The Oura Ring ($299) started as a Kickstarter project in 2015 with the final product shipping a year later. It was novel and provided a validated sleep staging algorithms against Polysomnography. The wearable placed on the fingers for more accurate readings instead of the usual wrist region. Thereby providing the versatility as a supplementary wearable rather than the core.
The Oura Ring reached last 2016 but I never really got the chance to have my shut eye properly analysed. Revisiting it a few months later, this is what I have to say.
OURA RING IN SHORT:
- Scientifically validated sleep tracking functions
- Measure lowest resting heart rate during sleep
- Tracks sleep metrics such as REM, light, deep, and duration and quality of sleep
- Estimates Body Readiness
- Tracks activity metrics such as steps, distance, sitting duration and calories
- Runs up to 3 days on a single charge
- Waterproof to 50m
- Bluetooth Smart
- iOS and Android compatible
- Heat and Scratch proof
- Measures HRV (Updated 10th May 2017)
- No indicators nor silent alarms
- Bulky form for all day wear
- Only detects heart rate during sleep
- Only detects one sleep period in a day for now
LOOK AND PRESENTATION
Depending on the model, the ring retails in either glossy or matte. While this doesn’t affect the features one bit, it does have a direct implication on the pricing with the matte version ($499) going for a cool $200 more than the glossy version ($299); the matte black surface on zirconia requires meticulous, skilled human hands to craft its flawless final form. Thus the premium.
The rings are manufactured in Sanmina’s Haukipudas, an electronics manufacturing plant in Finland.The ring is made of Zirconia and the team at Oura has managed to squeeze a PPG, skin temperature sensor and 3D accelerometer into a decently small form.
“The inside molding is a medical grade, 100% non-allergenic, nickel free, and non-metallic material that makes the ring feel very comfortable on the finger. The ring material is scratch resistant and waterproof to 50m /164 ft, so it is safe to wear the ring while taking a shower, a bath or during swimming. The ring can also withstand hot temperatures, so can be worn while in a sauna.”
Now because I crowdfunded this project, I had the luxury of trying the rings via plastic fitting rings before eventually settling for a confirmed size. I glad to hear that this sizing service is still in effect.
The ring does look a tad bulky for everyday wear and while it’s fully capable of activity tracking to a certain extent, I for one can’t fathom wearing this without inciting unnecessary stares.
This is also one of the main reasons why I stopped wearing the Oura Ring other than for sleep.
The Oura Ring runs up to 3 days on a single charge depending on the extent of use. In my case, I only use it for sleep tracking since the appearance made it unsuitable for all day activity tracking.
The charging cradle holds the ring and the dock LED emits a soft pulsating glow while charging takes place.
I do make an effort to give the ring a wet wipe on the inside after every use for hygiene purposes.
FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION
Oura has reduced sleep tracking from the complex Polysomnography to a single ring wearable. The company has gotten the OURA ring scientifically validated and are in the midst of collaboration with universities and research orgnisations to further validate their device.
The sleep tracking experience is effortless and idiot-proof. Just ensure the Oura Ring has sufficient charge, put it on, then go to sleep. Upon waking, simply remove the ring and sync the tracked stats to the mobile app for analysis or a quick browse.The Oura Ring tracks sleep indicators such as REM, light and deep sleep, sleep duration and lowest heart rate. The stats are then presented in Oura’s mobile app which hasn’t seen much change since it went official; it’s concise. Put simply, the Oura Ring was able to provide a quick overview of the sleep quality I’m getting.
According to the measurements, I get my best sleep during weekends where I normally clock 7-8 hours of shut eye. During the weekdays, I get about 5.5 hours of sleep on average and deep sleep levels doesn’t really register. Scientific validation aside, I do feel more rested come weekends.
Oura also has an extensive FAQ section which covers the A-Z of sleep metrics.
Besides sleep quality, the other feature I like about the Oura Ring is the resting heart rate measurement. I’ve used activity trackers for all day HR readings during sleep and those HR readings can vary by quite a bit. Yet with the Oura Ring, I found less variation and a more consistent resting HR reading over time.Activity levels can also be tracked by the Oura Ring though the depth of measure isn’t extensive. The 3D accelerometer keeps track of the duration and intensity of physical activities.
The Oura Ring also measures readiness, a simple metric to help identify the days when the user is physically well rested for pushing the body.
The Readiness Score is affected by Readiness Contributors, such as your body temperature or previous night’s sleep, falls outside your normal range, or clearly differs from recommended, science-based values.
Though this isn’t mentioned explicitly, Oura does have a partnership with We Are Curious, a personal health record platform. Porting your ring data to Curious is completely optional.
OURA RING IN A NUTSHELL
Having used other sleep tracking devices such as Beddit and peripheral sleep tracking functions of activity trackers, I found Oura Ring convenient to use with easy to understand metrics.
It also helps I only put on the Oura Ring before sleep, getting an accurate picture of sleep duration; not by design but by the way of wear.
This sleep tracking ring should fit nicely into anyone’s sleep routine since it doesn’t involve much work. The only thing I didn’t like is the price but I do have to bear in mind an expert administered sleep test would run into the hundreds and maybe thousands.
That being said, the Oura Ring is not expected to replace a Polysomnography. Though in its absence, the wearable does offer a convenient overview of one’s sleep quality.