(Pocket-lint) – It tracks your steps, sleep and recovery like a fitness tracker, but the Oura Ring Generation 3 is very different from a standard activity tracker.
This is not recording everything from your wrist, but on your fingers. With its third-generation smart ring, Oura is making a big push, debuting continuous heart rate tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and period prediction.
Unlike previous iterations, however, the smart ring maker is now also moving to a subscription model. So if you want the most complete experience, you’re going to have to cough.
So it’s a pricey wearable, but it could be the answer for those who want to track their fitness in a more discreet way.
We’ve been testing it out to see how it compares to wrist-based devices.
Oura Ring Generation 3 is a cute looking smart ring that blends in with the background, allowing you to check the app at your leisure to see how your data is formed.
Readiness, sleep, and activity metrics are all simple enough to give you a quick idea of whether your trends are heading in the right direction.
Crucially, the data also feels solid, especially when it comes to sleep tracking and resting heart rate measurements. That means it’s proven useful when we’re unwell or having trouble falling asleep.
Oura still owes some of the features it promised at launch, which is definitely disappointing, but the features that already exist are pretty good.
So, who is the Oura Ring 3 for?Well, because you get the same rich tracking experience Fitbit charging 5 or Garmin Forerunner 55 For less money, this is really for those who crave something different from the usual fitness trackers.
Well, it’s not cheap, but it’s still a unique option that excels in just about everything it tries. Therefore, it is undoubtedly the best smart ring on the market right now.
- elegant design
- Intuitive companion app
- Most reliable data
- Delay function
- Appearance prone to scratches
- Battery life is not outstanding
Design and Fit
- Made of Titanium
- Requires size kit
- Water resistant up to 100 meters
One of Oura’s greatest strengths is design. It’s a smart ring that looks and feels like you’re wearing a regular ring. The all-titanium design means it’s beautiful and lightweight, ideal for day and night wear, and you can largely forget about it.
The ring has a flatter edge to help indicate the correct way to wear and track it, but it doesn’t spoil an otherwise very attractive ring.
The onboard smarts and sensors are cleverly tucked into the ring’s non-allergenic, non-metallic inner molding, and we’ve found that they don’t rub against our fingers or cause discomfort. To make sure you get the perfect fit, you’ll want to use a free size kit. This allows you to choose between a bunch of different sizes, and ideally you’ll want to wear it all day to make sure it fits.
The Ring 3 is available in silver, black, stealth and gold finishes, so there’s a lot of variety here, and it helps ensure the ring has a strong unisex appeal.
To keep the ring monitoring data consistent and accurate, some odd maintenance is required. Oura recommends periodically wiping down the sensor and removing the ring for activities such as weightlifting. As you can tell from some of the pictures in this review, we didn’t quite heed the advice, and as a result, the ring has been scratched.
Thankfully, you also don’t have to take it off when you shower or swim, as it’s water-resistant, meaning it’s safe to submerge in up to 100 meters of water.
Software and Performance
- Available for Android and iOS
- Reliable sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring
- Useful body temperature tracking
- Exercise heart rate and oxygen saturation monitoring is currently unavailable
At the heart of how Oura works is a PPG-style sensor that tracks heart rate, respiration, and ultimately SpO2 data at start-up. There’s an accelerometer motion sensor to record movement and enable sleep monitoring, and a negative temperature coefficient sensor to provide body temperature data.
Obviously, the ring doesn’t have a built-in screen, so it can view your daytime stats and activity track progress through the Oura companion app. For full access to the app and all the insights it offers, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $5.99/£5.99/€5.99, which includes six months of free access when you first set up your ring. Without the subscription, you’ll only see key readiness, sleep and activity scores, battery status, and access profile information and app settings.
The app itself is very well designed, and from an ease-of-use standpoint, it reminds us a lot of the Fitbit companion app. You can see that your readiness score is the highest, driven by all the data these sensors can provide, including resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature and respiratory rate.
The next bulk is dedicated to sleep tracking, with nighttime phases, heart rate, efficiency, and rest all used to inform an overall readiness score.
The score is also driven by activity tracking, such as step count. It can also automatically recognize some motion, and in our experience, it does a good job of detecting walks and runs. You can even connect Oura to Apple Health and Google Fit to help derive trends from your recorded workout time.
The readiness score is only useful if all the elements that Oura tracks, from heart rate to sleep, are accurate and reliable. Based on our tests, these sensors have managed to deliver amazing accuracy. Resting heart rate data matched the reliable continuous monitoring of the wrist from Garmin and Fitbit, which we believe leads the pack in terms of reliability.
We traveled a lot during testing, contracted an illness, but still worked out hard, which was evident in the readiness scores Oura found. Body temperature rises when feeling unwell, sleep disruption results in low readiness scores, and it is recommended to stop tracking in recovery mode.
There are some gaps in the Oura’s tracking, such as the ability to track heart rate during exercise, which will have a huge impact on readiness scores. Ouro has previously said that it will land in 2022, but it hasn’t come as we write this. Similar story with SpO2 tracking delay. We don’t know what the latency is, but we’ll probably take a gamble to make sure it delivers data accurately or drains battery (as we’ve seen with other wearables).
Like Garmin’s Body Battery Energy Monitor or Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score, Oura’s Readiness Score can provide useful guidance for the decisions you make about your lifestyle and your day. Overall, the data feels good, and therefore the insights.
In addition to tracking, there’s a space in the app to access an audio library dedicated to medication, sleep, breathing and to learn more about why Oura tracks what it’s tracking. There’s nothing majorly groundbreaking here, but if you like the idea of using the app to help reduce stress or fall asleep, it can help in that regard.
- 4-7 days battery life
- Fully charged in 20-80 minutes
Oura doesn’t specify the battery size within the slim form factor of its third-generation ring, but it does suggest you should get between four days and a week or so of battery life. This is about the same as it delivered on the last ring.
Based on our testing, we’d say that while the Ring of Oura never fully reached 7 days, it also never died after 4 days. This is a device that feels good about 5-6 days before needing a charge, which means you’ll see about 15-20% battery drain per day.
You’ll know it needs charging when you sync it to the app, and there’s an indicator in the top-right corner of the app. The charging stand is also great, letting you put the ring on top without having to magnetically lock in place.
It takes 20-80 minutes to charge, and we really like that it sends a notification to your phone when it’s fully charged.
Oura Ring 3 is the best smart ring you can put on your finger right now. It looks great, the data feels solid and useful, and it’s ideal if you want to track in a discreet way. It does come at a steep price, though—especially if you’re subscribing to the top, and you need to get the most out of it. Also, some of the features promised at launch have yet to arrive.
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Writing by Michael Saw. Edited by Conor Allison.