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 health and 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.
Best smart ring: Oura Ring
Price when reviewed:From $299
With the news that our previous top pick the Motiv Ring has been bought out and will 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 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.
Read this: Oura Ring v Fitbit
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
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 payment ring: McLear smart ring
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 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.
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:$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 from the Sleepon website.
Circular Smart Ring
Another crowdfunding success story, Circular Ring has raised almost $375,00 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 $222 with a promised shipping date of August 2020. Though the startup has suggested there will be now a delay of a couple of months.
It's currently at the stage of having a working demo, but yet to have the final product. So that is definitely something to be mindful if you're thinking about backing it.