Friday, 10 July 2015

Measuring me.

I’m starting to quantify my life using a fitness tracker. Not sure how it helps, though.

Part of the reason for not getting an Apple Watch was that I had a much cheaper Jawbone Up24 wrist band. I’ve been wearing the band for a while now, and it’s time to write down my impressions.

My main quibble is that I don’t know what it’s for. I know what it does: count steps, discreet alarm, tracks sleep. I just don’t know how all that improves me.

Take step counting: I like that I can measure how active I’ve been during the day. However, counting the steps hasn’t spurred my to make more of them. I still walk as much as I normally do, and work still gets in the way of walking more. Verdict: 6/10.

Tracking sleep is even less useful for me. I’m skilled at sleeping. If only it paid enough, I’d be a bed tester, working from home. Tracking sleep is pointless, because it takes me conscious targeted activity to not fall asleep. Verdict: 3/10.

I do like the discreet alarm function of the wrist band. I no longer have to have the iPhone next to my bed because wristy is my new discrete alarm clock. My 5am alarm to get to the airport now needn’t wake DW (although I make it a point that she knows how grumpy I am at that time). It apparently even goes off at the time just before 5am when I’m at my least grumpy (that bit doesn’t work – I’m still grumpy). I also like the inactivity alarm, which reminds you when you’ve been sitting for too long. Verdict: 10/10.

Finally, I love the battery life. It lasts a week between charges, under normal usage. I don’t have to worry about battery husbandry, it’s always there, always on, doing its thing. That should be true of all gadgets. Verdict: 10/10.

Overall, there’s only one function that really improves my life, and a couple that are meh. My buying decision is therefore based upon how cheap it is, i.e. whether I can immediately mentally amortise its purchase price. I got it for less than £50, which for me is the sweet spot. Overall verdict: 6/10; useful but not indispensible.

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