Oura Ring

Another day, another tracker. This time, I’ve got a ring for you.

I usually like to wait a couple of weeks before reviewing a tracker, but I’ve actually been wearing this one for nearly 3 months. It’s the Oura Smart Ring.


There’s been a few rings on the market before - some have notifications, some do steps, some do sleep, so let’s just run down specifically what this one does:

  • Tracks movement through a gyroscope and accelerometer

  • Measures body temperature

  • Reads your pulse

That’s the core of it - and honestly, that’s quite impressive for a device that no one will notice is a tracker unless you show them. Given these few pieces of data, the system extrapolates how well you are likely sleeping every night and gives you charts and summaries to inform you of why you might be feeling how you feel on any given day and then you can use this information to adjust your behaviours to perhaps improve your future performance.

It’s a bit of an odd duck, though. It’s focused solely around helping you to understand how well you sleep - it won’t tell you anything about your heart rate, for example, before and after exercise. You can only get data for sleeping periods. I wonder how much of that is an intentional product focusing by the company, or whether it’s actually a smart battery saver choice if it doesn’t have to be constantly tracking and reporting all of your bio-metrics throughout the day.

I’ve found it to drastically over-report on steps, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a replacement for another device that is focused on activity tracking, but it will give you enough of a general overview of how active you’ve been to at least consider it a factor in how well you rest later. I expect that the nature of having it on a hand (which, at least in my case, is a very animated part of the body) rather than a wrist or body tracker leads to the over-reporting.

It also has trouble connecting to my phone from time to time (over bluetooth, naturally) and some nights it just doesn’t bother to track me at all. It’s not clear to me if it’s moved to a position on my finger where it thinks I’m not wearing it at all, or if it’s having technical issues of some other kind on those nights.

The other irritating thing - and I make this critique of a lot of smart systems - is the way it tells me in a peppy tone that I’m going to have a truly wonderful, productive day, but in reality I woke up feeling like a truck ran me over. There’s no way to correct the system and “well, actually” it so that it can learn its expectations and your realities have not met one another. It almost makes me feel guilty some days that I haven’t met up to the high expectations that were set for me.

It’s definitely one of the most invisible devices I’ve ever worn. No one has asked “What’s that?” as they have done with other trackers I’ve worn. Folks have generally been impressed at how it just looks like normal jewelry. I had to buy the very smallest size ring the company offered, and it’s a tiny bit loose still but it’s comfortable enough. I do find that it’s a bit thick and it’s not something I would wear if it wasn’t “smart” (see the photo above comparing the Oura to my wedding bands).

If you’re interested, a word of warning: They’re not cheap and they’re not fast. A basic ring from Oura costs $299 and order-to-delivery took nearly 4 months for mine. I wouldn’t give it a strong S&S recommendation unless you really don’t like highly visible trackers but still want some of the data.

Bellabeat Leaf Unboxing

My BellaBeat Leaf arrived today. The device is designed to track movement, sleep quality and breathing.  Here's what it looks like straight out of the box.

The box itself is meant to be used to store your device in, apparently.

The leaf comes with two ways to attach it to your human meat body - a leather bracelet and a simple chain.  For certain features the device is supposed to be worn clipped directly to your clothing.

Up close, you can see that the leaf is made up of a wooden box - housing all the accelerometers and bits and bobs - and a metal leaf motif that acts as a clip.  The package came with a rather stern additional sheet of paper warning not to extend the clip past 4mm (the maximum thickness of material it will fit on to is 2mm), which I assume means it will break if overstretched and the additional after-box warning means they've been having issues with that. 

The reverse is a very shiny metal back, where you can more easily see the small loop on the lower side intended to attach the leather strap as it's wrapped around your wrist, and some fairly functional looking screws to allow you into the device to change it's battery (which should last round 6 months).

I had to look at the instructions to work out how on earth to wrap this thing around my child-like wrist.  I think it looks ridiculous.  I'll be trying it out over the next few days most likely as a pendant and clip. 

Back soon with a review!