In the year since I started using the Oura ring, this wearable fitness tracker has served me in so many ways in my daily life—but more than anything, it’s a conversation starter. When others see it on my index finger, they ask if the Oura ring is worth it, and what it can do for me that my Apple Watch or Activity Band can’t.
Probably the most popular smart ring, Oura Ring Gen 3 packs an array of health sensors into a discreet design. While it can track movement and exercise, it’s sleep tracking that Oura Ring is best known for. On top of that, sleep tracking data and other factors are used to inform a user’s readiness, a finding that does a better job of encouraging recovery than most other fitness trackers on the market.
However, it’s not a perfect device, so there are some disclaimers I always give to people potentially interested in buying one. But I’m also sure to mention the reasons why I kept it for a whole year. Here’s what I like and don’t like about the Oura ring, based on long-term use.
Top notch sleep tracking
Oura ring is my favorite sleep tracker. Not only is it comfortable to wear all night (I’m someone who always falls asleep in my jewelry) — the data it collects is also top notch. By monitoring my heart rate, skin temperature, and oxygen saturation, the Oura ring tells me more than I thought I wanted to know about the quality of my rest. My sleep score serves as a quick summary, though my sleep phases chart and breathing rhythm chart give me a closer look at my nocturnal behaviors.
I’m more interested in heart rate variability (HRV) data, though. HRV is an indicator of sleep “stressors” such as travel, anxiety, and even possible illness. When our Oura Ring picks up significant changes in the HRV, it may indicate a rest day. During the rest day, activity goals are disrupted. I’ve been encouraged to take it easy at times when I’ve had particularly busy weeks or are in the middle of a long travel period. This reminder to rest or not force exercise helped me listen to my body’s needs more. If only the Apple Watch had a way to take a day off from closing Activity rings…
Convenient and discreet design
You mentioned that the Oura ring is comfortable—it’s so comfortable that I often forget I’m wearing it. Despite the internal sensors, it’s fairly lightweight, measuring between 0.14 and 0.21 ounces depending on your ring size. I think I have larger non-smart rings.
Speaking of my other jewelry, I appreciate how our Oura ring blends with any other accessories I choose to wear. I have the silver Oura ring, but it also comes in gold, rose gold, black, and a matte black called Stealth. While it would be nice to be able to swap out colors to match outfits, the same way I can swap Apple Watch straps, silver is neutral enough for my style.
I will say that the flat top of the device is how people notice that it is an Oura ring and not a regular ring. Oura has recently launched a new all round version called Oura Ring Horizon. I might try testing it to see if it feels more like a regular ring than my current one.
Growing partnerships in the wellness market
Over the past year, the number of Oura Ring integrations has grown to include partnerships with popular platforms. One of the most exciting new partners is Strava, the running and fitness tracking app with nearly 100 million users. Now, users with Oura rings can see their readiness data in their Strava account. But the integration works both ways — Strava’s activity data is uploaded to your Oura dashboard, so even if you’re not wearing your ring (or tracking Strava through something like an Apple Watch Ultra or a Garmin watch), your progress will be synced.
Oura Ring also works with Therabody, maker of premium massage guns like the Theragun Pro 5. Users can track Therabody treatments in the Oura app so they can monitor the impact of selected recovery tools on their data over time. Natural Cycles, the first FDA-approved birth control app, is another notable partnership. Users can sync temperature trend data directly from the Oura Ring, making it easy to record skin temperature readings. These readings, when paired with other fertility indicators, can help with pregnancy planning.
Battery life and charging are a headache
My biggest challenge with Oura Ring is keeping it charged. With all features enabled, including continuous SpO2 monitoring, battery life lasts about three full days. (Before turning on the blood oxygen sensing feature, I’ve had at least five days of full charge.) While the ring sends charging notifications to my iPhone, and I use the battery life multipliers on my iPhone’s lock screen, I still end up with a dead Oura ring. more than i want.
This is usually because I travel a lot and stay in different places. Since Oura Ring only ships with a proprietary charging dock, I’m screwed if I forget to pack it. The spare charging kit costs $59, which isn’t cheap if you want to keep one around for the few different locations I’ve been to. I wish there was an easier way to charge it in a pinch.
It still can’t replace my Apple Watch
Despite how much I enjoy using the Oura Ring, at no point did I feel like it could replace my Apple Watch. I suppose I understand why some people prefer an Oura Ring over a smartwatch or activity band, but there are a lot of things I need from an Apple Watch that Oura Ring doesn’t. The most obvious—the Oura ring doesn’t have a display, so I can’t keep track of my activity metrics mid-workout unless I have the Oura app open. As someone who does a lot of heart rate based workouts, this is a deal breaker.
Not to mention, I love receiving notifications, controlling music playback, and more from my Apple Watch. I also have a list of essential Apple Watch apps that I just can’t live without. It would be nice to see the Oura app for the Apple Watch, where I can check my readiness and sleep data. While my Apple Health profile syncs with my Oura Ring, a smartwatch app would take Key integration much further.
Will I still wear my Oura ring?
The short answer is yes, I have no plans to stop wearing our Oura ring. While I tested other fitness trackers and sleep trackers throughout the year, the Oura ring remained a constant item on my finger.
However, I think we’ll see some companies try to capitalize on the success of Oura Ring by making new smart rings, perhaps with competitive features to stand out. If so, I’ll definitely want to give it a try to see what else the world of smart rings has to offer.