent you the wrong batteries. If you ordered AA you got AAA and vice versa. We’re the goofballs here and we’re sorry for the mistake. Now, let’s tell you how we’re makin’ it right.

FIRST: keep those batteries we sent you. Put ’em in your remote or your smoke detector or penlight or whatever. They’re yours now. Enjoy!

SECOND: Be aware we’re sending you the batteries you actually wanted, at no additional charge. They’re the ones you asked for, right? Of course you still want ’em!

And please, learn from our mistakes. Always count the number of A’s in your battery type. Always.

Apologetically,
Woot.com

Super awesome, right?  Here’s what they did right:
#1 – They acknowledged that there was a problem
#2 – They apologized sincerely and with a sense of humor
#3 – They made it right, and they made it easy. (I was ready to ship the AAAs back to them)

I have long loved Woot for the sense of humor that they bring to everything that they do.

The second example I wanted to share was the great way Nature Box handled my request to cancel my service.  Let me tell you right up front, I like Nature Box’s service. Basically, you sign up for a $20/month subscription and they send you a box of snacks each month. I felt like it was good value for money, and the snacks were tasty and healthy.  I decided ultimately that mye money was better spent on something else, but I highly recommend the service. (Try the Lemon Pucker Pistachios. You won’t regret it!)

Normally, you don’t praise a company for how they treat you when you cancel, but they did me right.  I knew that if I called they’d try to keep me subscribing, so I went the email route.  This is how it unfolded:

Dear Naturebox-
I’d like to cancel my subscription please and thank you. It is a lovely service, but I think at this time, my priorities lie elsewhere. I have enjoyed my time with you, and let me assure you, it’s not you, it’s me. 😉

Best-
Brady Emmett

Hi Brady,

Thanks so much for your message! I’m sad to hear that you want to cancel your NatureBox subscription

You have been a wonderful customer of ours for so long and I can’t explain how much we appreciate that! We miss you already just thinking about it. [yadda yadda… retention sales pitch deleted here – bpe]

Don’t feel bad if you are not interested, I really just wanted to let you know about this before you go. If you would rather part ways, let me down easy with a simple response to this email 😉

Thank you very much for all you have done for our company. If you have any questions, I am all ears. I really look forward to hearing from you soon!
Andrew

Andrew C.
Professional Snack Concierge since 2013

Hey Andrew-
I really think we should see other people. Maybe at some point in the future (I really liked the Lemon Pucker Pistachios. Those were good times.)
Let’s remember the good in the relationship. 😉

Thanks for cancelling my account!

Best-
Brady

Hi Brady,

Thanks for kind let down haha I speak for the entire NatureBox family when I say, I am sad to see you go 🙁 That being said, I’ve gone ahead and cancelled your subscription. We will not charge your card from this point forward and you should receive an email confirming this shortly.

Remembering the good times,
Andrew C.

I don’t know if you caught that, but my professional snack conceirge played along with me. He had a script, sure, and what kind of customer service rep doesn’t, but he broke out of it to respond directly to me and it honestly left me with a huge smile. If I didn’t have a rule about how many subscriptions I can have at any one time, I totally would have resubscribed right then and there. I still highly recommend it (If you want to try it out, this is my referral link: http://fbuy.me/MFds you get $10 off, and I get a $10 credit, which I will happily spend).

So, that’s how you do great customer service.  Have you had any good experiences with customer service? What about awful ones?

PS If you want a revelation, try Zingerman’s Chocolate Cherry bread. If you are family, and you come visit me, I will buy you some. 😀