I’ve worn an Oura Ring for 3 years. Can the Galaxy Ring beat it?

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Recently, the Oura Ring app delivered my three-year anniversary report, detailing what it has learned about me and how I’ve performed over the 36 months I’ve been wearing it.

The data across the six pages reminded me that it’s just about the only piece of technology I’ve committed to for such a length of time, outside of a laptop or my iPad Pro. And I didn’t need to think hard about the reason why: It’s because I find it valuable. As we inch closer to the Galaxy Ring’s release, I’m not sure if Samsung has what it takes to compete.

Why I continue to love the Oura Ring

A person typing wearing the Oura Ring.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Oura Ring has become so valuable to me because the app has nailed how to deliver your most important stats simply and clearly. It doesn’t need much time to learn them, either, because, at its heart, there are only three numbers to pay attention to: Sleep, Readiness, and Activity. There’s more data when you look closely, but if you just want to know how your body is performing and how prepared you are for the day, you can get it at a glance.

I find the combination of resting heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), and body temperature gives me great insight, and the data helps confirm how I’m feeling. The Activity tab uses graphs to show how hard you’ve worked and exercised during a day and a quick comparison to previous days. I find it equally as easy to understand as Apple’s Ring system on the Apple Watch, and I rarely need to pay attention to many other stats.

Screenshots taken from the Oura Ring app.
Oura

It all means I don’t have to spend hours deciphering data, examining complex graphs, or reading panels of text that give me some pseudo-informative nonsense about the numbers displayed. It’s all there, expertly presented, and it takes me just a few moments to understand. The Oura Ring is very easy to live with, comfortable 24 hours a day, and because it’s on my finger, I can wear whatever watch I want and still track activity and movement. I don’t take the Oura Ring off because it doesn’t give me a reason to take it off.

Oura’s hardware remains very strong

The Oura Ring resting on a rock.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

For at least the last year, I’ve been wearing the polished silver Oura Ring, and while I’ve tested a few silicone covers for it — the OSleeve and Oura’s own version in its Equinox-backed bundle — I’ve almost only worn it without any protection for the finish. So, how has it held up? Examine it closely, and the surface has minute scratches and scuffs, but not so much that it ruins it, as the marks can’t be seen from a distance. Crucially, the edges of the ring have not picked up many marks.

I also still like the subtlety of the silver Oura Ring. The black and Stealth finishes make a far greater statement, and although I have not worn the gold versions, they are also much more noticeable on your finger. While the Oura Ring is not that much bigger than a non-smart ring, it’s still wider and thicker, and more people will notice it. If you don’t want to make a statement with it, then the silver finish should be considered.

The battery still lasts for around four to five days before it needs charging, which is close to the original performance when the ring was new. Considering the capacity of the cell — somewhere around 15mAh — and its continuous data monitoring, this is excellent performance, and I have not noticed any meaningful degradation over time. The best way to manage the battery is to charge it when you shower in the morning so it never runs out and doesn’t require a full charge. It’s very easy to live with when you get into this habit.

What’s not good about the Oura Ring in 2024

The Oura Ring on its charger.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I like a lot of things about the Oura Ring, but is there anything that’s not so good? Oura recently introduced its Heart Health metric, which estimates your cardiovascular age (CVA). The company says this is a good indicator of your heart health and your cardio capacity as it uses a VO2 Max figure. Oura goes into some of the science behind these figures, and they are presented in the app using a simple graph and a VO2 Max reading. The thing is, much as I would like to believe the numbers, I’m not sure I do.

The Oura Ring is not a medical device, and no features are certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it is using data and research to estimate these readings. I have no reason to believe I am unfit or at risk of heart disease, but my cardiovascular age is seven years below my actual age, and my VO2 Max is stated as being High. I am far from an athlete or any incredibly active, healthy person, and this estimation looks very optimistic to me. A check of the Oura Ring subreddit sees others question the accuracy of the Heart Health feature. It’s a feature I don’t pay much attention to, as I haven’t verified the data outside of the Oura app.

It’s just one of the new features added to the app over the past year. Oura continues to charge a subscription fee for complete access to its app, and Heart Health joins several other features, including Resilience, Body Clock data, and more information on data trends. Not every feature will be a winner or helpful to everyone, and they should be introduced with care. One of the Oura Ring app’s strengths is its simplicity and quick access to key data, and extra features and graphs can increase visual complexity. The app hasn’t reached this point yet, but it has become much busier over the past year. Careful integration with the design is crucial at this point, or there’s a risk the app will become confusing and the Oura Ring will lose a large part of its appeal.

Is the Oura Ring’s supremacy in danger?

The Oura Ring on a yellow and white background.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

While I write this, the Oura Ring is still the smart ring I recommend purchasing, but I don’t know how much longer this will be the case. The Samsung Galaxy Ring is coming soon, and you can’t underestimate Samsung here. It already produces excellent smartwatches with strong health- and fitness-tracking features, and if it can translate a lot of this over to its smart ring, the Oura Ring may well be in serious trouble — particularly if Samsung doesn’t introduce a subscription fee for its app.

However, I’ve yet to use a smart ring that comes close to the Oura Ring’s beautiful hardware and in-depth data, plus such a well-presented app. Others have found that RingConn’s simplicity works better for them, but I prefer how the Oura Ring can almost replace a smartwatch for me, and that gives me flexibility with what type of watch I wear on my wrist.

But the Galaxy Ring looms large over the Oura Ring at the moment, and unless Samsung restricts it to Android-only (as it does the Galaxy Watch range), then the original smart ring is about to face its hardest challenge yet. For now, though, it’s staying on my finger, just as it has for the last three years.






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