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 looks bright.
Essential reading: Best smartwatches for women
While the big names in tech explore what is capable with a wearable form factor that's significantly smaller than a smartwatch, it's up to a host of startups to lead the way and show what is possible.
There are now good smart rings for both men and women that do everything from track your fitness to letting you pay for a coffee. We've picked out the ones we enjoyed using the most, rings that have just started shipping and new rings that are on the way.
Amazon Echo Loop (closed beta)
Price when reviewed: $129.99 (rising to $179.99)
Amazon is the first major company to make a smart ring having unveiled the Echo Loop in 2019. The Loop, much like the ORII smart ring, packs in microphones and speakers. That enables users to interact with its Alexa smart assistant in a very similar way that you would on an Echo speaker or using Alexa on your phone. So, make calls and add things to your shopping list.
The water resistant ring with all-day battery life will be available through Amazon's Day1 Edition collection of products where only a handful of people will be able to get their hands on it initially with a view to a bigger rollout.
Check our our early impressions in our Amazon Echo Loop hands on review.
Best smart ring: Motiv ring
Price when reviewed: $199.99
Here's our favorite. The iPhone (and now Android) compatible smart ring, Motiv, turned heads when it was announced in early 2017 and it's not hard to see why. It's sleek, just 8mm wide and in its latest iteration comes in rose gold, slate grey and silver finishes of titanium. Plus, there are seven sizes to fit both male and female fingers.
Inside, it's a fitness tracker that will monitor steps, distance, and active minutes, as well as heart rate thanks to an optical heart rate sensor. The battery will last five days and it's even waterproof to 50m. Alexa support means you can check in on your stats, as opposed to barking orders at your finger. Motiv has also introduced new security features that lets you use gestures to log in to accounts like Facebook, Amazon, Google.
In our tests, we found it to be both stylish and easy to wear, thanks to its light, comfortable form factor, and it's rightfully the best option out there for both men and women.
Wareable verdict: Motiv Ring review
Price when reviewed:From $299
Not far behind the Motiv is this high-end, 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 uses 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.
Plus, it makes personalised suggestions and can show you trends over time. Oura comes in two models 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 pricier than the Motiv, but it does offer some really attractive features packaged in stylish ring design.
Wareable verdict: Oura Ring 2018 review
Price when reviewed:$112.28
From the same folks that made 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 a range of subtle designs, including ceramic coated in gloss black. So there's something to suit both men and women.
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.
Price when reviewed: From $99
Blinq is a luxury smart ring collection that wants to keep you fit and safe that started life on Kickstarter. It's the work of a Montreal-based startup and offers sterling silver and 12-karat gold rings with 12 styles and seven different gemstones to choose from.
The piece of smart jewelry supports ring design sizes from 5 through to 10, is water resistant and promises up to 48 hours of battery life. Features wise, there's an SOS Alert feature that works by tapping a custom sequence to send a text to friends, as well as notification filtering via a special backlight behind the stone and basic activity tracking.
The good news is that the Android and iOS-friendly Blinq ring has started shipping if you want to get one on your finger.
Price when reviewed:$168
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.
McLear smart ring
Price when reviewed: ¬£129
One feature the two rings above currently don'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 with a closed fist gesture.
The companion app lets you keep track of where you spend, your average spend and activate an automatic top up to make sure you have money at your fingertips.
The McLear smart ring is currently only available in the UK, though it is expected to land in the US and Japan too.