You clip a fitness tracker around your waist. You strap it around your wrist, either as a watch or a bracelet. What you probably haven’t done, at least before discovering the Oura Ring Generation 3, is slide it on your finger. This might be a more elegant way to wear a fitness tracker, but the real question is whether it’s effective. Is it worth owning this groundbreaking piece of tech?
The biggest advantage of the Oura Ring Generation 3 is definitely its look. It’s full of style – more like a piece of jewelry than a device – and a lot subtler than other types of monitors. Gold, silver and black versions each have their own striking tone, but the stealth version in particular is reassuringly unobtrusive.
Of course, look means nothing without functionality, and the Oura Ring Generation 3 is easy to use. Perfectly smooth, it has no buttons or external controls – just some incredibly responsive, accurate sensors that detect heart and respiratory rates as well as body temperature. The green LED is for heart rate and the red is for blood oxygen. Other sensors include photodiodes, infrared photoplethysmography (PPG) and an accelerometer to measure movement.
Part of what makes the Oura Ring Generation 3’s small size (it’s only 0.1 inches thick and weighs about 0.2 ounces) convenient is that you can even wear it comfortably in your sleep, making it functional at all hours of the day. It’s also resilient, made of titanium with a PVD coating, so no worries about washing your hands or using soaps and oils. Its water resistance lasts up to 300 feet. That means you pretty much never have to take it off, except for a once-a-week change. The battery lasts up to a week, and it only takes 20 minutes to charge.
There are some disadvantages to the smooth surface. With no visible screen, you are very reliant on the app, which requires a membership fee if you want to access all features. It is a good app, processing large amounts of information and making personalized recommendations, while syncing to other apps at the same time. Another potential problem is trying to fit a ring of the right size (eight options are available).
It may have a few inconveniences, but the Oura Ring Generation 3 really earns the “small but mighty” descriptor.