Fitbit vs Jawbone Activity Tracker

If you’re on the lookout for a fitness and activity tracker, your attention will soon be drawn to three of the biggest players in the marketplace: FitBit, Garmin and Jawbone. FitBit are the higher profile offering, but Jawbone are an exciting and innovative player who are right up there in the quality and style stakes. In this article we will compare the FitBit vs Jawbone range in order to help you make the best decision.

Jawbone Activity Trackers

About JawBone

JawBone are an American company based out of San Francisco, California. In addition to their range of fitness tracking devices, they also produce a range of speakers and headsets. JawBone holds more than 230 patents in the technology sector and are a leader in the advancing internet of things space.

About FitBit

Fitbit Activity Trackers

FitBit is the brainchild of a couple of ordinary guys, James Park and Eric Friedman, who back in 2007, were overwhelmed by the advances in wireless and sensor technology. They were among the first to connect these innovations with the world of health and fitness. As a result, they set about creating a portable product that would transform the way people moved and exercised.

FitBit have introduced new products to their range every few months over the last several years.

FitBit Surge

Their 2016 product range is as follows:

FitBit VS Jawbone: Price Comparison

​FitBit and Jawbone both offer a range of models to suit every user need and affordability level. FitBits range, however, is more extensive, with six models. Jawbone offer just two wrist based fitness monitors and one clip on monitor.

​FitBit have four activity trackers that are designed for the general fitness enthusiast. These are:

​Those who are after a beefier fitness monitor, which includes a hear rate monitor will want to step up to the FitBit Charge HR .

​The top of the line FitBit offering is the Surge, which will provide you with both a heart rate monitor and GPS functionality. FitBit latest release is 2016’s Blaze, which offers a touchscreen display, and provides GPS capability when matched up with your Smart phone. The Blaze also has a heart rate monitor.

JawBone UP3 Activity Tracker

The JawBone range is limited to four devices:​

From the above, we can see that both FitBit and JawBone offer devices at the $50 and $100 price point. FitBit have the premium priced item in the Surge, for which there is no Jawbone counter.

FitBit VS JawBone: The Features

FitBit - Every device in the FitBit range offers the following features:

  • Active minutes tracking
  • Steps monitoring
  • Calorie counting
  • Distance tracking

​Nearly all of the FitBit range will track your sleep. Those with altimeters fitted will also track the number of steps climbed. Some of them will also provide you with a silent alarm in order to wake you up by way of a vibration on your wrist.

​The only FitBit model that has GPS capability is the FitBit Surge. The Charge HR and the Blaze, along with the Surge, have a heart rate monitor. These devices monitor the heart rate by way of an optical sensor on the wrist. These have, however, proven to be quite unreliable. The most reliable heart rate monitoring device is by way of a chest strap, which none of the FitBit range offer.

FitBit have recently teamed up with designer Tory Burch. This partnership has given the FitBit range a renewed sense of style and innovation. They now offer a complete range of interchangeable bands which can be purchased to style up your FitBit.

​FitBit also offer their Aria scale, which is able to send detailed information about your weight, body fat and lean mass levels to your FitBit application.

JawBone - The JawBone range all include the following core features:

  • Activity tracking 
  • Sleep tracking
  • Food logging
  • Smart coaching

JawBone do not offer a GPS capable fitness tracker. They also do not have a product to compete with the FitBit Aria scale. However, Jawbone do offer a unique kitchen cutting board scale. The product is called the Orange Chef Prep Pad. This, along with the Heart Health features of the JawBone UP3, give Jawbone the edge when it comes to nutritional monitoring.

FitBit VS JawBone: Battery Life

​Battery life is an important factor in assessing a fitness monitor. Some device feature rechargeable batteries, while others will have batteries that last for up to 12 months, but will have to be replaced after that.

​The JawBone range includes the UP2 and UPw which have rechargeable batteries. They will last for an average of between 5-7 days before needing recharge, depending on the level of use. The JawBone UP Move has a replaceable battery. It will last for around six months.

​The FitBit Zip has a throw away battery. It has a life of about six months. The Charge, Charge HR and Flex have rechargeable batteries that will last for about seven days. The Surge also has a 7 day rechargeable battery. The battery in the FitBit One will see you through about ten days use before it requires recharging.

FitBit VS JawBone: Water Proofing

​Neither the FitBit or the JawBone range of activity monitoring devices are water proof. However, the FitBit range of devices are water resistant. This may sound like a subtle difference, but it actually makes a huge difference. A water resistant device is one in which great care has been taken to ensure that the inner working do not allow the penetration of water. Water proof devices, on the other hand, are not impacted by the flow of water throughout the inner parts of the unit.

​The FitBit website gives the following warning regarding using their devices in water.

We also don't recommend showering with your tracker; though a little water won't hurt the device, wearing it 24/7 does not give your skin a chance to breathe. Whenever you get your tracker wet, dry it thoroughly before putting it back on.

The FitBit range offer a level of water resistance up to 50 meters (the Surge). However you should not swim with your FitBit on, as the force of your swimming stroke will be too much for the device to comfortably handle.

​The JawBone UP2, UP3 and UP MOVE are splash proof. That means that they are resistant to accidental water getting in them. They should not, though, be taken into the water. It is also not advised that they be worn in a sauna or steam room.

​It is clear from the above that, though neither are suitable for swimming, the FitBit range offers the greater level of water protection.

FitBit VS JawBone: Smartphone Compatibility

Fitness Tracker Mobile App

To get maximum useability from your tracker, you should pair it with a smartphone. This will allow you to have instant analysis of your activity data. Both FitBit and Jawbone are compatible with most Smartphones on the market. FitBit has the greatest phone compatibility on the market. It will work with all iOS, Android and Windows based phones.

​JawBone is similarly able to work with iOS, Android and Windows Smartphones, so the two brands carry equal weight in this area.

Head to Head: FitBit Charge HR vs JawBone UP3

Why Buy the JawBone UP3 over the FitBit Charge HR?

  1. It has a better look in that it is sleeker and slimmer than the Charge HR. It is also more of an accessory that you would wear alongside a watch. That’s because it looks more like a fashion accessory than a fitness tool.

    FitBit have been subject to quite a bit of adverse publicity lately regarding people getting rashes from wearing their devices. In 2015 they had to have a voluntary recall of their FitBit Force because a number of users had reported getting a rash and or dermatitis. Even after that, a number of users further reported rashes. If you have a history of rash problems, you may prefer to go with JawBone who have not had any reported problems with rashes from wearing their bands.
  2. JawBone have superior sleep analysis to FitBit. The UP3 even displays your REM sleep, which not many wearable fitness monitors do (FitBit certainly don’t).
  3. JawBone works with more applications that FitBit does. Most of your favorite third party apps will work with Jawbone. FitBit works with many apps also. You just get a greater range with JawBone and the fit is more seamless.
  4. JawBone fitness trackers have better silent alarms that FitBit. Their smart alarm can wake you up within a range of your intended wake-up time. FitBit’s silent alarms will only wake you up right when you want to be woken up.
  5. JawBone has a better battery life than the Charge HR, but the difference is only about 24 hours. You should see about 6 days of charge with the UP3, compared to an average of 5 days with the Charge HR.

If you’be got your heart set on a Jawbone fitness tracker but can’t decide between the UP2, UP3 and UP4, check out our special Jawbone review page.

Why Buy the FitBit Charge HR over the JawBone UP3?

  1. With the FitBit Charge HR you get continuous heart rate reading. The JawBone UP3 does have a heart rate sensor built in, but they only take your heart rate at night and they only display your resting heart rate. However, the FitBit Charge HR can be used during your workouts. It also tracks your heart rate throughout the day.
  2. The FitBit Charge HR has a screen which displays the time, date, steps distance, calories, floors and also relates your phone calls. The JawBone does not have a display.
  3. The FitBit Charge HR is cheaper than the UP3 from Jawbone.
  4. The FitBit Charge HR is more comfortable to wear than the JawBone UP3. The JawBone has little studs on the inside of the band that tend to dig into your skin as you are wearing it. This is the heart rate sensor at work. While the Charge HR’s heart rate sensors also dig into the skin ever so slightly, the device is far more comfortable on the wrist. The Charge HR also has a better locking mechanism. The HR’s system is more like that of a conventional watch. This allows you to get just the right fit for you. The UP3 has a resizeable band system. However, this is a weird locking system which is average at best.
  5. The FitBit HR has a better activity tagging feature than the JawBone UP3. This allows you to start your workout in two different ways and then analyze your information later. You can start the workout on the band itself, which you can’t do with the JawBone UP3. Alternatively, you can start a run and bring your iPhone with the FitBit app built right in. This gives you more control and more features than you get with JawBone. The workout section of FitBit is also way better than is the JawBone.

The Verdict: The FitBit Charge HR is thirty dollars cheaper and provides a more complete all-round user experience.


So, which is better, FitBit or Jawbone?

FitBit and JawBone are both excellent choices for people looking for quality, dependable and reliable wearable activity trackers. JawBone’s range of activity trackers are more slimline and stylish than the bulkier FitBit range. In terms of functionality, Fitbit have a slight edge. However FitBit have also had issues regarding rashes on the skin from wearing their bands. They were also the subject of a lawsuit regarding the unreliability of their heart rate monitor readings. FitBit fitness monitors function better than JawBone’s range when exposed to water.

For an in-depth reviews of the JawBone UP2, UP3 and UP4, check out our JawBone review page. For an in-depth look at the Garmin range check out our Garmin fitness tracker review page. For a comparison vs Nike Fuelband fitness tracker, read our review here.

In the end analysis, your choice between FitBit or JawBone will probably come down to personal preference and price. Click here to read our guide for the best fitness trackers available today.

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