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Few weeks of wearing Jawbone UP and Misfit Shine – Part I

I’m very curious to test various activity / sleep trackers (poshly referred to as wearables) and discover their pros and cons. They say curiosity can be lethal (you know the story of a turkey which ended up on a dinner table for dropping by to kitchen out of curiosity at the wrong time?), yet so far I’m alive.

Combo2_small Combo3_small

These two I was spending (almost) 24 hours with for (almost) a month by now. I’m used to wear bracelets, thus putting on two ‘ugly pieces of rubber’ (that’s how my mom called Jawbone UP the first time they’ve met) wasn’t a great discomfort. Of course at home I was sometimes taking them off (while doing dishes, etc.) yet was diligently trying to always take both off and put back on at the same time. As for the nights – the three of us slept together, and were otherwise tightly connected the rest of the days.

The Navy blue Jawbone UP is the second replacement since June 2013 (the original UP died for no reason three months after purchase, while the first replacement suffered from a battery death). I’ve received the navy blue one from Jawbone mid September 2014. Misfit Shine just happened to lie lonely in our office, and I adopted it for good. Or so I think. What Shine thinks I thinks I don’t know for sure, but it does not mind tracking my steps/sleep/calories, thus I’m deducting it shines for our friendship, too.

So, I was curious to know – If I wear them both:

1. Will the stats on steps I take match? If not, how can I decide which one understands me better?
This question I’ll answer in this blog post.

2. Will the sleep data match? If not, which one understands me better? Sure, there’s no way to compare light/deep sleep timings, yet I can track actual time to bed and out of bed, time when I’m awake and see which one gets that better

3. Any other interesting discoveries I make about them or myself?
Answers to 2 & 3 will have to wait for another post.

First of all I’ve ensured that data about me is same on both devices (age, height, weight, sex) as it influences calorie count, etc. Even though it’s possible to calibrate UP for steps, I didn’t go through the process. Didn’t find any calibration feature on Shine’s app. Fair play for both.

As a diligent owner, I felt obliged to inform Shine how am I wearing it (possible to do that on the app). The first few weeks it was Wrist, while for the last few days I’m wearing it on the Ankle (more about Ankle adventures later).

Misfit_Wearing_Options

Telling Shine what I do with it

1. Will the stats on steps I take match? If not, how can I decide which one understands me better?

On the first days / nights I was wearing UP on my left wrist and Shine – on the right one. On Day 3 it dawned upon me that when I walk I sometimes hold coffee cup or talk on the phone (or keep hand in the pocket) and thus, as I don’t move that hand, maybe one of the devices “thinks” I’m not walking while the other one is counting steps. Indeed, one day I took a long walk and for around one hour was holding coffee cup in my right hand (that’s where Shine rests). Shine ended up saying I walked 1,200 steps, and 2.3km less than UP (screenshots below).

Nov23_Photo 23-11-2014 16 08 06_small

How Shine “understood” it (on coffee holding hand)

Nov23_Photo 23-11-2014 16 07 27_small

How UP “understood” it (on free hand)

Being an equal opportunity owner, I then decided to give both equal chance of knowing me and thus placed them on the left wrist. Looked geeky, but it’s late autumn in Seoul, nobody will notice. I can suffer a bit. Anyway Buddha said Life is Suffering…

Wearing_on_Wrist_small

Felt a bit heavy, bulky and geeky

The day results on STEPS / DISTANCE were confusing: on the days when step count was similar, distance varied greatly, yet when distance was similar, step count varied significantly – could stride length be the culprit? I do vaguely remember having seen 0.7m (70cm) as the default stride length on Jawbone app long time ago. Googled for it, but the only thing I’ve found on Jawbone Support site about Calibrating was that “UP accurately tracks data based on the personal settings (height, weight, gender & age) entered in the app and synced to the band at initial setup. There is no additional configuration required. Calibrating the band is an optional process that refines the band’s ability to measure distance traveled. This does not impact step count tracked”

So I looked at the data. Simple math reveals that UP reads my stride at ~ 0.7m (11,870 meters / 17,191 steps = 0.69 m) and it’s rather consistent (did same math for the other days). As for the Shine, it’s different – stride length varies between 0.58m and 0.68m. Either it’s a glitch in the app or.. can my stride be on average longer on weekends? Checked the calendar and does not seem to hold true… Though this would be interesting to track to see if there’s any consistency

10,200 meters / 17,408 steps = 0.59 m stride length (Sun)
13,600 meters / 19,878 steps = 0.68 m (Sat)
5,200 meters / 8,932 steps = 0.58 m (Sun)
7,000 meters / 11,526 steps = 0.61 m (Mon)
4,300 meters / 7,350 steps = 0.59 m (Tue)

Nov9_day

Same day Shine data on the left, UP data on the right (taken at the same time)

Nov15_day Nov16_day Nov17_day Nov19_day

There were few days (sample screenshots below) when step count data was completely off, yet the distance was very close. How can there be a 1,500 step difference given I was wearing both trackers on the same wrist? I can swear I treated both Shine and UP in the same way (taking off and putting back on at the same time), thus have NO IDEA where the difference is coming from…

Nov8_day_off Nov18_day_off

Another interesting thing to notice is the difference in CALORIE BURN. Even when total step count was similar, Misfit Shine was telling me I burn more calories – with an exception on one day or two. According to Shine, even on the days when it counted less steps than UP, I was still burning more calories… As for the internal consistency, there seems to be something weird with Shine: look at the last screenshot. When I took 9,218 steps, I burned 2,072 calories (Saturday). When I took 7,470 steps (that’s roughly 20% steps less), I burned a very close 2,027 calories (Tuesday)… It could make sense if we assume I was doing some sort of exercise in which I was actively making larger strides. Nothing comes into my mind. Tuesday I was sitting in the office, while on Saturday I was actually walking outdoors. Any other explanation you can come up with? Comment or drop me a line at mod [at] wepla [dot] net

My judgement so far is that Jawbone UP “understands” me better. Yet not always (details in the next post).

TO BE CONTINUED

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