The new Oura Ring (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.
If you are looking for an athletic sports tracker then a ring is NOT the option you want in 2018/19.
But the market is MUCH larger for people who want an activity tracker rather than a sports tracker. It seems to me that a ring-based solution is 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 tempted into wearing it 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 recover and adapt to the rigours of the day.
Historically getting heart rate data from anything other than a chest strap was not so straightforward. Now it looks like watches and rings and bands can make at least a ‘reasonable’ effort at getting heart rate from other parts of the body than the torso. And that’s a pretty crucial point. Heart rate is NOT a perfect way of tracking activity and recovery BUT it’s probably the best way 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), 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 sits on a good location and the tech exists that could actually work 😉
Headline Differences Oura vs Motiv
The new Oura ring format is a discrete band. So that makes Oura and Motiv similar in that respect. 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 appearances.
If you are looking for a Red ring or a Green tech one then forget it. Oura and Motiv come in ‘sensible’ colours:
- Motiv: Rose Gold and Slate Gray
- 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 have one design which is a band with a small LED strip going through it. Oura have 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. 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 have gone high-tech with the new ring and the new battery can last up to 7 days where the Motiv last only up to 3 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 have the option of a ‘charge alert’ to remind you to do just that.
Both have good-looking and user-friendly Android and iOS apps.
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 – although you can get a $50 discount using the code the5krunner10 here at checkout on ouraring.com (link to:ouraring.com).
Both have an accelerometer and both claim to be waterproof (Oura claims up to 100m which is very good but Motiv is perfectly fine at 50m).
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).
Motiv will give you feedback on these (Source: mymotiv.com):
- Active Minutes
- Resting Heartrate
- Activity Types
- Calories Burned
- Activity Intensity
- Sleep Duration
Whereas Oura 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)
- Sleep stages (Deep, REM, light), sleep timing, duration and quality
- Respiratory rate, breathing variance
- Thermometer-level body temperature deviation
- Movements and daily rhythms
- Intensity, timing and length of physical activities
- Inactivity and sedentary time including alerts
- Circadian alignment guidance
- Sleep improvement programs
- On-demand heart rate and heart rate variability tracking for meditation or breathing exercises (update: coming during Q3/18).
I don’t own a Motiv ring and have had limited access to a friend’s one in conjunction with published specifications for this comparison. I have both the Oura rings v1 and v2 (2018). As of 4 September 2018 I’m still undergoing a detailed look at the Oura’s data which will take probably until October/November to come up with a more definitive view.
If you want me to have an in-depth look at the Motiv ring then please comment below (Hint: I’ll need more than one person to show an interest 😉 )
Buying an Oura ring with the discount code helps support this blog, thank you.
A ring format as a basis for an activity tracker is a compelling proposition.
If you are not overly concerned about the cost then either are probably going to meet your basic activity tracking needs. If cost is an issue then the cheaper Motiv clearly wins.
I need to do some more testing and looking at the data accuracy but Motiv seem more focussed on activity reporting and encouragement than Oura. Oura seem to be coming more from the holistic view of you over 24 hours and are likely to be the superior sleep/recovery option. The first Oura ring was pretty good on that front.
Tentatively the Oura looks the best all-round option to me. BUT if you are particularly concerned about getting the best handle on your ACTIVITY then Motiv MIGHT be the one for you
- Price (Motiv wins, just)
- Holistic view with temperature and HRV insights (Oura clearly wins)
- Activity (Motiv MIGHT win but Oura certainly delivers insights here as well)
Price, Availability and Discounts
Oura Ring start at $300 and the Motiv is $200
You can get a $50 discount using the code the5krunner10 here at checkout on ouraring.com (link to:ouraring.com).
As at 4 Sep 2018 there is $20 off the Motiv Ring at mymotiv.com (link to: mymotiv.com)