AT THE END OF THE DAY
The updated range of health-tracking capabilities in the third-generation Oura Ring offsets its new monthly membership price with continuous heart rate monitoring, improved temperature sensing, and period forecasts.
- There are more sensors in this model than in the previous one.
- This is an excellent companion app.
- Daily individualized coaching is provided by this helpful meditation aid.
- Apple Health and Google Fit are both compatible.
- Most features require a membership fee.
- Some functions aren’t available right away.
- Workout tracking is kept to a minimum.
SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE OURA RING GENERATION 3
- Compatibility N/A Display Type
- Android and iOS are two mobile operating systems.
- Yes, a heart rate monitor is available. Yes, a sleep tracker is available.
- 6 days of battery life
The third-generation Oura (beginning at $299) is like an over-the-top mood ring: It may appear to be a simple metal band, but it contains microscopic sensors that track your activity, physical and mental health, and sleep. It can also measure your body temperature and monitor your heart rate throughout the clock, as well as anticipate your next period. If you don’t mind a less discreet fitness tracker, the $179.95 Fitbit Charge 5 is our Editors’ Choice winner and a better buy if you’re serious about physical fitness. The Oura Ring Generation 3 is the best finger-based tracker we’ve tested because not everyone wants to wear a large wristband.
More Sensors, Same Design
The Oura ring, now in its third generation, is constructed of titanium and comes in four colors: black, gold, silver, or stealth (matte black). The stealth and gold variants are $399, while the silver and black models are $299.
Although Oura claims the ring has a scratch-resistant coating, my gold review unit shows significant wear, particularly on the palm side of the band—this is most likely due to the fact that I kept it on while doing strength training with the NordicTrack Vault. The ring is 328 feet water resistant, so you may wear it when swimming, showering, diving, or even doing the dishes.
The third-generation Oura Ring comes in only one design: a basic band that flattens out at the top to resemble a bolt. Oura previously provided a version of the second-generation ring with a point at the top, but decided against it this time.
The new model has a seamless interior molding that is non-allergenic and has three sensor bumps that push on your finger. The 0.3-inch band is 0.1-inch thick and 0.3-inch broad. On paper, those proportions appear small, yet the Oura feels hefty in my hand, making it awkward to seal my grip to hold a dumbbell or even my dog’s leash. However, compared to a traditional wristband-style fitness tracker, the ring is noticeably more comfortable to wear to bed. According to Oura, the ring is about the same thickness as a wedding band, but unlike a wedding band, it weighs between 0.1 and 0.2 grams, making it feel cheap.
The third-generation device is the same size and weight as the previous model, but it has 32 times the memory and three times the number of sensors. These enhancements, according to the business, allow the ring to record more (and more accurate) data. It now has seven temperature sensors (up from three in the previous model), allowing it to measure your body temperature 24 hours a day, seven days a week and powering the new period prediction feature.
The third-generation model has red and green LEDs in addition to infrared LEDs that measure your resting heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV, or the fluctuation in milliseconds between each heartbeat and a stress signal), and respiration rate. The red LED allows nightly blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) measurements, while the green LED monitors your heart rate around the clock.
The Oura delivers your health data to its companion app of the same name (available for Android and iOS). Oura currently charges a $5.99 monthly membership fee (in addition to the ring’s cost) for access to all of its app-based services, which include daily health indicators, personalized recommendations, and a library of roughly 50 guided meditations. The membership model for the Amazon Halo and Whoop straps is similar. According to Oura, this transition enables the company to bring out new features and improve the customer experience on a regular basis.
A six-month membership is included with the ring. New ring users will only be able to access their three daily Oura scores (Activity, Readiness, and Sleep) as well as the ring’s battery level, basic personal information, and app settings without a subscription. Owners of the second-generation ring, oddly enough, do not need to worry about membership; they can continue to use the same functions as before. Oura claimed it will continue to support the older ring “for up to 2 years post-Gen3 release” with “regular software and firmware updates.” However, due to hardware limitations, many of the new functions will be unavailable on the second-generation ring.
The new ring’s rechargeable battery, according to Oura, may last between four and seven days on a single charge. It lasted six days in testing until the battery was down to 12%. It comes with a black aluminum charger that takes about 80 minutes to fully recharge the ring. When the ring is charging, a light on the charger pulses, and when the battery is full, it turns solid.
Of all, the Oura’s plain look is one of its most appealing features. This is an amazing alternative and one of the only smart rings on the market right now if you’re looking for a wearable health tracker that doesn’t appear like one. The Motiv Ring and Ringly are two smart rings we’ve previously featured, but neither are accessible as of this writing. Amazon also pulled the plug on its ugly Echo Loop smart ring.
Choosing Your Size and Installing the Oura
The ring is available in sizes 6 to 13. It can be worn on any finger on either hand, however Oura suggests wearing it on your index finger for optimal results. Make sure the sensor bumps are on the bottom of your finger when wearing the ring for maximum accuracy.
Oura provides you a free sizing kit once you place an order. Make a fist to ensure there is no gap between the top of your finger and the inside of the ring when deciding your size. If you’re unsure, Oura suggests going with the smaller size. The company mails your actual ring when you confirm your size via a URL on the box. According to Oura, the size kit can take up to three weeks to arrive, and the delivery of your ring could take the same amount of time.
I acquired a size 8 when I tested the second-generation device, and I moved it about between my middle finger, pointer, and thumb for comfort. I went with a size 7 this time and wear it on my middle or ring finger.
If you’re new to the Oura app, you can link your account to Apple Health or Google Fit during the registration process. The ring will automatically sync your workout, sleep, and meditation data between the apps if you choose to do so.
After that, the app will ask you to enter your birthday, height, weight, gender (male, female, or other), and preferred units (metric or imperial). These fields are automatically filled in if you connect your account to Apple Health or Google Fit.
Finally, the app inquires about your lifestyle, aspirations, and sleeping patterns. In the My Profile section, you can skip these questions or edit your answers.
The Oura app is well-organized, having the following bottom-level tabs: Home, Activity, Readiness, Sleep, and Exploration are the five categories. The Home page displays a summary of your data, including your daily Activity, Readiness, and Sleep ratings; I covered these metrics in length in my assessment of the previous model, so I won’t go over them again here. A thorough description of the components that contribute to each score may be found in the Activity, Readiness, and Sleep sections.
For measures like body temperature, HRV, respiratory rate, and resting heart rate, the ring takes roughly two weeks to create a baseline. Every day, the app shows any potentially worrying numbers in red, allowing you to quickly understand where you’re falling short.
Throughout the program, Oura provides trend graphs and instructional information to help you understand the variables it tracks and analyze your results.
In addition, the app provides daily individualized recommendations based on your statistics to assist you in customizing your routines. “If you’re up for it, how about undertaking some fun activity today to replenish both your body and mind?” it stated when my overall Readiness was good. When it detected an increase in my resting heart rate the night before, it suggested I do something soothing because I might not be entirely recovered from the previous day’s activities. If you haven’t met your daily activity goal, it suggests steps to get you there, such as walking a mile.
You can access Oura’s library of meditation and breathing sessions under the Explore tab. Meditations can take up to 30 minutes and help you focus, relax, reset, and unwind in preparation for sleep. You can add a soundscape (at the train station, breathing bells, forest floor, harmonic field, pink static, rainfall, wave motion, or white static) to play in the background before starting the meditation.
Oura invites you to evaluate how you feel after the meditation (much better than usual, better than usual, same as usual, worse than usual, or much worse than usual). The program then displays a summary screen that displays your lowest heart rate, average HRV, and skin temperature during the session, as well as how these numbers relate to your baseline.
I like how Oura maintains track of these parameters while you meditate and displays them once you’re finished. Closing your eyes and focusing on your breath may seem futile, yet meditation can have a significant impact on your stress level. Data demonstrating the health advantages of meditation may persuade you to continue practicing. Similar functions are available on the Fitbit Charge 5 and the $179 Core handheld meditation training gadget to help measure the benefits of mindfulness and breathwork.
More Observations on Health
The second-generation Oura was great for tracking your sleep and recovery, but it lacked in the activity tracker department. That’s still true, but the third-generation ring has made strides in this area by providing 24/7 heart rate monitoring and a forthcoming Workout Heart Rate feature.
The new Heart Rate feature of the Home page displays your current heart rate as well as a graph of your heart rate over time. Additional data, such as your average everyday heart rate, sleeping heart rate range, and total restorative time (periods when your body and mind are recharging display in green on the heart rate graph), as well as trend graphs for these metrics, are available in this area.
The third-generation ring, like its predecessor, has a 3D accelerometer that, according to Oura, can automatically recognize and track more than 30 distinct activities. It monitored housework and outdoor walks automatically during testing, but not indoor cycling, strength training, or yoga sessions. When the Oura detects an exercise, the app prompts you to tag it and confirm the activity’s start, end, and intensity level (easy, moderate, or hard). It maintains track of your activity calorie burn, intensity level, and workout length while you go on walks. If you walk with your phone, it will record your mileage, average pace, and a map of your path.
After you’ve finished, you can manually add an exercise. To gain credit, simply hit the + sign symbol in the lower right corner of the Home tab, choose your activity, and enter the start time, length, and intensity.
The Oura Ring currently does not allow you to manually track a workout in real time, however this is expected to change in the near future. Users of the new ring will be able to record their heart rate during runs, walks, and bike rides with the upcoming Workout Heart Rate function. Following your workouts, the app will provide you with a summary of your metrics as well as insights to help you plan future workouts.
Meanwhile, the third-generation Oura promises more precise body temperature readings thanks to its upgraded sensor suite. It shows you if you’re running hotter or colder than usual and by how much (even if it’s a fraction of a percentage) after setting your baseline temperature. This information could be able to assist you figure out if you’re getting sick before you notice any symptoms.
Period forecasts are now available as an optional beta function on Oura. Instead of relying on the old-school calendar method, the ring uses its innovative sensors to take into consideration your body temperature variations while estimating your next period. When you first activate this function, the app will ask you a few common questions, such as when your last period began, how regular it is, and how long your cycle is on average (from the first day of your period to the day before your next one). It uses this information to tell you of the expected start date of your period.
You can log your period if it begins earlier or later than the ring predicted. As your cycle varies, Oura’s period predictions adapt. For the most precise estimates, the organization suggests confirming your start date.
In early 2022, Oura also expects to introduce nightly SpO2 sensing and a new sleep stage-tracking algorithm. The SpO2 feature isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s still valuable, especially in light of COVID-19; this number reveals how well your circulatory and respiratory systems distribute oxygenated blood to your body and can help you determine whether a hospital visit is required. This capability is available on several wrist-based fitness trackers, such the Fitbit Charge 5, which can test your SpO2 level on demand rather than only when you sleep. When it comes to sleep, Oura is claiming the precision of their upcoming sleep-staging technology. However, neither function was available at the time of testing, so I can’t say how well they perform just yet.
A Mood Ring for the 21st Century
The third-generation Oura Ring may be just what you’re searching for if you want to keep a closer watch on your health but don’t want to wear a fitness tracker on your wrist. It has more sensors than its predecessor and better health-monitoring functions, such as 24/7 heart rate tracking, more accurate temperature monitoring, and period forecasts, with future upgrades promising to add nightly SpO2 monitoring and improve sleep tracking. The Oura Ring is the only worthwhile ring-based fitness tracker available, despite its high price tag of $299 and above. We recommend the more exercise-friendly Fitbit Charge 5 if you want to save money and wear a bracelet tracker.