Head to Head Challenge: Fitbit Charge HR vs Jawbone UP3

Trying to decide between the Fitbit Charge HR and the Jawbone UP3? Keep reading to find out which one I picked after I wore both bands together for two weeks!

Head to Head Challenge: Fitbit Charge HR vs Jawbone Up3. Find out which is best and why!

 

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Before these two activity trackers, I was wearing a Body Media Link armband. I loved the tech in my Body Media armband, but as new devices came out, I quickly grew jealous of their sleek new looks because mine felt so bulky on the side of my bicep. What I loved most about it was its accuracy and the amount of sensors in it. It’s also the only device on the market that’s an FDA-registered medical device. Needless to say, I was pretty iffy about switching to a device that seemed to have far fewer sensors that made me question its accuracy. I was also super excited when I heard Jawbone had acquired BodyMedia and hoped their latest UP3 armband would be even better than my BodyMedia tracker. (Note: Affiliate links coming your way!)

Fitbit Activity + Sleep Trackers

The Look

So let’s start with the way the devices look. I’m not over the top in love with the look of the Fitbit Charge HR, but it is slightly smaller than my Body Media armband. Since people are familiar with the Fitbit (unlike the Link), I get far less confused questions about what the crazy thing on my arm might be. I have the purple Fitbit since it was the only color they had in the store. I’ve gotten used to the violet band, although I thought the black might go better with most clothing. But hey, I like to mix and match my colors, so it’s not too big a deal to me. I haven’t thought about the color much since I bought it, but I do think the button on the side should’ve been the same color as the rest of the band and not magenta. It’s just a bit weird to me; maybe because it doesn’t seem like it has any real purpose since the button on the black band is also black. It’s a little bulky, and I wish it laid a little flatter against my wrist, so hopefully Fitbit is reading this while they begin designing the next version. The Jawbone UP3 is just as tall (meaning how high it sits off my arm) but is about half as skinny. I could probably wear two UP3s side-by-side to take up the same amount of space as a single Fitbit activity tracker.

Fitbit Product Family - Activity Trackers

I find the clasp on the UP3 to be a little tricky to secure with one hand on my own, but it’s not impossible. The band felt somewhat restrictive to me for some reason. It wasn’t too tight, but it did seem to twist/rotate slightly in a way that made it feel too tight until I readjusted it. Maybe it felt this way due to the small size of my wrist or maybe I needed to tighten it a bit. Overall, although not the most comfortable, it looked nice and sleek, and I thought it looked much cooler than the Fitbit.

The Feel

I didn’t think the Fitbit was super comfortable during sleeping, at first, but after about a month of wearing it, I no longer notice it so much while sleeping. It feels as if I’m wearing a watch to sleep, which takes some getting used to unless this is how you always sleep. I do find the neon green glow of the heart rate sensor to be a little creepy and Matrix-like when I wear the band loose enough that I can see the light in the night. Covering the light is easy to remedy by just moving the armband a bit on my arm.

Jawbone’s UP3 was equally as comfortable, but there was no neon green light to worry about since it uses a bioimpedance sensor instead of an optical sensor, like the Fitbit. I didn’t love the fact that I had to put the band into “sleep mode” because I’d rather be lazy and let the band do the work for me. One neat thing I discovered was if you forget to put the UP3 in sleep mode before you go to sleep, you could still add your start and end sleep times. Once added, you can see the sleep data the device tracked during those hours.

Fitbit Product Family

The Features

My favorite features of the Fitbit are:

  • Gamification: You can add friends to your friend list & even compete with up to 9 other people in one of four pre-set challenges. The friend feature is pretty awesome for me because I have quite a few friends who wear a Fitbit.
  • Display: I can check my stats during the day on the small LED display without needing my phone and the app.
  • Heart Rate: I can check my heart rate while working out, as well as get my resting heart rate.
  • Sleep Mode: The device automatically detects when I go to sleep (although it seems to be confused when I am awake lying still in bed for extended periods of time)
  • Silent Alarm: I can set alarms to go off at various times by simply vibrating, which is nice if you don’t want to wake your significant other early in the morning.

Fitbit Surge

My favorite features of the UP3 are:

  • Charger: The magnetic charger is super cool! You can plug this baby in while in a pitch black room. All you need to do is touch the charging area near the plug, and it automatically snaps into place. I don’t know why this impressed me so much, but this was definitely a delight factor for me.
  • Splash-proof: I loved not having to remember to take the UP3 off before showering or worrying about it while doing dishes (if you use a sink full of water).
  • Look: It has a neat look, and I reaaally like the look of the soon-to-be-released silver band. It has a slightly feminine, but sophisticated look to it, in my opinion.
  • Inactivity Alarm: I can set the max amount of time before I’d like the band to remind me to get moving.

Fitbit Activity + Sleep Trackers + Wifi Smart Scale

The Verdict

I ended up choosing to go with the Fitbit because I liked the app slightly better, and I had more friends wearing the device to add to my friend list. Overall, I still think the UP3 has potential, and they recently added challenges to their app and will even allow users without a device to use the app alone to play. I still don’t have enough friends using the app, but I’ll most definitely keep watching Jawbone because I think they have a lot to offer the wearable device community. I wear my Fitbit consistently and love it! Now I just need to get better at tracking my food in the app, lol!

Product List Price Feature
Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband N/A Charge HR syncs automatically and wirelessly to tablets, computers and 150+ leading iOS, Android and Windows smartphones using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology. Syncing to computers requires Internet connection and USB port. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth and Internet connection. Syncing range: 20 feet
Water Resistance: Charge HR is sweat, rain and splash proof. However, the device is not swim proof or showerproof. With any wearable device, it's best for your skin if the band stays dry and clean. Battery life: lasts up to 5 days. Radio transceiver: Bluetooth 4.0
Warning: Do not use if you have a pacemaker or other internal, or implanted medical device. Not intended for use by children under 13. Always consult your physician. Slippery when wet
We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking. Charge time: One to two hours
Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices
Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones
Track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps
Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm
See call notifications, daily stats and time of day on the OLED display
Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones
Kindly contact Fitbit for any technical issues
Utilize the sizing tool in Product Details below to ensure proper fit.
UP3 by Jawbone Heart Rate, Activity + Sleep Tracker N/A Heart health monitoring throughout the day
Get personalized guidance from Smart Coach
Advanced sleep tracking automatically to capture REM, Light and Deep
Smart AlarmTM silently wakes you at the optimal time in your sleep cycle
Syncs wirelessly plus 7 days battery life. If your UP band's battery level is low, you may be unable to pair or sync with the UP App. Fully charge your band then attempt to pair it again
Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband $129.99 Charge syncs automatically and wirelessly to tablets, computers and 150+ leading iOS, Android and Windows smartphones using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology.
Syncing to computers requires Internet connection and USB port. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth and Internet connection. Syncing range: 20 feet. Call notifications via Bluetooth 4.0
Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices
We recommend charging your device every few days to ensure you are always tracking. Charge time: One to two hours. Battery life: up to 7 - 10 days. Battery type: Lithium-polymer
Water Resistance: Charge has been tested up to 1 ATM meaning it is sweat, rain and splash proof. However, the device is not swim proof. We also recommend taking Charge off before showering because, as with any wearable device, it's best for your skin if the band stays dry and clean.
UP2 Activity + Sleep Tracker (Amazon Exclusive) N/A Easily track your activities and your sleep automatically
Get personalized guidance from Smart Coach
Smart AlarmTM silently wakes you at the optimal time in your sleep cycle
Log your meals and use UP® App Food Score to know if you are eating right
Syncs wirelessly plus 10 days battery life
Android compatibility - UP2, UP3 and UP4 are compatible with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or later.
iOS compatibility - UP2, UP3 and UP4 are compatible with the following iOS devices:iPhone 4S or newer, iPod Touch 5th generation or newer, iPad 3 or newer, iPad Mini 1st generation or newer, iPad Air 1st generation or newer
Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch $249.95 GPS Tracking- See distance, pace and elevation climbed & review routes and split times
Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones
Track workouts & view workout summaries; plus all day activities including steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes
Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm
See call and text notifications on the touchscreen display
Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones
Utilize the sizing tool in Product Details below to ensure proper fit

This post may contain affiliate/sponsored links. Please check out my disclosure page for more information. Affiliate, sponsored, and paid links allow me to receive a small commission for purchases made through clicking a link on this page. You still get the same great prices (or even a discount, if specifically mentioned) and I get a small fee for sending the business referrals. All opinions are my own and I would never promote anything I don’t love using!

  • http://missmillmag.com Jasmine Watts

    Thanks for this! I have the Fitbit charge and have thought often about switching to the surge. Great review. I would love to see one comparing the apple watch to Fitbit!

    • Shayla

      I think the Fitbit Surge is a great option if you’re interested in the additional features, such as the additional 2 days of battery life (great for vacations when you forget your charger, lol), the larger display screen, GPS tracking, and the ability to control your music from Surge. It also comes in blue and orange, in case the black and violet don’t suit your fancy. Comparing the two devices is a great idea. I need to see if I can get my hands on one. :)