Oh wearables, how could we live without you? For most people, I imagine that's pretty good, but the latest generation of technology was designed from the ground up with the intention of filling a gap. The gap for these new wearable health trackers is the gap between my watch's ability to know my heart rate? and wait, what do I do with this information?
The Oura Ring Gen3 is one of these new age wearables. It tracks all sorts of things, reports everything to your phone, and as far as we know most of the data it gets is correct. But it's also a $299 ring (the cheapest option) and not an Apple product.
What is it and is it worth considering? I wore one for two months to find out. Here's what you need to know.
What Is the Oura Ring Gen3?
Oura Ring originally launched on Kickstarter in 2015, but the Gen 3 ring I wore for the review was announced in late 2021. The third generation of the Oura Ring added 24/7 heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen measurement, and period prediction (which I can't physically test, but when it works, that's a really cool feature). funny). Records sleep, sleep stages, sleep hours and naps. It also supports activity tracking for exercises where you can wear a ring (mainly cardio).
The device uses infrared LED lights that reflect off the skin of the finger along with proprietary algorithms to track the aforementioned internal body changes.
The company is extremely well funded and is said to have sold over a million rings to date.
What’s Good About the Oura Ring Gen3?
A+ sleep tracking
I've been more satisfied with Oura Ring's sleep tracking technology than any other tracking category it offers. One of the problems with sleep tracking is that the numbers are often difficult to interpret. OK, so I had 2.5 hours of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep last night, what about that?
Oura tracks wake time, REM sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, total sleep, resting heart rate, sleep efficiency, oxygen saturation, breathing regularity, HRV and God knows what else. Fortunately, I don't have to look at every data point (you can if you want, it's all in the app) because all of those numbers are combined into a sleep score that takes every data point into account and spits out a simple number from 0 to 100: less than 70 is bad, 70 to 84 is good, 85 is optimal.
This is where Oura Ring is at its best: collecting complex health data and making it simple. Yes, the little graphs showing when and for how long you drifted into REM sleep are nice at first, but it's the quick reference you keep coming back to. That's how you form a habit, and that's exactly what wearable health trackers should do.
There are a few more nuanced differences between the Oura Ring and other health trackers, but the biggest one is also the most obvious: it's a freaking ring.
I don't judge people who love their smartwatches, but I'm too attached to my humble Seiko 5 Sport to wear one. So the Oura Ring is perfect for me because it does most of what the Apple Watch and its competitor do, but it only takes up one spot on my finger. And the ring looks good. Well, it looks like a pretty nondescript ring that works. It can be smudged easily, but it's barely noticeable unless you put it on someone's face.
It's also good for people who don't like watches, that is, a good number of people.