If you're interested in tracking your health and wellbeing with a digital device, you're probably well aware of the smorgasbord of options available to you. Smartwatches and fitness trackers have surged in popularity over the last ten years or so, and are now pretty standard fare.
But it's certainly not the only way. In recent years, a trend has being growing for smart rings. We've even heard substantial rumours in recent days about a Samsung Galaxy Ring, which could hit the market early in 2024.
But what, I hear you cry, is a smart ring? Well, let's take a closer look.
What is a Smart Ring?
A smart ring takes the same health and wellness tracking found in smartwatches and shrinks it down to fit inside a ring worn on the finger. Popular models include much of the same tracking you'd expect – sleep, heart rate, stress, workouts and more.
As you might have guessed, though, there's no screen to interact with. Instead, the rings come with an app, which is used as the interface for all of the data collected by the ring. It's a similar concept to the Whoop bracelet – all the tracking capabilities without the screen.
Generally speaking, they're also better for battery life than a smartwatch. While Apple Watch models and other similar devices tend to last around a single day, smart rings are closer to a full week.
Is a Smart Ring better than a Smartwatch?
There's no concrete way of answering the question above. Instead, which is better will come down to which one better suits your needs.
Smartwatches are generally more fully featured, offering users a greater suite of tracking options and other functionality. That's great if you want a really comprehensive insight, as well as the ability to dig into that insight, right from your wrist.
Smart rings, on the other hand are much more discreet. That's perfect for a number of scenarios – maybe you just fancy a more minimal look, or maybe, like me, you already wear a watch. In those settings, a smart ring is a great option.
While they don't tend to sacrifice too much in terms of the tracking, they do lack some features like music streaming controls. If that is really important to you, a smartwatch may be the better way to go.
Which is the best Smart Ring right now?
The market for smart rings is still relatively small right now. While rumours persist, none of the really big household name brands have gotten in on the act just yet. That doesn't mean there aren't some great options for you to try.
Arguably the most well known model on the market is the Oura Ring. The Finnish brand were among the first to enter the space, and have earned a good degree of acclaim ever since. You can choose from two styles, with an uninterrupted spherical design or the Heritage, which features a flat platform on top.
We also got hands on with the Ultrahuman Ring Air, recently. That performed commendably, offering a subscription-free option for tracking health data from your finger. That will appeal to a lot of people – once you've paid for the ring upfront, there is no other cost to bear to retain the functionality.