Oura Ring: Capture Body Signals Like Heart Rate and Temperature
About one in five American adults use a wearable fitness or wellness tracker, and most of these are worn on the wrist like a watch. But the Oura Ring is an innovative new addition to the rapidly expanding tracker market – a stylish ring with an array of sensors placed inside the band for recording a variety of health related metrics such as heart rate, temperature and sleep patterns. The Oura Ring features some of the most comprehensive wellness and health tracking tools available in today’s crowded tracker market, along with actionable insights and tips from the downloadable Oura app.
What Are Fitness Trackers?
Worn in contact with the body, fitness trackers use a variety of sensors to measure various types of body metrics, such as temperature, heart rate and oxygen. Many types of trackers also use gyroscopes and other kinds of motion sensors to measure movement during activity and at rest, which can provide insights into the amount of exercise a person gets, or the amount and quality of sleep. Most trackers work with an associated app that collects tracker data and consolidates it into actionable reports on things like sleep quality, heart rate patterns, and daily activity.
Trackers can be used to support fitness programs, weight loss plans, or just to provide useful insights into how the body works. They can also help wearers monitor ongoing health conditions and work with doctors on treatment plans.
What Is the Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring claims to create a holistic picture of a wearer’s overall health. Its tracking and reporting offers a detailed picture of several key health metrics, along with revealing trends in those metrics over time. The Ring collects data continuously as it’s worn, and the insights it provides help wearers both to work toward a healthier lifestyle, and also to spot small changes that signal health problems.
The National Basketball Association offered an Oura Ring to all players for the 2020 season, hoping that its health tracking features could help to detect infection with the novel coronavirus well before symptoms appear. And in fact, a number of Oura users say that the ring’s sophisticated tracking features were able to spot changes in temperature, heart rate and other metrics that indicated COVID-19. Others were able to use the ring to track their symptoms throughout the course of the infection. Still others have used the ring to monitor a variety of ongoing health conditions and share the data with doctors for better treatment planning.
Although medical experts warn that fitness and wellness trackers can’t actually diagnose any specific disease, the Oura Ring’s tracking functions do detect even subtle changes in key health metrics like temperature and heart rate variability. And because it’s worn on the finger, rather than on the wrist or as a pendant, it’s more likely to be worn consistently, so that it can collect data on an ongoing basis and provide a more complete picture of the metrics it tracks.
Available in three styles – Heritage, Balance and Diamond – the Oura Ring is a stylish titanium band that comes in multiple sizes to fit just about everyone. On the surface, the Oura is simply a sleek and simple fashion accessory. But the inside of the band contains an array of advanced sensors including infrared LEDs, NTC temperature sensors, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Placed against the finger, these sensors capture detailed data about a user’s heart rate, heart rate variability, temperature, movement, and sleep.
The Oura Ring delivers ongoing real-time reports on the wearer’s performance metrics by mapping health data over time and extracting insights that are scored in three areas: sleep, readiness, and activity. All the data recorded by the Oura Ring is uploaded to the Oura app, which displays isolated metrics like heart rate and REM sleep time, as well as the daily score for each area and trends over time in graph form. There’s also a summary of the day’s results, along with a motivational message to “keep it up!” or try to improve.
The Oura app also includes the “Moment” feature, which reminds users to take a break for meditation or relaxation. The Oura blog on the product website features general health and wellness articles as well as tips and advice on using the ring. For even more input about fitness and activity, the Oura Ring can also sync with other health and activity apps through Apple Health. Data collected from the Oura Ring can also be shared with healthcare professionals.
How to Buy the Oura Ring
The Oura Ring is available from the product website, and from a few stores in Finland, where the Oura company is based. Prices range from $299 USD for the Balance to $399 for Heritage and $999 for Diamond. To ensure the proper fit, Oura provides a free sizing kit with 8 plastic sizers. Oura recommends that potential purchasers select the appropriate sizer and wear it for 24 hours before making a purchase. The Oura Ring then ships within one business day.
Unlike other fitness trackers, the Oura Ring has no additional accessories, although the site does sell replacement chargers.
Oura Ring Alternatives
Other wearables offering sleep and wellness tracking capabilities similar to the Oura Ring include the wristwatch-like Fitbit and Leaf Urban, which can also be worn as a necklace or clip. But the Oura Ring belongs to a class of devices called “smart rings,” which are designed primarily for productivity related functions, such as unlocking doors and protecting passwords. In that category, the Oura Ring, with its focus on wellness, has few direct competitors or alternatives.
The Oura’s closest competitors in the arena of fitness tracking rings are the Motiv Ring, the Go2Sleep Ring, and the Circul Ring.
Motiv: Fitness Plus Security
Like the Oura Ring, the Motiv Ring is a fitness and sleep tracker that monitors basic biometrics such as heart rate, movement and sleep. But the Motiv also offers password security features to protect the wearer’s online accounts, with two-factor authorization using a pre-set hand gesture. The Motiv also supports WebAuthn, an app that creates passwordless log-ins for online accounts.
The Motive Ring is available online from the Motiv company. It retails for $199 USD and comes in silver, black or rose gold titanium.
Go2Sleep: Just One Purpose
As its name indicates, the Go2Sleep smart ring is designed specifically for tracking sleep. This no-frills device is made of silicon and comes in most adult ring sizes. Its comprehensive sleep tracking functions include the usual metrics of sleep time, sleep stages and heart rate. But it also monitors blood oxygen and the amount of tossing and turning a wearer does during the night.
The Go2Sleep app can be downloaded free from Google Play and the Android App store. It includes a home sleep test that collects and analyzes data collected from the ring and produces a monthly sleep report with recommendations on improving sleep habits. Available from numerous online outlets including Amazon, the Go2Sleep retails for around $130USD.
Circul: Medical Grade Tracking
The Circul Sleep and Fitness Ring tracks a variety of metrics including sleep, heart rate, calories burned and blood oxygenation. But this ring focuses more on the medical side of wellness tracking, with sensors cleared for home oximetry and a tracking app that records data to share with doctors, coaches or trainers. The Circul comes in three sizes, but it’s adjustable within each size category. Waterproof and Bluetooth enabled, the Circul works with a tracking app that’s available for both iPhone and Android. At $299USD for basic black, it’s priced on a par with the Oura Ring.
What Customers are Saying
The Oura blog showcases stories from Oura Ring users in a variety of circumstances. Some wearers praise the level of detail in the metrics delivered by the ring, so that they were able to use it to optimize a fitness routine, monitor their recovery from COVID-19, or spot the signs of heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Others like the convenience of the ring style, which makes it easy to wear regularly. One wearer comments that the Oura Ring allows her to ”see the invisible” in herself and better understand the unique rhythms of her body.
Should You Buy an Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring is one of the most comprehensive fitness and wellness tracking devices available, and its detailed reporting can be used to meet a variety of health and fitness goals, particularly for those concerned with the impact of sleep on health and productivity. It’s unobtrusive and comfortable when sized correctly, and that encourages regular wearing that provides the most data. The Oura app organizes and reports that data in clear, easy to read graphs, charts and scores.
With prices starting at $299 and limited availability outside the manufacturer’s website, it’s a luxury purchase that may not be accessible to everyone. But because this stylish ring offers detailed insights into each wearer’s unique biometrics, it can be an ideal partner in the quest for better health and peace of mind.