Living with Oura Ring – the smart way to track wellness and activity

  • Gadgets
Image by Danielle MacInnes @dsmacinnes / Unsplash.com

Late last year I decided to place an order for a Oura Ring, the smart wellness and activity tracking ring from the Finnish startup. It took a few months to arrive, as they seem to be in high demand. While I’m writing this Oura’s site has a banner saying that orders placed today will be delivered by May. Impressive!

I had two intentions for my order. First and foremost I wanted to support the Finnish startup for producing such a nice gadget. A gadget, that doesn’t look like one. Second, I had heard good things about the ring, so I wanted to try it out myself.

Oura Ring tracks sleep, activity and readiness. Sleep is obvious, and I’ve used my Garmin Fenix 3 smartwatch to track this until now. Activity is the fitness and steps portion, and Readiness is a score composed from several data points such as body temperature, last night’s sleep and resting heart rate.

A ring is a personal accessory item, so I had some initial fears while placing my order. It’s priced between 314 € to 1049 € (~356 to 1190 USD) so a gadget this expensive must meet certain expectations. I’ve long had an opinion that any gadget priced below 100 € is generally not a quality buy and I try to avoid those. Anything more costly then must justify the high price.

I bought the Stealth model, priced at 419 € (including VAT). For an extra 5 € I also ordered the sizing kit as I wasn’t sure what size I should order. The kit has all available sizes in 3D printed plastic versions, and it’s a great approach to try out if you even like the ring. I had different sizes on for a few days and finally chose size 12 for my right ring finger.

I realize 419 € is a lot for a gadget like this. It’s not something I need but it’s something I want. I console myself with the fact that foldable phones seem to be priced at over 2000 €, so relatively it’s affordable.

I’m not used to wearing rings or other jewelry, so the plastic sizing version felt funny and a little bit uncomfortable.

My ring arrived early February, a little over two months after placing my order and confirming the size. My fear was unwarranted, and the real ring feels smooth and nice. It could feel a bit more premium as there’s a slightly plasticky feel to it. It’s quite weightless and compared to quality rings it’s obvious the cost is justified with the internals.

For charging it has a very small and nice base station that connects with USB-C. I rather like this, as it’s weighted properly and doesn’t shifts around on the desk. A small white led light glows when the ring is charging. Once it’s full, there’s even a notification on your phone to remind you to pick it up.

Battery life seems more than decent. I’m averaging about 3 days between charges, and this is mostly with around the clock use. I wear it mostly everywhere I go and in everything I do. Sadly, some of my hobbies include activities that I have to do without any jewelry and rings – rock climbing, bouldering and weight-lifting.

There’s a mobile app that allows viewing all data, and adding activities manually, so that’s nice. It’s surprisingly polished, like Garmin’s own Connect app.

Off the charts, I tell you!

The data I seem to be getting most value out of is my readiness score and sleep statistics.

There’s a lot of data through Oura’s OuraCloud-service. But I now know my temperature deviation last night was -0.1 °C and it’s within normal deviation.

It’s apparent the higher cost of the ring also goes into making the backend so smooth. The mobile app, that pulls data through Oura’s API and the OuraCloud service are very nice to use. If I had to choose to purchase the ring for 200 € less but lose all this extra data, I’d probably not use the ring after a few days.

It remains to be seen how resistant to scratches and wear and tear the ring is. After a week of use I already had two scratches on the ring. Then again, my phone and laptop also receive scratches from time to time, even with careful maintenance and use.

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