We observed several startups debut smart rings at CES 2024, while Samsung has now also unveiled the Galaxy Ring at its annual Unpacked event. It all adds up to an increasingly competitive space for Oura.
Given the company's third-gen ring is now a little long in the tooth, we could be in store for the Oura Ring 4 at some point in 2024.
Below, we've rounded up everything we know about a possible release, as well as detailed a few features we would like to see land on the next Oura device.
Oura Ring 4: Release date
As of right now, there's absolutely no word from Oura that a fourth-gen ring is in the works.
What's more, there haven't even been any leaks or credible rumors to suggest that 2024 will be the year that a new smart ring arrives from the company.
However, there are still a couple of things that point to the release of the Oura Ring 4 this year.
The most notable is the timeline of previous Oura releases.
After delivering the original Oura Ring in 2015 via Kickstarter, the company followed it with the Oura Ring 2 in 2018 and the current-gen Oura Ring 3 in November 2021.
That's a pretty clear and consistent three-year cycle for each model, and would mean 2024 should represent the end of the road for Oura Ring 3.
If it holds, we should see the Oura Ring 4 arrive in late 2024. At this stage, though, it's all speculative stuff.
Should you wait for the Oura Ring 4?
Probably not. While it is relatively likely the Oura Ring 4 will arrive within the next 12-18 months, the Oura Ring 3 is still the best smart ring on the market. It will still be one of the best even after the next-gen model's release, too.
Plus, as we've seen from fellow subscription-wearable service Whoop, Oura has spent a lot of time in the last couple of years focusing on major software improvements. It's very much a device that's always getting better, and we suspect you won't necessarily miss out if you don't have the latest hardware.
Oura Ring 4: Features we want to see
As we say, the third-gen Oura Ring collection is still very capable - even with new alternatives emerging all the time. With no new major hardware changes in a few years, though, an Oura Ring 4 might be necessary for the Finnish company to remain at the top of the pile.
In that spirit, we've highlighted five features we would love to see on an all-new Oura. There are naturally some software updates that we'd like to see, too, but we've tried to keep these mostly hardware-based.
1. Payment support
Oura has always been extremely focused on wellness, which means smart features like payment support have always been lacking. For the Oura Ring 4, we think it'd be great if this could somehow be integrated.
Oura acquired Proxy in 2023, and Oura CEO Tom Hale suggested the move could help the company expand into payments, as well as identity tagging, security, and key access.
We would say it's very likely that something from that list of avenues will emerge in the next Oura Ring, and we think all would be welcome progressions. Just no vibrating for notifications, please.
2. Improved stress tracking
Oura has been at the forefront of plenty of burgeoning health and wellness insights in recent years - from skin temperature monitoring to chronotype analysis - but it has some catching up to do in stress tracking.
We think the current delivery works well, with the four markers of your stress condition - stressed, engaged, relaxed, and restored - very easy to digest. However, the company currently grades your body responses through a spot-check distillation of heart rate variability, heart rate, skin temperature, and movement.
More and more wearables are incorporating electrodermal activity (EDA) sensors with solid results, however, and it feels like a very natural fit for the Oura Ring 4.
3. Thinner and lighter design
Asking for a thinner or lighter design is akin to wanting longer battery life - an improvement is almost always welcome and possible between generations.
And while Oura's third-gen rings are by no means ones we find obtrusive to wear, they also don't look as svelte as a regular, non-smart band does on the finger, either. Ultimately, that's got to be the aim of every brand designing smart rings.
We're not expecting Oura to reach that utopia with the Ring 4, but we would like to see it take another step toward that reality by slimming down the overall profile slightly.
4. More reliable syncing
We spend around 5-10 minutes with the Oura app open each morning waiting for our data to be synced over, with it often asking us to try and reconnect to help this process along.
It's not really clear whether this is an app issue or a terminal one due to the design of the Oura Ring 3, but we would love it if syncing was a bit smoother with a future Oura Ring 4.
This kind of slow connection has been acknowledged by the company as a known issue - though also one it believes is fixed - so here's hoping things get straightened out with a slight redesign or an app overhaul in 2024.
5. Stronger emphasis on activity tracking
As we mentioned above, Oura's focus has always primarily been on health, wellbeing, and sleep. And, in fairness, these are the best use cases for a smart ring at present.
However, we have also seen smart rings like the Amazfit Helio emerge and provide an example of how activity tracking - even if not directly performed by the ring - can be prioritized for serious athletes.
We're not expecting any great advancements in accuracy (ultimately, smart rings just aren't a great place to track activity from), but we'd love to see Oura get creative with the Ring 4 and make the Activity section of the app something we're motivated to check in on.
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