The new Oura Ring (Oura Ring 2, v2 for 2018) and the Motiv Ring stand out as the two most sensible places to start your research into an activity tracker in a ring format – they are by far the best wearable tech rings as of December 2018.
The market is large for people who want an activity tracker rather than a pro-level sports device. It seems to me, however, that a ring-based solution is clearly FAR less invasive to wear 24×7 than a band or watch. And, if the aesthetics are at least ‘neutral’, then people are going to be easily tempted into wearing a ring 24×7. And that’s the key thing; to get a really holistic view of your activity you NEED to include sleep. It’s when you sleep that you de-stress, recover and adapt to the rigours of the day.
If you are looking for an athletic-level ‘pro’ sports tracker then a ring is NOT the option you want in 2018/19 – think Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, Apple or Suunto instead. Oura Ring is an holistic wearable that includes activity tracking but not detailed stats on running, cycling, gym – although it DOES include the intensity of those activities at a higher level.
Historically getting heart rate data from anything other than a chest strap was not so straightforward. Now it looks like watches, bands and rings can, at least, make a ‘reasonable’ effort at getting accurate heart rate from other parts of the body than the torso. And that’s a pretty crucial point. Whilst heart rate is NOT a perfect way of tracking activity, it is probably the best method available. Generally speaking, the higher the heart rate then the more strenuous the activity and, the more strenuous you work, the more you will likely need to recover.
Tech can get clever on rings at a resting level where PHYSICAL STRESS can be measured via HR (using HRV, RR/IBI), Tech can also get clever by using algorithms to determine activity types by using HR and a motion sensor of some sort (gyroscope)
So: A ring is worn on a non-intrusive part of the body and the tech exists that actually works for once! 😉
Headline Differences Oura vs Motiv
The new Oura Ring format is a discrete band. Oura and Motiv both share a discrete look.
I’m sure I could argue for one being prettier than the other and you could quite easily argue the opposite. Aesthetics are a personal thing but these two rings might appeal to a broadly similar demographic on the basis of appearance alone.
If you are looking for a Red ring or a Green tech one then forget it. Oura and Motiv come in ‘sensible’, timeless and elegant colours:
- Motiv: Rose Gold, silver and black (new colours from Q4.2018)
- Oura: Silver, black, rose and stealth (dark matt colour)
Both have pre-order ring sizing kits and the Oura comes in 8 sizes and the Motiv in 7 sizes.
Motiv only has one design which is a band with a small LED strip going through it. Oura has their Heritage and Balance designs, the latter also with a diamond option. Whilst the Motiv is a consistently shaped band, the Oura Balance has a single, very slight, ridge and the Oura Heritage has a slightly flattened single edge added. In the grand scheme of ‘bling designs’ I like both the Motiv and Oura – they are both inoffensive, banded ring designs, of the mass-appeal type and are each similarly sized at approximately 8mm wide, although the Motiv is very slightly thinner. And, yes, you can wear the Motiv’s LED strip on the underside so it is not showing – if that is what you want!
Oura has gone high-tech with the new ring and the new battery can last up to 7 days whereas the Motiv lasts up to 3 days and both have a quick recharge time – an hour should top your charge up very nicely in each case. An unintended consequence of a long battery life, like with the Oura ring, is that you would get out of a routine of charging up the ring. Thus Oura has the option of a ‘charge alert’ to remind you to do just that.
Both have good-looking, insightful and user-friendly Android and iOS apps, with the Oura app giving a wider range of insights into the data it collects
On the price front, the Motiv starts out at $200 (Sept 2018 sees it on sale at $179) whereas the Oura ranges from $300 to over $1000 –
Both have an accelerometer, a techy thing that accurately measures your movements, and both claim to be waterproof. Oura claims waterproofing up to 100m, which is excellent, but Motiv is very good at 50m – I have swum with both.
Both have an optical heart rate sensor. Oura’s claims seem to support their sensor being a potentially more accurate one which can read resting HRV via optical HR (which would be as good as it could be with current tech).
The Motiv Ring App will give you feedback on these (Source: mymotiv.com):
- Active Minutes
- Resting Heartrate
- Activity Types
- Calories Burned
- Activity Intensity
- Sleep Duration
Whereas the Oura Ring app will give you feedback on these (Source: ouraring.com)
- Night-time ECG-level resting heart rate (RHR), Interbeat interval (IBI) and heart rate variability (HRV) at rest
- Sleep stages (Deep, REM, light), sleep timing, duration and quality
- Respiratory rate, breathing variance
- Thermometer-level body temperature deviation
- Movements and daily rhythms, Ben Greenfield had something to say about that.
- Intensity, timing and length of physical activities
- Inactivity and sedentary time including alerts
- Circadian alignment guidance
- Sleep improvement programs – eg how to improve deep sleep
- On-demand heart rate and heart rate variability tracking for meditation or breathing exercises (update: coming during Q4/18).
I have both the Oura rings v1 and v2 (2018) and the Motiv Ring.
Buying an Oura rin or a Motiv through the links provided both help support this blog, thank you.
Head-to-Head Detailed Reviews
A ring format as a basis for an activity tracker is a compelling proposition.
I need to do some more testing and looking at the data accuracy but Motiv seems more appropriate at meeting those basic activity and sleep tracking needs with a good-looking ring and a straightforward app. Oura, on the other hand, seems to be coming more from the holistic view of ‘you’ over 24 hours and Oura are the superior sleep/recovery option that also provides much deeper all-round analysis should you want that. Indeed the Oura Ring’s app is pretty awesome in its scope.
Both are sturdy and well made and can be used in sport. I would say that the Oura feels, very slightly, a better quality of construction. Either will scratch if rubbed against metal eg do no do free weights with either.
The Oura Ring looks the best all-round option for me, I love delving into the all the data and looking at sleep stages and such. BUT if you are particularly concerned about getting the simplest handle on your ACTIVITY & SLEEP then Motiv Ring is the one for the time-limited amongst you.
- Price (Motiv wins)
- Holistic view with temperature and HRV insights (Oura clearly wins)
- Activity (Motiv win on simplicity but Oura certainly delivers more insights, more details and with more accuracy at times)
- Motiv have some advanced authentication tech in later beta for their ring – if you know what 2FA is then go for Motiv 😉
For a simple tech solution that is purely activity-focussed then go for the Motiv Ring.
If you want a more holistic view of your sleep quality, physiology, exercise and readiness then go for the new Oura Ring – especially if you already have a sports tracking device like a watch that you will continue to use in parallel to the Oura Ring.
Price & Availability
Oura is not available on Amazon or eBay and can only be bought directly from each manufacturer. You can usually find the Motiv Ring on Amazon and you should be able to get both directly from both manufacturers (below).
the new Oura Ring starts at $300 and the Motiv ring is $200
As at 4 Sep 2018 there is $20 off the Motiv Ring at mymotiv.com (link to: mymotiv.com) and there always seems to be $20 off each additional ring if you order >2
Black Friday period 2018: There is $30 off MOTIV
Christmas 2018 – Gift Card options are available or you can give a sizing kit as a present