Image source: e-senses

The best smart rings: health tracking from your finger

As technology shrinks in size and increases in power, making smart rings is becoming less and less of a challenge. They’ve not hit the mainstream just yet but it is only a matter of time. In this article we outline what’s out there in the market our pick of the best options that are out there.

Table of contents

Why get a smart ring?
How to choose the right smart ring
Drawbacks and limitations of smart rings
Our pick of the best connected rings

RingConn
RingConn – the best value for money smart ring
RingConn
Ultrahuman Ring Air – another solid choice
Oura-Ring-3
Ōura Ring 3 – a great but expensive option
Wellue ring
Wellue O2ring – keep an eye on your SpO2 with medical grade accuracy
ORII – make telephone calls with your finger
Go2Sleep
Sleepon Go2Sleep – get accurate sleep tracking data
Circular ring
Circular smart ring – a great option for general health tracking

Large wearable brands are also working on smart rings
The future of smart rings


Why get a smart ring?

Research suggests that we check our phone every six and a half minutes and much of this results from notifications that do not really interest us or can wait for us to attend to them later. With your cellular device tucked away in your pocket or bag, you can use a piece of jewelry to attend to only those notifications that deserve your attention. The rest can wait.

But potential use of smart rings goes further. Because your fingers have easy-to-sense arteries, some of these devices are also able to gather precise data on your body’s vital signals. They do this with sensors such as a 3d accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate blood oxygen sensor and more. Much like fitness trackers.

Then there are smart rings that can be used to open a door lock or a smartphone or even send SOS messages. Such an accessory can be an easier option to use for some than a smartwatch. It is all a matter of preference. Some people are a fan of the concept, others are very much against it and prefer something sitting on their wrist.


How to choose the right smart ring

The right smart ring for you can be determined by a number of factors, including your specific needs, lifestyle, and personal style. Before making a decision, it is worthwhile to conduct some research and carefully consider your options. Here’s are some things to keep in mind:

  • Determine your needs: The first step in selecting a smart ring is determining what you require it for. Do you want it to track your health and fitness, make contactless payments, control smart home devices, or provide security? The features you require will have a significant impact on your smart ring selection.
  • Check compatibility: Make sure the smart ring you’re thinking about buying is compatible with your smartphone or other devices. Some smart rings are only compatible with certain operating systems or versions.
  • Consider the design: A smart ring is a piece of jewellery as well as a functional device. When selecting a smart ring, keep your personal style and comfort in mind. Examine the available designs, materials, and colour schemes. Some brands also provide custom designs.
  • Examine the battery life: The battery life of smart rings varies greatly. Determine how frequently you will need to charge the ring. Some rings can last for several days on a single charge, while others must be charged on a daily basis.
  • Examine health and wellness features: If you want to track your health and wellness, see what sensors and features the smart ring has. Sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, activity tracking, temperature monitoring, and so on.
  • Examine security features: If you intend to use your smart ring to make payments or unlock devices, look into its security features. Biometric authentication, encryption, or a secure app could all be used.
  • Consider the price: Smart rings range in price depending on their features and brand. Determine your budget and compare the features and quality of various rings within it. Also, keep in mind that some options come with an on-going monthly subscription fee.
  • Examine the reviews and ratings: Examine user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the smart ring’s performance and dependability. Take note of comments about comfort, durability, tracking accuracy, and customer service.

Drawbacks or limitations of smart rings

Smart rings, though innovative and compact, come with their own specific set of limitations. The most obvious is that, because of their small size, they house limited battery capacity. Which means frequent charging. Typically you can expect the battery in your smart ring to last 3-4 days.

Another disadvantage is that, being worn on the finger, they’re more exposed to wear and tear from everyday activities. Rings from certain manufacturers are prone to cratching. So that’s something to be aware of.

Finally, there are no smart rings currently with a display. In fact you will struggle to find one with any sort of notification capability.


Our pick of the top connected rings

Indistinguishable from regular jewellery in looks, smart rings are becoming more popular. This is our pick of the best devices that you can purchase today. They combine fashion and technology into some seriously smart wearables.

RingConn – the best value for money smart ring

Tech specs:

  • Infrared, Red and Green, temperature sensors
  • Around 4 days battery life
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Durable titanium, PVD Coating
RingConn
Image source: RingConn

RingConn has emerged as a notable contender in the smart ring market, especially for those interested in monitoring their recovery metrics. Its unobtrusive design ensures it doesn’t interfere with your daily routine, and its straightforward setup appeals to a broad spectrum of users.

While the companion smartphone app is packed with data, it may seem a bit daunting for some. However, it deserves praise for the in-depth insights it provides, and its compatibility with Apple Health and Google Fit is a definite plus.

As noted in our hands-on review, where RingConn truly excels is in its recovery statistics. It shows a high degree of correlation in resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep tracking compared to established competitors like Whoop. Although the heart rate measurement during exercise could use some refinement, the company’s commitment to releasing updates and engaging with its user community bodes well for future improvements.

Bottom line: RingConn’s features, hardware, and performance make it a compelling alternative to its main rival, the Oura Ring. Moreover, it offers all this at a more affordable price point and without any monthly subscription fees.

RingConn*


Ultrahuman Ring Air

Tech specs:

  • Fighter jet grade Titanium reinforced with Tungsten Carbide Carbon coating outer shell.
  • Infrared, Red and Green, temperature sensors.
  • Around 6 days battery life
  • 5 ATM water resistance
RingConn review

The Ultrahuman Ring Air distinguishes itself in the crowded smart ring arena with an insightful app that does more than just display metrics; it educates users about their health. Notable for its decently accurate heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep tracking, the device also incorporates unique features like a circadian clock and stimulant restriction window.

As noted in our hands-on review, its comfortable, lightweight design and long-lasting battery make it easy to wear continuously. Frequent updates continue to add value.

That said, the device isn’t without its imperfections. Both the step count and some Beta features could benefit from fine-tuning to achieve better accuracy. Additionally, the app’s interface could be simplified for an improved user experience. Nonetheless, the Ultrahuman Ring Air presents a compelling package, especially given its lack of subscription fees and a $350 retail price, making it a viable, cost-effective option for those looking to delve deeper into their health and wellness.

Bottom line: The Ultrahuman Ring Air offers valuable health insights in a comfortable design. Despite minor flaws, its unique features and competitive pricing make it a solid choice for health tracking.

Amazon*


Ōura Ring 3: The best smart ring

Tech specs:

  • PPG, negative temperature coefficient sensor, 3D accelerometer for movement
  • Lightweight titanium with non-allergenic, non-metallic inner molding build
  • Free sizing kit
  • around 4 days battery life
  • Water resistant down to 328 feet
Smart rings: jewellery, meet technology
Image source: Oura

The award winning Ōura puts lots of emphasis on sleep. With no buttons to push, it automatically detects and analyzes the quality of your nightly rest and recovery by measuring your heart rate, pulse wave form, respiration rate, body temperature, movement and more.

Smart rings: jewellery, meet technology
Image source: Oura

In the iOS or Android mobile app you will get information on deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, and periods of wakefulness, as well as a  ‘Readiness Score’. This is displayed as a percentage, and tells you whether you need to adjust the intensity and duration of your day’s activities. It can also uncover actionable insights for changes to your daily activities that can help you sleep better.

While you are awake, Ōura automatically measures all your physical activity and time spent sitting. The ring counts your daily steps and total distance traveled. It also estimates the calories burned per day.

The second generation ring addressed one of the biggest customer complaints. At less than half the size of its predecessor, it is much slimmer whilst being just as durable as the previous generation.

The third generation was launched in October 2021. That one brings additional tracking features such as all-day heart rate, better temperature and sleep tracking, along with blood oxygen measurements. These updates make it a better 24/7 activity and health tracker.

The other bad news is that to access all these features you will need to pay $5.99 for a monthly subscription. This is in addition to the price of the hardware which typically runs at $299.

Bottom line: Until the big brands enter this market the Oura Ring is your best option if you are after a connected ring. It comes with a plethora of features and works well. However, here is an on-going monthly subscription.

Ōuraring.com*


Wellue O2Ring: keep an eye on your SpO2 with medical-grade accuracy

Tech specs:

  • Measure oxygen level (SpO2), pulse rate, movement
  • Measurement interval – 1 second
  • Warning vibration for low oxygen, high/low pulse rate
  • 15 grams weight
  • 12-16 hours of continuous use on a single charge
Guide to buying a pulse oximeter
Image source: Wellue

This one is slightly different from other options on this list. The Wellue O2Ring predominantly does one main thing and it does it with medical grade accuracy – it tracks your blood oxygen. In fact, it is FDA approved for this sort of thing. Other stats that you’ll get are heart rate and body movement.

The device has a built-in vibration motor that kicks into gear when it sees something out of whack. You’ll get an alert if your blood oxygen level or heart rate are outside of threshold you preset on the smartphone app.

There’s also the option of installing PC software in addition to the smartphone app. The software allows you to view and print a very detailed sleep report, which can also be exported as PDF or CSV files.

In our review, we found the device works really well. The ring is quite big in size so it is not something you would want to wear around the clock. But for measurements at home, in the office, or overnight it is quite useful.

It is worth noting the WellueO2 Ring is slightly more expensive than a typical fingertip pulse oximeter. But if you need overnight monitoring with alarms and long term tracking then it is probably the best option out there. For some, it might become their most important piece of jewelry.

Bottom line: The WellueO2 Ring is not your typical smart ring. Its main trick is that it monitors blood oxygen while you sleep. It will also alert you if it spots abnormalities.

Amazon | Wellue (use coupon GW10 for 10% discount)*


ORII: make telephone calls with your finger

Tech specs:

  • Aluminium cover
  • Bone conduction actuator, microphone
  • IPX7 water resistance
  • 10 interchangeable ring sizes
  • 1 hour continuous listening time, 45 hours standby time
Image source: ORII

The ORII Voice Powered Smart Ring turns your finger into a smartphone. No, its not a misprint, the ring actually enables you to make calls, send texts, create reminders and calendar appointments simply by tapping on your ear!

ORII receives audio when paired to your smartphone through Bluetooth. When a call comes in, the ring transmits the audio through your finger. When you press your fingertip to your ear, you can hear the voice thanks to bone conduction technology. The dual microphones enable your voice to be heard. With access to Siri and Google Assistant, the ring can also handle many daily tasks.

The device is lightweight and comfortable to wear, splash-proof, and features anodized aluminum. It’s not built for chatterboxes though, and is designed more for short calls and texts on the go. Around an hour of continuous listening time should be enough to get you through the day.

Bottom line: You will certainly turn heads when people see you using the ORII. Tap your finger to your ear and you’ll be able to conduct telephone calls courtesy of bone conduction technology.

orii.io*


Sleepon Go2Sleep – get accurate sleep tracking data

Tech specs:

  • Tracks heart rate, SpO2, sleep, Perfusion Index (pulse strength)
  • Three different band sizes
  • Made from food grade silicone
  • Up to 3 day battery life
  • Desktop, smartphone app

This is another device that works predominantly while you sleep. The wearable slips on your finger where it taps into capillaries to provide more accurate data that you would get from your typical wrist worn wearable.

The best smart rings 2021: health tracking from your finger
Image source: Go2Sleep

In the morning you get info such as your heart rate, blood oxygen and details sleep statistics. Rather usefully, the device will also alert you via a vibration if it spots a drop in blood oxygen levels. Potential causes of this can be snoring or posture changes.

The app accompanying the smart ring will also spit out insights. These help to explain reasons for poor sleep and offer a suggestions on how to improve.

Bottom line: The new kid on the block, Got2Sleep is one of the best options for detailed sleep tracking statistics. It also presents itself as a lower-cost alternative to the Oura ring.

Amazon*


Circular smart ring – a great option for general health tracking

Tech specs:

  • 3-axis accelerometer, infrared HR sensor
  • Hypoallergenic material
  • Interchangeable outer shells 
  • Up to 4 day battery life
  • Sizing kit available

Circular smart ring is the result of a crowdfunded project. It has just recently started shipping to backers.

The device packs a 3-axis accelerometer and infrared heart rate sensor that allow it to track a bunch of health metrics. At night this includes circadian rhythm, sleep, heart rate & heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels and temperature. When you are not asleep this also includes activity volumes with automatic recognition, steps, energy levels and more.

Circular Smart Ring

The ring has an interchangeable shell so you can customise it to your liking. There are a few options to swap between including a Silver, Black Fit and Rose Gold. The body is made of nickel-free clinical plastic and the whole thing weighs a mere 4 grams.

Bottom line: This is the new smart ring option. It’s a wearable primarily designed to help you better understand your body and helps you make healthier lifestyle tweaks.

Circular*


Big wearable brands are also working on a smart rings

We are yet to see a major wearable brand enter the smart ring market. But when they do this will shake things up and top the list of the best options. It’s no secret that some wearable brands have been looking at the possibility. A Fitbit, Apple, Garmin or Samsung smart ring would blow away the competition.

The first of these actually has a US patent to their name titled “Ring for optically measuring biometric data”. So Fitbit is definitely, at least, considering the idea.

According to the paperwork, the device would emit light at a red wavelength of 660 nm and an infrared wavelength of 940 nm. It would then calculate the difference in absorption of the emitted light at the red wavelength and the emitted light at the infrared wavelength.

The best smart rings 2021: health tracking from your finger

This can be used to determine your blood oxygen levels as well as Sleep Apnea. Others potential uses include blood pressure, glucose level, lipid concentration, hematocrit level, or carboxyhemoglobin level.

Apple is also researching this area and it, too, has at least one patent to its name. An interesting one includes a rough sketch of what an “iRing” is supposed to look like “based in reality.”

The Apple text accompanying the filing describes the ring as follows:

A user controls an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source; the ring is worn on a first finger receives an input from a second finger, selects one of a plurality of touch events associated with the input, and wirelessly transmits a command associated with the touch event to the external electronic device.

The original submission “Devices, methods, and user interfaces for a wearable electronic ring computing device” can be viewed on the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Apple’s next big product? iRing patent filed.


The narrative describes a device comprising of a microphone for voice commands, a finger-ring mounted touchscreen, a speaker and a sensor for writing or character recognition. The thing would also provide haptic feedback. The rechargeable ring is intended to work in tandem with a host of other devices, whether a smartphone, apple TV or light dimmer.

Apple’s next big product? iRing patent filed.

In addition to its other functions, the iRing could also be used as an alternative to a computer mouse. It is possible that the device could carry biometric sensors such as a heart rate monitor or accelerometer as seen within the Apple Watch and other fitness wearables.


The patent goes further on to say:

A wearable ring device comprising: an annular member defining an aperture therethrough that is sized for receipt therein of a first finger of a user; a computer processor housed in the annular member; a touchscreen electrically connected to the computer processor and disposed at least partially at an outer peripheral surface of the annular member, wherein the touchscreen is configured to receive input from a second finger of the user; a wireless transceiver electrically connected to the computer processor and configured to communicate with at least one external electronic device; and a rechargeable power source for supplying power to the touchscreen, wireless transceiver, and computer processor.



The future of smart rings

Smart ring development and implementation are still in their early stages, but the potential for future innovation in this space is enormous. We can expect rapid advancements in this field in the coming years as technology continues to shrink and become more efficient, and as consumers increasingly demand portable, discreet, and stylish wearable tech.

Here are some potential smart ring future trends and directions:

  • More advanced health monitoring: Today’s smart rings already include a variety of health and wellness tracking features. However, future models are likely to include even more advanced sensors for tracking a broader range of biometric data. Smart rings, for example, could monitor glucose levels, hydration, stress levels, and other vital signs.
  • Increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI could play an important role in the future of smart rings. The ring’s health data could be analysed by AI algorithms to provide personalised health insights and recommendations, detect irregularities and potential health issues, and even predict future health risks.
  • Enhanced integration with other devices: As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, smart rings will become more integrated with other devices and systems. This could include unlocking your car or home, making payments, controlling home appliances, or interacting with your smartphone or computer in novel ways.
  • Better aesthetics and customisation: As smart rings become more popular, companies are likely to place a greater emphasis on design and aesthetics in order to appeal to a wider range of consumers. Offering more styles, materials, and customization options could help smart rings become more than just functional devices, but also fashion statements.
  • Greater security: Future smart rings may include advanced biometric security features like fingerprint recognition or vein pattern recognition. As a result, they could be a safe and convenient alternative to passwords and keys.
  • Improved battery life and charging solutions: Battery life is a common issue for all wearable devices, including smart rings. To extend their usability, future smart rings may include improved battery technologies and innovative charging solutions, such as solar charging or kinetic energy harvesting.
  • Environmental monitoring: Future smart rings could monitor environmental conditions such as air quality or UV radiation levels in addition to personal health data. This could assist users in making better decisions about their environment and behaviours.

While these forecasts provide an exciting glimpse into the future of smart rings, the precise path of their development will be determined by a variety of factors such as technological advancements, market demand, regulatory considerations, and user acceptance. As a result, the future of smart rings looks to be as dynamic and diverse as the technology itself.


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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

2 thoughts on “The best smart rings: health tracking from your finger

  • The Prevention circul+ Ring is head and shoulders more highly reliable as a smart ring.that reads MEDICAL grade data that’s accurate on any skin tone. Oura can’t claim that.

    Reply
  • I am really interested in actual blood pressure monitoring bundled to health and sleep monitoring. Any updates?

    Reply

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