Smart rings are a thing. While some new wearable categories spring up, make big noise and then fade into the background, the future of putting tech on your finger does still look bright.
The big names in the smart ring world have been Motiv and Oura. While Oura has been involved in Covid-19 trials thanks to its myriad of sensors, sadly the Motiv Ring is no more after the company sold out to a biometric security company and will no longer produce consumer devices.
Amazon explored wearables that live on your finger when it unveiled its Echo Loop smart ring, but has since backed away from the idea to pursue other wearable form factors. Even an Apple smart ring may even be in the works too, if recent revealing patents are anything to go by.
There are now powerful smart rings for both men and women that do everything from track your health and fitness to letting you pay for a coffee. We've picked out the best ones we enjoyed using the most, rings that have just started shipping and new rings that are on the way.
Best smart ring: Oura Ring
Price when reviewed:From ¬£275
With the news that our previous top pick the Motiv Ring is no longer be available to buy, Oura now becomes our top smart ring to go for.
This is the sleep tracking smart ring that raised a boatload of money on Kickstarter and has been found on the digits of some high profile faces including royalty. The app captures data on how well you've slept and does something useful with it - Oura provides you with a simple, intuitive readiness score for the day.
Read this: Oura Ring v Fitbit
Plus, it makes personalised suggestions and can show you trends over time. Oura comes in two models, four different colors and ring sizes US6 ‚Äď US13. In its second iteration, this smart ring is significantly slimmer and sleeker than its predecessor.
It packs in multiple sensors, including infrared optical pulse measurement, a 3D accelerometer, gyroscope and body temperature sensors. These sensors focus on providing insights into three areas; Readiness, Sleep and Activity.
It's pricey, but it does offer reliable sleep tracking stats and some other really attractive features packaged in stylish ring design that makes it our standout option.
Wareable verdict: Oura Ring review
Best payment ring: McLear RingPay
Price when reviewed: ¬£129
One feature the Oura doesn't offer is payments. If you want to pay your way from your finger, this is the ring you want in your life.
Designed by the same team behind the crowdfunded NFC Ring (below), this smart ring offers the same contactless payment tech packed into contactless cards and other payment-enabled devices.
The iOS and Android-friendly wearable creates a secure isolated bank account that sits between any of your cards (Visa and Mastercard at the moment), and once you're all set up will let you make contactless payments up to ¬£45 with a closed fist gesture.
The companion app lets you keep track of where you spend, your average spend and activates an automatic top up to make sure you have money at your fingertips.
It now also lets you make charitable donations each time you make a purchase with it and RingPay+ subscribers can unlock discounts and additional rewards.
The McLear smart ring comes in either black and white and is available in ring sizes 4.5-16. It's currently only available in the UK though if you want that payment ring on your finger.
From the same folks that make the payment ring above, the NFC open focuses on letting you use the onboard tech to unlock phones and doors, transfer information and link people.
The ring packs two NFC tag inlays - one for public information and one for more sensitive stuff. The private tag - for things such as your smart door lock and payment information - sits on the inner part of the ring closest to the palm, so that it requires a deliberate gesture to use. The public portion, for stuff you want to give out, like your email address, sits on the top side of your finger.
Waterproof to 50 metres, the ring comes in the same black and white looks as the Mclear RingPay and the same 4.5-16 ring sizes. So there should be a good fit for most.
ORII Smart Ring
Price when reviewed: ¬£199
After raising over $400k on Kickstarter in 2017 and encountering several delays, the voice powered smart ring is finally available for everyone to buy.
Its particular secret agent trick is that it lets you take calls by holding your finger to your ear using bone conduction technology to let you hear your calls, something we've seen on smartwatch straps before but which makes even more sense as a smart ring form factor.
It's available in grey, black, silver, and red finishes and other features include getting voice read-outs of text messages and notifications, and support for a variety of gestures to control music playback and even your smart home.
The ORII comes with a set of different sized rings to get the right fit and has an hour battery life, which Origami Labs says should be suitable for the types of daily interactions you make with it. Just be mindful that it's going to live significantly much larger on your digits than something like the Oura or McLear RingPay.
Startup Sleepon believes there's still room for innovation in the sleep monitoring realms and it's hoping it can offer something new with its Go2Sleep smart ring.
The iOS and Android-friendly ring features a 3-axis sensor to monitor sleep and also features blood oxygen and heart rate sensors that will record data including perfusion index (pulse strength), heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. As far as unique sleep metrics are concerned, it claims to be able to even track your tossing and turning during the night.
The AI-powered app will offer personalised recommendations and Sleepon also claims it can help detect whether users are suffering from sleep apnea. It successfully passed its $20,000 target goal on Indiegogo has shipped to backers and now is available for anyone to track sleep from the finger from the Sleepon website.
A smart ring aimed at fitness folk, the ArcX is another crowdfunded effort that offers features like music playback controls, the ability to use it in a stopwatch mode, answer/reject phone calls and activate an SOS emergency mode.
The controls baked into the IP66 waterproof rated ring can be operated with one hand can be customised too. ArcX Technology states it can also be used to control action cameras, smart speakers and will even work with augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.
The Android and iOS friendly ring promises up to five days of battery life and also has a strap mount to let you place it on handlebars and other sports equipment.
The Kickstarter campaign successfully raised the funds back it needed to launch it back in April 2021 and is set to start shipping to backers in July 2021. The usual price for the ArcX is ¬£79 (around $112) and comes in cobalt, graphite and fire colors.
You can grab more information on the ArcX over on its Kickstarter campaign page.
Circular Smart Ring
Another crowdfunding success story, Circular Ring has raised almost ¬£300,000 to bring to life a smart ring that feels very much in the Oura mould of connected jewellery.
The hypoallergenic plastic ring squeezes in an accelerometer and heart rate monitor that promises to track your health 24/7. That includes heart rate during exercise and resting heart rate during the day and night. It's also promising rich sleep tracking including the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and your circadian rhythm.
To go beyond simply monitoring, it's also including a smart assistant called Kira that will try to help you act on bad habits to address them.
The Bluetooth-enabled ring is going to be built to work with Android and iOS devices with the promise of two days battery life and the ability to change up the look with additional outer shells.
A Circular Ring can be pre-ordered on Indiegogo ¬£179 with a promised shipping date of August 2020 now moved to September 2021.
It's still marked as being at the working prototype/demo stage, so there's no final product just yet. So that's definitely something to be wary of if you're thinking about backing it.