Dear Jawbone,

The only thing that spends more time stuck to my body than your fitness band is my own skin. As this is now the third time I have had to trim excess material from its ends, in an effort to combat a widespread issue with the product, I’m respectfully changing the status of our relationship to “it’s complicated.”

To be clear: I love this band. I wear it all the time, I track my goals, share and compare my progress with my entire family (who also own bands thanks to my glowing recommendations), and use it as an alarm clock.

Yet here we are, after just a few months of use: me circumcising my wristband again, and you continuing to sell them without addressing what is clearly a rampant quality control issue.

How did things get this way?

Jawbone Down

This is, in fact, the second wristband I have owned from you - the first one featured the same creeping rubber effect, but stopped working outright after only a few weeks. You very kindly and very promptly replaced it for me. I appreciate that.

But owning an Up has become a bit stressful. You see, I’m not used to this kind of thing happening to my technology. I take impeccable care of my gadgets; I don’t drop them, I wipe fingerprints off screens, I run maintenance routinely on my computers, I clean my harddrives…

Nevertheless, despite my best efforts, my wristband keeps trying to die.

Burning Rubber

Your website helpfully cites a few tips for keeping one’s Up in good shape:

  • Splash-resistant, but do not submerge
  • Avoid excessive bending Straightforward. Except the one place I don’t wear my Up band is in the shower - never have. Needless to say, I also don’t bend it or subject it to any uncomfortable acrobatics.

My first thought, upon witnessing this perplexing mutation, is that it must be something to do with the temperature. Maybe if it gets too hot, the rubber loosens and ends up stretching?

Except…this is a band meant to track exercise. I trust your QA department to have tested the rubber’s resistance to basic exercise consequences like sweat and body heat.

It’s not like I’m sauna wrestling here. Besides, I live in Canada.

Probably not heat then.

Weakness in Numbers

While my Up is pretending to be a snail, retreating into its shell, my girlfriend’s (also her second unit) has decided that it will only register button presses that are applied with Hulk-like strength.

I hasten to mention that she’s quite strong. There’s rarely a case where I need to help open a pickle jar around here. Nevertheless, it’s become a frequent evening routine to have her Up band passed between us so that we can take turns trying to choke-hold the thing into submission.

It’s moderately comforting that mine isn’t the only band trying to shed its mortal coil, but the fact that two units within the same household are experiencing problems makes it harder for me to continue recommending the Up as my fitness tracker of choice. For a bracelet, it’s pretty high-maintenance.

Then again, at least hers doesn’t need trimming.

How to Shave Your Up

One forum member cheerfully compared it to mowing the lawn.

I’m an optimist. Life is too short to get worked up over the little things. Sure, I didn’t expect an extra chore when I bought my Up, but it’s not like a bit of percussive maintenance now and then is going to mar my enjoyment of all the nifty features.

After all, what’s a little surgery between friends?

In the interest of being helpful, I’d like to share with you a convenient guide that you might consider distributing along with new Up units, so that other blubber-rubber sufferers can take matters into their own hands.

Who knows, maybe if you have fewer replacement requests to fulfill, you’ll be able to spend all that extra energy revising your construction process to eliminate these kinds of material degradation annoyances!

Anyway, the guide:

1. Remove Up Band From Wrist

I’m totally saving you from needless lawsuits here. While it may become tempting to slit one’s wrists after having to go all Conan-the-Barbarian on this thing for the tenth time since it fell out of warranty, it’s the Up’s skin we’re trying to cut here, not our own.

2. Using Scissors, Carefully Snip Excess Rubber on Each Side

Be patient and do one side at a time so you can keep things even. Also, careful not to take off too much, or to slip and accidentally stab any neighbouring Fitbit or Nike Fuelband owners in their smug little eyes as they glance pityingly at your procedure while checking their stupid little LED progress lights. Does schadenfreude earn them Fuel Points or something?

3. Repeat as Necessary

Two weeks or so seems to be my Up band’s schedule, but you may find yours is more ambitious, or is a little slow. Everyone’s a winner.

Jawbone Up

Maybe I’m being harsh.

After all, you’ve brought to market the only fitness tracker with good battery life, sleek (if a little abstract) aesthetics, smart alarms, and exportable metrics made up of useful data.

You’ve also made sure to hire some truly wonderful people for handling support requests. After spending $130 on something, it’s comforting to know that I can rely on prompt, courteous, and uncomplicated support for it.

I just wish I didn’t need to. Ah well.

For now, my Up is buzzing to remind me that I’ve been sitting here typing for too long instead of walking around collecting steps.
Or maybe it’s feeling a little self-conscious after its latest haircut.

Sorry, buddy.

Earnestly yours,
Marius