- Battery life
- App interface
- Phone notifications
- Automatic sleep tracking
- Step counts when shopping or moving around house
- Too wide
- Lack of music controls for Android
As I mentioned last week, I’m an activity tracker queen. Most recently I’ve been able to try out the UA Band, and there is a LOT to like here. I’ve been wearing it for a week now, and have even ditched a couple of my other trackers in favor of this one.
The syncing with the Under Armour Record app is phenomenal. I don’t have to push it to sync it manually, it just automatically takes readings from the band at all times. Whenever I want to see where I stand, I can just pull up my Record app and there it is in real time. One thing I read about, but haven’t been able to test out, is that if you use Under Armour’s Heart Rate monitor with the app during a workout, the band will show colored bars to let you know what heart rate zone you are currently working in! I would seriously love to try that function out!
I had planned on charging the battery on Monday’s and Thursday’s based on the estimated battery life. I charged it up on Monday, and Friday I still had 22% left. I decided to charge it on Friday, since I knew during the weekend I would rarely be sitting at my computer. I assumed it would be out of batteries by Saturday evening. The really great thing about the battery life though, is that it charges incredibly quickly. When it was at 22% I was able to charge it to 100% in 40 minutes. This is a super important part of a fitness tracker, because when it’s out of batteries and charging, it is obviously not tracking anything. That is my problem with trying to track my sleep with my smart watch. It needs to charge every night, so that doesn’t exactly lend itself to getting any tracking in.
What sets this tracker apart from many others is that you can get your phone notifications on it. It can tell you when you have a text, who it’s from and what it says (you can’t respond from it though, like I can with my smart watch). I can also have it notify me when I’m getting a phone call. I constantly have my phone on silent, since my UA Band will tell me when my phone is ringing. This makes it so I don’t ever have my phone accidentally go off in the middle of church or anything like that.
Another key feature in a perfect tracker, is water resistance. If I can’t wear it 24/7 (even while I’m in the shower), then really it’s not tracking everything properly. I wear the UA Band in the shower all the time. I like it better than some other trackers that I own because the device is fully encompassed with plastic. Other devices I have used can be taken out of the band they sit in, which is nice, but I found that the cracks between the device and the band get really dirty. It feels more waterproof the way it’s set up.
I actually don’t have much trouble sleeping. Except when I am on certain medication for an illness I have, which keeps me awake like ALL night. I DO love seeing my entire circle filled in on the Under Armour Record app. It is also really interesting to me how well I slept. It breaks your night up into deep sleep and light sleep.
As you can see… I am an AMAZING sleeper.
Speaking of sleep though, the other thing I like is the silent alarm. I used this on my Fitbit as well. The device will vibrate when the alarm is going off. It’s the perfect wake up alarm for me, as it will not disturb my husband when it goes off at 5:30 AM every day. I only wish I could select days of the week for the alarm. When it goes off at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, when I have NOTHING going on that day… it’s a little annoying when I can’t get back to sleep.
The NOT SO GOOD
I FEEL like the step counts are low. A couple times my Fitbit registered 2000 more steps then the UA Band did (for reference I wear my Fitbit on my pants where my belt goes). I tested a few other trackers that are wrist based, and they all experience the same problems with things like grocery shopping. My hand pushing a cart does not count any steps! I can’t imagine someone pushing a stroller all day, only to find they’ve only “taken” 100 steps. Most days I’m only at around 5000 steps on the UA Band at the end of the day, so I end up running on the treadmill for 30ish minutes. Going out for a run though, the step count is exactly on target. It’s just when I’m walking around the house a lot it seems to be low. So… while it may be under counting steps, it DOES encourage me to work harder to get more steps in, so that could be considered a good thing.
My other issue with the device is that it’s a touch too wide. You can see how it fits my wrist …
I have very small arms and wrists though, so maybe this isn’t so much of a big deal for the general population. It does seem better when I wear it with the display on the inside of my wrist, not on the top. It also seems to take better heart rate measurements wearing it this way too. I was wearing it on top of my wrist and it registered a 54bpm heart rate, and then I switched it to under and it read 64bpm. I sat in the same spot the whole time. So definitely wearing it under your wrist is better.
My last gripe about the UA Band is that it DOES have music controls, BUT they only work with iOS and Apple’s music player app. It doesn’t work with Android, or with any other music apps on iOS. If they could dial that in, I may never have to wear my smart watch again!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com