Jaybird Reign Activity Tracker Review

Waterproof, automated, measures your heart rate

3 Dan Ahn 2014-11-02

Jaybird Reign Activity Tracker Review

Jaybird Reign is an automated activity tracker that keeps track of your activities 24/7 and is fully waterproof. There have been many fitness bands in the market but this is one of the first ones that will just track you accurately without any physical buttons. I’ve been an owner of Fitbit Flex and Force before, and I didn’t like how I would have to hold the button to let it know I’m sleeping or about to start a workout. Jaybird’s Reign boasts in accurate tracking that is automated and I can vouch that it actually works, and is fully waterproof, whoa.

Jaybird Reign 2

Reign is packaged very attractively like Jaybird’s other products in a graphical box that opens in a magnetic flap. At first, you can see intense athletes running and only the tracker. As epic as the name “Reign” is, I think it’s represented quite well so far.

Jaybird Reign 3

Pulling the tracker out of the box, the tracker felt very soft and light. Before getting into the tracker itself, let’s look into the rest of the package and get started like the package says.

Jaybird Reign 4

Reign comes in two sizes: S/M for those with small wrists like me and L/XL for the others. Inside the box, you can see placeholders for different band sizes. Note that this tracker doesn’t adjust one band like a watch, but rather have to swap the actual band length. This helps with keeping the band thinner and less obstrusive as there’s no need for a mechanism to adjust band lengths.

Jaybird Reign 5

It also comes with a cleaning tool, USB cable, a charging adapter, two sized sports bands, additional band sizes, and a leg strap for cycle tracking, which we’ll all get to in a bit.

Jaybird Reign 6

In the back, there are some information about the Reign, and there’s also a sizing chart that’s printed to scale, cool. By putting your wrist on the box as shown below, you can get a general idea of what size you should get. My wrist shows that I need S/M size, as I probably could’ve guessed.

Jaybird Reign Sizing

I also got a hold of a white version of this band. I was told that different colored ones will be available in the future, such as neon green. You can see how the inner piece comes off easily like that and snaps onto the strap magnetically. From my experience, black is subtle and blends into every day attire, but will catch more dust and other junk around you. The white one in the other hand, looks like a fashion accessory and stands out much more. It seems to do a better job staying clean, but you can always just rinse it or have it washed off while showering.

Jaybird Reign 7

Both look great, and I can imagine people wanting different colors to match their daily dress code, but you can’t go wrong with either color since black and white go pretty much with everything.

Jaybird Reign Black and White Bands

The lights that you see after tapping on the tracker four times will vary depending on your setting from the app, but there are two things that you can see. First, your activity status, that shows how much you’ve been active out of your set goal in a day. Secondly, the red light that stays lit indicates the hour, and position of the blinking red light indicates minutes in interval of nearest five. There’s a dimple on one end of the pod and in the middle to show you where 6th and 12th LED is. For example, if the bottom three dots are red and the 6th dot is blinking, that means it’s 3:30 pm/am. (3 solid dots are 3 hours and 6*5 is 30 min) It’s kind of hard to tell especially in the dark but it’s better than having none I suppose.

Here’s a closeup of the part that joins the band pieces together, and it also is magnetic. As I’m used to wearing watches all the time, putting it on my wrist was easy enough but some may find it difficult at first.

Jaybird Reign Fitting

When it comes to charging, it works very easily with a proprietary adapter that snaps into the tracker’s main piece. It’s nice that you don’t have to remove the main piece like you would have to with Fitbit’s Flex, and the extra adapter piece was probably necessary in the original design to make it waterproof. So you could or not remove the pod from the band, whichever works, so up to you.

Jaybird Reign 8

I found the battery life to last long enough to never worry about the tracker dying on me. Jaybird advertises Reign to last about 5 days, and you can see the tracker’s battery life through the app on your phone. There’s no percentage or a number so it can be hard to tell, but the tracker would blink in red every so often when the battery is low. Then I would hook it up to the charger while I’m eating dinner or something and it’d be good to go for another week.

Jaybird Reign 9

The LED dots in the tracker indicate the charge level, and a green light would stay on at the end when it’s fully charged.

Jaybird Reign 10

As mentioned before, it comes with several bands that you can swap your pod into. Main band that makes it easy to take it on and off will probably be your daily driver, and it’s easily most stylish. Two on the right are “sports bands” that are made of thinner silicone for more intense activities such as swimming so that it will stay on well without a chance of falling off. The Reign is not intrusive on your wrist/arm at all, but switching to the sports band can make it even more minimal. It’s just a bit annoying to stretch it and pass it through your fist.

Jaybird Reign 11

On the left is the cycling strap that you put on your ankle to track your activities on a bicycle. Unless you bike with your arms, the tracker wouldn’t know that you’re exercising since your arms will be still while biking. I’d say this is one of the inevitable but a troublesome downside about trackers like this. While we’re encouraged to keep it on 24/7, having to take it off, and move it to your ankle.

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Onto the software and how this tracker actually works! (This is a beta testing version of the iOS version and a public release will be out soon, with Android support coming in December/January) Opening the app shows a landing screen of two runners, and prompts you to sign up and share some data about yourself such as your age, height, weight, goals, etc. Then it asks you to pair the Reign with your compatible mobile device by putting a finger on top of the sensor while having it on the wrist. By doing so, it connects and will continue to work as long as your bluetooth stays on.

Jaybird Reign App 1

Do note that Go-Zone is unavailable for you to try at a later time of the day as it encourages you to check first thing in the morning. It works by the top & bottom of the pod measuring your heart rate variability for 2 minutes to show you whether you should be active or not today.

Here are the screenshots of the tutorial that covers all that this app is able to offer.

Jaybird Reign App 2

Jaybird Reign App 3

By loading up the app, it’ll go through “Searching for Band”, “Band Found”, “Synching”, “Processing Complete” quickly enough.

Jaybird Reign App 5

After walking around San Francisco for hours, I was able to reach and go beyond my goal and this is what I got, woohoo.

Jaybird Reign App 4

And pressing “Activity Timeline” on the bottom pulls up this detailed view, that expands further when you click on each activity, cool.

Jaybird Reign App 6

I often wake up trying to remember when I fell asleep, and many times I can’t, but Reign tells me quite accurately. This is great because other trackers would assume you are asleep as soon as you tell it that you’re in a sleeping mode, but this knows you better than that, very impressive.

Jaybird Reign App 7

How well does it hold up against water? Very well, and I really like that it’s fully waterproof and it stays on me through many hot showers and swimming pool full of chlorine, great. Most of other trackers in the market are water-resistant and not waterproof, but there’s no need to worry at all with the Reign.

Time to drown the Reign!

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I tapped on it four times to get the tracker under the water, and it lit up without a problem. One interesting find was that I kept triggering the lights to show up while showering. As I put shampoo and move my hands all over my hair, moving my hands rapidly kept lighting it up. While it doesn’t really bother me at all or maybe I just need to wash up more gently, but a long shower would probably hurt the battery life for me.

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If my opinions aren’t enough to show you that it’s fully waterproof, take a look at Jesse Thomas, a professional triathlete, swimming with the Reign. You can also see a glimpse of the red light on his wrist too.

Jaybird Reign Jesse Thomas

While I was at Jaybird’s press event for the announcement of Reign, Judd Armstrong, Jaybird’s CEO, even challenged the swimmer we just talked about to demonstrate that Reign works well even in fast paced swimming, check out the footage.

This is what it can look like after getting wet, and dries up over time but I sometimes preferred taking it off to let it dry quicker.

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I haven’t seen any residue or build up in my Reign’s holes, but the miniature tool to wash the band is available if ever needed. I can imagine taking this to the ocean and have salt build up.

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Here’s Reign in San Francisco, CA without any rain.

Jaybird Reign Outside 1
Jaybird Reign Outside 2
Jaybird Reign Outside 3

Reign also works fine up in the sky, thousands of feet above the sea level in an airplane.

Jaybird Reign Outside 4

Some shots of the athletes and the Jaybird crew in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jaybird Reign Press 1

Rene Oehlerking (Chief Marketing Officer) and Lauren Fleshman (Professional Runner)

Jaybird Reign Press 2

Ben Wisbey (Sport Scientist) showing how Lauren’s data is showing on the phone right away.

Jaybird Reign Press 3

Jesse Thomas went for a few laps on his bike and can you see where the Reign’s located?

Jaybird Reign Press 4

Right on his ankle with the provided cycling strap. It’s too bad that you have to take the tracker off your wrist to relocate it but not too bad.

Jaybird Reign Press 5

You can see the special edition neon green version which looks great on him, and it’s supposed to come out later.

Jaybird Reign Press 6

Judd and Jesse raced a swim lap, and it’s great to see the CEO himself stand up to their product and take a step further like this.

Jaybird Reign Press 8

While we already covered a lot, do check out Jaybird’s own set of videos including this introduction where they cover all the features of the Reign thoroughly.

Jaybird’s Reign is one of a kind, aimed for those who embrace active lifestyles. This will not vibrate and tell you to move, but will track your current activities very well. Sleep, shower, run, bike, swim all you want and check your status throughout the week to live a healthier lifestyle. I’m trying to have one at least!

Buy on Amazon ($52.94) and check out Jaybird’s Reign page.

Pros
– Automated activity/sports tracking, no need to press buttons
– Fully waterproof, not just water-resistant
– Comfortable enough to wear it 24/7
– Tells you how much sleep you need tonight
– Go-Zone (heart rate variability) knows your body better than you do
– Comes with variety of sizes and bands

Cons
– No motor for vibrations
– Can be difficult to read time from the LED lights
– Two minute wait for Go-Zone can seem long
– Unable to check past data (for now)