TECH

I love Oura’s ring, but I’m worried about its future


I We put first on the Oura Ring smart ring During the summer of 2021 and have used it continuously since then. It remains the piece of wearable tech I’ve worn the most, and it’s unusual for a product to be this sticky.

But recently, I’ve begun to wonder what the future holds for her. The answers I’m getting are not all positive, and it makes me wonder how long it will stay on my finger.

Why do I love the Aura ring?

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I want to start by asking why I still wear our Oura ring. First, I like the way it looks. I recently changed to a silver version of my 3rd generation ring and think I prefer it over A glossy black version I’ve worn before. It’s less noticeable on my finger, yet still sparkles in the sun. I find it very comfortable, it never becomes intrusive, and I can wear it happily 24 hours a day. This is much more than can be said about some smartwatches. I did collect a few scratches and scuffs, though, and they show up more here than they do on the glossy black version, but less so on the Stealth build I tried on for the first time.

Next, I love the reliability of the Oura ring. It syncs without issue, never fails to log activity or nighttime sleep, and the data presented in the app is clear and understandable. It’s exactly what I want from a health-related wearable. I’m also happy with the battery life, after six months of using the silver 3rd generation model, I’m still getting about five days of using it. However, I’m not sure how long the battery will last to maintain this performance. Kristen Chan, mobile staff writer for Digital Trends, wears the third generation Oura Ring, and after a year, the battery in her sleeve lasts about two days.

I like that I can still track my health and activity when I’m wearing a traditional watch, and how it never feels out of place or overly technical. It blends in, but still attracts a fair amount of attention as well, with people often asking if it’s an Oura ring and if I like it. Until recently, I’ve always been very positive about it when I answer, stating how long I’ve worn it, how interesting and useful the sleep data is, and how much I appreciate the good battery life. The only downside I used to mention is the subscription, which I still find quite problematic. But now, other negative things creep into my mind when I think of recommending the Oura ring.

We have new (and limited) tricks.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

To understand what changes my opinion, we need to talk about the features of the Oura Ring. since the last time I wrote about wearing the Oura ring in May 2022both the blood oxygen monitoring (Sp02) and heart rate tracking features during exercise have arrived — but only after missing in action since the end of 2021 when they were announced.

Sp02 levels are monitored overnight, and the app displays a record of your blood oxygen, as well as an overview of whether fluctuations in it have altered your breathing. It’s helpful, as the app breaks down the severity of any disorders on record, but it’s hard to understand what to do about them. It is also a pity that the option to run it all day is not available, even at low capacity.

The Track your heart rate during exercise It came out in May this year and covers walking, cycling, and running, and shows your maximum, minimum, and average heart rate. It also gives insight into how hard you work, along with a map of your route if you exercise outdoors. It’s a useful (if basic) fitness tracking system that – when combined with sleep data – helps provide more information about your daily readiness.

Oura Ring provides a clear picture of your overall health on a daily basis. You can drill down to see more details, including daily averages for heart rate information, restorative time, and detailed information on it when you sleep, too. You can also look at heart rate variability (HRV) data, but interpreting this is somewhat complicated, as there are no simple baselines that apply to most people, unlike heart rate. I can see how my HRV fluctuates, but I have no real idea if that’s a good or bad thing, and how to change (or not) if it is. The problem of not being able to easily interpret or act upon the data collected is not an issue specific to the Oura Ring, and it’s a complaint that applies to most health and fitness wearables.

While I’d be glad to see the arrival of the Sp02 and its intra-workout heart rate tracking, it’s been a while, and Oura’s track record for slow feature releases hasn’t changed, because other previously announced features are still not ready. The more this happens, the less positively I view the product, and the more I worry about its future.

More features are yet to come – at some point

The third generation Oura Ring seen from the side.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

When the Aura announced its heart rate tracking workout, that was it He also said new workout options It will be added over the coming months. But six months later, no others have arrived. A general workout mode can’t be complicated to add, and given that a lot of people may regularly do activities other than walking, running, or cycling (I know I do), it hurts not to be able to add them in the Oura app so easily.

This is not a fact Solutionbecause it’s hard to justify buying two wearables when one can or should do the job.

To overcome this you can Wear an Apple WatchThe Oura app syncs with an Apple Health or Google Fit-enabled smartwatch to track other workouts. Aura ring too It syncs with Strava, which fills in some gaps, but it’s still a platform focused on running, swimming, and riding — plus it also needs another wearable. This is not a fact Solutionbecause it’s hard to justify buying two wearables when one can or should do the job.

despite of November blog post Speaking of the imminent arrival of a similarly promised new sleep phase algorithm, it has yet to be introduced to Oura Ring. In an email sent to Oura Ring owners, the company said the new sleep stages algorithm will arrive as a beta feature in the app, with the option to turn it on if you’re invited to test it out. At this time, there doesn’t appear to be a full expected public release date for the improved sleep phase tracking, which is disappointing considering the hype around it and the fact that it’s been used in Third generation ring promotional materials more than a year ago.

Oura’s slow pace of updates continues to disappoint. It’s an expensive product with a subscription package that comes with it, and waiting for new features—with limited information on when they’ll actually arrive—isn’t something I’d expect and becomes less palatable the more time goes by. It also raises another, larger concern. I’m still waiting for the features announced last year to arrive, but more importantly, I also haven’t heard what’s next in Oura. This is a different kind of problem.

Timelines – and the future

Putting an aura ring on a finger.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s pretty much a given that a new smartphone will have hardware tweaks that facilitate new features and thus prompt an upgrade, but so far there’s only an Oura that can handle the ring design, and there are only so many sensors it can fit in. Inside. What it does with those sensors and the software around it is Oura’s selling point. Oura charges a monthly subscription fee to keep seeing your data in its app, so it needs a clear roadmap of new features and software improvements to ensure there’s plenty of motivation to keep paying over the long haul.

But there isn’t one, and even if there was, would I trust any of the timelines? Increasingly the answer is no, and the longer you wait to see the features already promised on Oura Ring, the less to believe any release windows for newly announced features. We’re now on the third generation product, and unfortunately, with missing features and no information on what the future holds, the allure of paying per month for the Oura ring is waning.

With missing features and no information about what the future holds, the allure of paying per month for the Aura Ring is waning.

When health and fitness products are as cool as Apple Watch Series 8 And the Apple Watch Ultra You don’t have a subscription package attached, and yet I regularly receive meaningful feature updates, Oura Ring makes me cringe. I really like the hardware and still find the app and its data useful, but Oura’s heel pull erodes trust, and her silence about what I should look forward to is troubling.

My constant experience with the Aura ring convinces me of this Smart rings have huge potential in health and fitness trackingbut it’s starting to feel like more Concept One of the smart rings that I love. Oura ring is handy, but the company is at risk of taking it off if it doesn’t meet my daily needs, now and in the future. This is a serious problem because once someone turns off the wearable, there is a good chance that it won’t turn back on.

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