A $50 ticket to a great fitness app

The Good An affordable step and sleep tracker that can be worn on your wrist or as a clip-on; syncs wirelessly with iOS or Android; LED display shows daily goal progress; replaceable battery lasts for months. The Jawbone Up fitness app is the best, most well-connected ecosystem around.

The Bad The Up Move has an ugly design and can't be worn in shower or while swimming. The wristband is sold separately, and it lacks the vibration alarm of more expensive Up bands.

The Bottom Line The little Jawbone Up Move is an affordable entry to a great fitness app, though its design leaves something to be desired.

A year ago, the Jawbone Up24 was one of our favorite fitness bands: not necessarily for its band design, but because it connected with the excellent Jawbone Up app, one of the best fitness app ecosystems around. Up is a one-stop software hub that tracks everything from steps to sleep to calorie intake, and even gives lifestyle coaching and delivers insights based on your accumulated habits. 

The Jawbone Up Move is a low-cost $50 (also available in the UK for £40, and in Australia for AU$69) entry-level tracker that actually has most of the features of the more expensive Up bands: it tracks steps, sleep, and timed exercise events, and syncs them all wirelessly via Bluetooth to iOS or Android devices. It even has some advantages over the older Up bands: it can be worn in clip-on or wristband accessories, and uses a replaceable battery that lasts for up to six months. 

Jawbone Up Move

The Up Move, with its included clip accessory. (Sarah Tew/CNET)

In fact, it's a lot like the Misfit Flash, a plastic version of the popular Misfit Shine tracker that also costs $50. Both the Flash and Up Move use the same round "clock" LED readout design, lighting up LEDs around the rim to show how far you've made it towards your goal. Click the Up Move once for fitness progress, twice for a blinking LED readout that counts hours and minutes. It's not really a clock, but it can be one in a pinch.

The Up Move comes in five colors, and comes with a silicone clip that it pops into. Wristbands are $15 extra. Honestly, the Up Move looks ugly. People thought it looked like a cereal box prize or a cheesy '70s kitchen gadget on my wrist. It's not easy to pop it in and out of its accessories either, but once in it stays put.

Jawbone Up Move

Wristband: sold separately, in different sizes. (Sarah Tew/CNET)

The Misfit Flash can be worn while swimming or showering. The Up Move, however, is splash-resistant but can't be immersed in water. I had to keep remembering to take it off before my morning shower.

You're not getting the Up Move for its looks: you're getting it to tap into the excellent Up app. It works as advertised, and steps and sleep sync effortlessly. Even though sleep tracking is meant to be triggered manually by pressing and holding the Up Move's clickable surface before bed, the Up Move cleverly guesses your previous night's sleep and records it just in case, for you to add later in the app. It works like a charm. 

Jawbone Up Move

(Sarah Tew/CNET)

Sleep tracking, as is the case with all accelerometer-based trackers, really just notes "light" versus "deep" sleep. Heart-rate-based trackers like the Basis Peak and Microsoft Band give deeper readings. But it works well enough, if only to monitor nightly hours of rest.

The Jawbone Up3 is on the horizon later this year, with the promise of all-day heart rate tracking. You might want to wait for that, but the low price of the Up Move makes it a no-brainer cheap entry into everyday fitness. But keep in mind you might not even need it: the Up app now supports some phones as activity trackers, too. But using a dedicated band is still necessary for sleep. 

Jawbone Up Move

(Sarah Tew/CNET)

For $50, you get what you pay for. But keep in mind that there are plenty of cheap and functional fitness trackers out there: the Fitbit Zip is a cheap $60, £50, AU$74 Fitbit tracker with its own display. The Move is a similar type of product. Heck, you might be able to get a cheap and roughly equivalent tracker for free, from your health insurance company. Get the Move because it works with the Up app, great software worth using. Consider this your entry fee. But if you're looking for the best-made $50 tracker, I'd lean toward the Misfit Flash instead for its water resistance.

Sport: Fitness and wellness

Proficiency level: Expert/Intermediate

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