Here we have the new Oura Ring Review, a detailed look at the best fitness tech a finger can wear right now. The new Oura Ring 2 (2018 version) marks a big step for the Finnish tech firm and one giant leap for Fingerkind.
The takeaway: Oura made its FIRST ‘wearable tech ring’ in 2016 – and it actually worked! Indeed its sleep tracking is STILL one of the best solutions available to consumers/athletes. The new Oura Ring is a more refined design, it’s lighter and technically even more competent and started shipping midway through 2018.
This review is long so please skip to the section that most interests you…or sit back and enjoy the whole journey.
- Sleek, refined and timeless design
- Light ring that is comfortable to wear
- Great sleep tracking insights
- Awesome battery life (one week)
- The smooth & responsive app is well-designed to give you many actionable insights to enhance your lifestyle.
- Prone to scratching when rubbed against metal surfaces
- Activity tracking could be improved
- This premium product commands premium prices, starting at $299. Use the Oura Ring discount code THE5KRUNNER10
Discount $50 at 27Oct18
The New Oura Ring Review – What’s Changed?
There are significant new developments to every aspect of the new Oura Ring, notably to: the design; the app and cloud; and, to a lesser extent, the feedback & insight it gives. The Oura Ring works similarly to before but now it looks and feels radically different AND the battery now lasts a whole week.
Let’s quickly cover those new aspects in more detail
Design & Colours
I very much prefer the new, more conventional & stylish ‘band’ format to the ‘fashion look’ of the original Oura Ring.
There are 3 new exterior Oura Ring designs all built on EXACTLY the same internal tech.
- Balance – slight ‘pointy’ design – (Silver, Black, Rose colours – LEFT)
- Balance Diamond – with real diamonds – (Silver colour – CENTRAL)
- Heritage – single flat face design – (Silver, Black, Rose, ‘Stealth’ colours – RIGHT)
Each ring can be rotated by 180 degrees if you want a change to the look. I have the BALANCE design in SILVER and proudly always have its pointy bit showing.
The new Oura Ring design weighs a featherlike 4 to 6g and is the shape of a ‘normal’ wedding ring band, so making it comfortable and easy to wear.
There is also a new charging cradle.
App & Cloud
Both the app and cloud platform have had a significant aesthetic makeover. The new Oura Ring gives you a properly holistic view of many vital aspects of your health & fitness:
- Each of 3 aspects of your activity, sleep and readiness are analysed in detail, as are their constituent parts
- The app makes recommendations specific to your history – eg your optimal bedtime
- You can add notes & tags, for example, to help your recreate the conditions for a particularly productive night’s DEEP SLEEP.
- You can create your own view of trends of ANY of these components and plot them against any other – for example SLEEP EFFICIENCY vs. TOTAL BURN
- The app and cloud have broadly similar data on them, so the insights are available wherever you want to view them
- The cloud dashboard has a team/group view for multiple participants (this is a corporate feature)
Here are some examples which we will come back to later in more detail from both the APP and the cloud.
The new apps still supports the original Oura Ring but with reduced functionality.
Unboxing & Contents
It’s a very nice cube-like box with the usual bits of paper…and a ring.
You get the ring and a proprietary USB-C charging cradle with cable. Don’t lose the cable, it IS different to most of the others you have.
Before the cube arrives you will have placed your order and received a ring sizing kit. I didn’t get a sizing kit this time around as I just ordered the same size that I had for the original Oura Ring. The ring sizing kit will look something like this with the size number clearly marked for when you place the order.
Oura Ring Specifications & Details
Let’s look at the physical make-up of the ring
The metallic finish is ALL you can see when you are wearing the Oura Ring. On closer inspection you can see it is electronic ‘stuff’ encased by the metal ring. The stuff would look like this if you were able to take it apart (you can’t). Lots of layers.
On the following two images you should just be able to make out 3 internal bumps which are the sensors. They protrude internally by about 1mm but you can’t feel them when wearing the ring.
From a different angle you can better see the bumps.
All 3 collections have the same specifications. There are some physical improvements over the existing Oura Ring.
Detailed Technical Specifications For The new Oura Ring Review
- Improved battery life of up to a week (5-7 days) and 9-10 days in aeroplane mode (BLE off)
- Fast wireless charging – a full charge takes under an hour
- Sensors: Infrared optical pulse measurement, 3D accelerometer, gyroscope and new, more accurate body temperature sensor.
- Improved temperature sensor to 0.05deg accuracy
- Sensors measure: Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Respiration Rate, Movement & Activity, Body Temperature, Sleep data
- Smaller form & ultra light: 4–6 grams (lighter than a conventional ring) Width 7.9 mm, thickness 2.55 mm (size of a wedding band)
- Inner ring material is non-allergenic, non-metallic with seamless moulding
- Outer ring is super-light titanium with a diamond-like carbon coating (DLC)
- Tracks activity as well as sleep. Does NOT track activity to athletic levels of accuracy. DOES track sleep to super-high HRV levels of accuracy. No HRV during activity.
- Automatic in-ring memory to store data up to 6 weeks.
- Help you decide how to improve your deep sleep
- Water resistant certified to 50m but up to 200m in internal tests.
- Chronotype detection and Circadian alignment guidance
- Sleep Improvement Programs
- Cypress’ PSoC 6® BLE microcontroller (Now you know ! 😉 )
new Oura Ring : Insights into your active life
Let’s start with an overview of the main insights the Oura Ring gives you ie daily details or trends from your activity, sleep and readiness. My personal preference is to look more at ‘READINESS’ to train; my partner is more interested in ‘SLEEP’ quality; and I am sure many of you will want to track ACTIVITY without having to wear a wrist band or watch. With the Oura Ring you can do any of that OR ALL of that.
Readiness is a forward-looking view of you and your ability to do stuff throughout the coming day. It considers how tired you might be from your recent activities and how well your last night’s sleep has helped you recover from those activities.
With scores out of 100 for SLEEP, ACTIVITY and READINESS you can see in the image below that I am in a generally ‘good place‘. Sure there might still be some lower level issues (timing, in red) but I felt OK this day and life was good.
Whereas here I had a slightly more active day but a bad night’s sleep and, in particular, I went to bed late and didn’t get enough deep sleep. #NotAGoodDay
With a quick glance, you can easily see the areas you need to address in your life. I’ll go through these ‘contributors’ in a minute but two final things to note are that
- Oura provides you with resources to understand what the contributors are for poor SLEEP, ACTIVITY and READINESS eg what exactly is DEEP sleep and what might be, from the previous image, ‘Latency’. And how do you change them (Oura’s online resources explain the contrbutors)
- The ability to look at the trends in all the contributory factors. Oura has a powerful tool that lets you view any single contributory factor against another as a trend over time – this might indicate specific causes OR it might indicate that your night of bad REM sleep was part of a more regular weekly trend.
As an example, here I quickly looked at a trend of my deep sleep compared to my total sleep and activity/readiness scores.
Let’s take a step back and look in some more detail at SLEEP, ACTIVITY and READINESS
new Oura Ring Review: SLEEP
Sleep is important for everyone, even more so for athletes. There is no specific SLEEP stage you want to target. Good sleep has balanced characteristics – balanced every night and broadly consistent when looking over time.
I will quickly cover Oura’s CONTRIBUTORY SLEEP FACTORS and ive you an indication of the kind of results you should be aiming to achieve
- Overall Sleep Score – from 0-100%, with 85% or over being a good target
- Deep Sleep – Usually between 5-20% of Sleep Time and is when your body physically repairs itself.
- Light Sleep – the phases of sleep around DEEP sleep that are not REM sleep. ie preparatory sleep for DEEP sleep.
- REM Sleep – Is usually 1.5h – 2h/night and is associated with mental recovery.
- Lowest Resting HR (rHR)– You want to aim for a generally lower rHR which you will naturally achieve with better fitness and health. A high rHR will naturally follow intense training. An abnormally suppressed rHR can be an important sign of over-training/over-exertion (that’s bad).
- Average resting HR – average throughout the night
- Total Sleep (Time) – You will most likely need total nightly sleep of 7-9 hours of light, REM and deep sleep combined.
- Efficiency – Your real sleep time compared to your total time in bed. Aim for >95% ie falling asleep quickly
- Tranquility – An undisturbed night’s sleep would be fully tranquil. Avoid disturbances from snoring partners to spicy food.
- Sleep Latency – the time in bed that it takes you to fall asleep
- Sleep Timing – looks at the alignment of your sleep rhythms to your general pattern and the ideal pattern
- Bedtime – Time you started to try to go to sleep
- Wake-Up Time – Your last bed exit of the night
- Awake Time – time spent awake in bed before and after falling asleep.
- Respiratory Rate – usually 12–20 breaths/minute
I tended to focus my attention on those measures, above, that I highlighted in bold. Most of the time you KNOW when you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sometimes these insights into my nights’ sleep helped clarify what had gone wrong when I didn’t have a good night’s sleep.
I generally get a good or borderline-good Sleep Score. What tends to let me down would be bouts of disturbed sleep or high latency and/or lack of DEEP sleep. I attribute these to my self-imagined insomnia and I’m always keen to blame my partner rather than the occasional glass of red wine I might have been better avoiding. Being more serious, I found that training hard led to raised rHR and there seemed to be a good correlation with feeling good the day after hard training IF I had a good amount of DEEP sleep.
That’s my routine. But sometimes the Oura Ring app can visually alert you to problem areas. When you look at the factor making up your night’s sleep you can clearly see problem areas – such as my poor DEEP SLEEP, highlighted below.
new Oura Ring Review : Activity
The Oura Ring is a great activity tracker. For those of us with busy lives it gives us the key stats we need and none of the detailed nonsense from other well-known companies that is probably inaccurate. Crucially it looks at inactivity periods as well as the intensity of activity periods….Sustained inactivity is not great and just measuring the fact that you are ‘active’ is flawed….you NEED to quantify the true impact of the intensity+duration of your activity and the Oura Ring does that via METs.
An hour of vigorous exercise could easily have the same METs as walking 1 hour/5000 steps a day for 4-5 days. Trust me…focus on the METs and NOT the steps. (Steps are still better than sits 😉 )
I will quickly cover Oura’s CONTRIBUTORY ACTIVITY FACTORS and ive you an indication of the kind of results you should be aiming to achieve
- Activity Score – Oura’s activity score cleverly targets periods of inactivity as well as exercise. But to keep it over 85% you also need to make sure you have easier days in your weekly schedule.
- Stay Active – 5-8 hours on INactive time each day can be good, but not 12 hours.
- Move Every Hour – set a notification on Oura to stop this happening. Oura can prompt you to move if you have been inactive for 50 minutes.
- Meet Daily Targets – You need to hit your daily target 6/7 times a week to keep this at 100%
- Training Frequency – how often do you get at last 30 minutes/day, 3-4 days a week of medium- and high-intensity activity?
- Training Volume – Aim for >2000METs/week from medium- to high-intensity workouts a week.
- Recovery Time – Quantifies those easier days in your schedule where your body has the chance to adapt to the rigours of previous days.
- Resting Time – beneficial naps and restful periods
- Inactive Time – includes sitting and standing
- Low Activity – benefits of low-level activity (easy walking and housework) are NOT scientifically well-quantified. Keep active but don’t kid yourself that lots of Low Activity is the panacea to your wellbeing.
- Medium Activity – brisk walking and similar activities can start to have scientifically quantified benefits to your health and wellbeing
- High Activity – jogging and more intense activities have scientifically quantified benefits to your health and wellbeing
- Activity Daily Movement – Daily targets are varied and expressed in terms of equivalent walking distances
- Long periods of Inactivity – Looks at how effectively you avoid being inactive during hour-long periods
- Steps – Hey Steps. We know what they are.
- Average MET/Activity Burn – METs are a common measure of the intensity and duration of your activity
- Total Burn – Includes all the calories you burn each day
I knew my activity levels are generally high but was surprised, to some degree, by what insights Oura gave me. My activity levels are relatively polarised so I often spend too long being inactive….and then running a Half Marathon at lunch. That kind of thing!
Much of the allure of a fit and healthy lifestyle comes from walking-the-walk rather than just thinking about it. For some people, a complete lifestyle change is needed but such changes can be daunting to the point of inaction. I like how Oura gives ‘quick wins’, where achievable changes to parts of your activity levels can bring more than proportionate rewards.
new Oura Ring Review : Readiness
To me, this is the other key area where the new Oura Ring delivers big insights. Most active people ‘just know’ they don’t have to worry about their activity levels too much. BUT even very good athletes do not have scientific methods to determine their readiness every day – very many simply work on ASSUMPTIONS about what state of readiness they should have achieved, calculated based on their prior activity levels.
I will quickly cover Oura’s CONTRIBUTORY READINESS FACTORS and ive you an indication of the kind of results you should be aiming to achieve
- Readiness Score – You are targeting >85%. The more serious athletes amongst you should consider a measure like this when deciding how to train in the day ahead.
- Lowest Resting HR (rHR) – your lowest HR over any 10 minute period overnight. A declining and usually low rHR can indicate fitness eg regularly below 50bpm means you are likely to be super fit.
- Body Temperature – temperatures away from your baseline can indicate the need for further recovery and hence impacts your readiness score. Women typically see lower body temperature readings during the first half of their menstrual cycle followed by a rise during the second half.
- Average HRV – is a ‘proper’ scientific measure of the state of your nervous systems. Generally high is good (over 80 is very good) and you will generally find HRV goes up as your rHR goes down.
- Previous Night – your sleep score from your last sleep
- Sleep Balance – This looks at whether you have had sufficient sleep levels over time. Readiness *IS* about more than just last night’s sleep.
- Previous Day – your activity score from the last day
- Activity Balance – This looks at your activity levels over time. Readiness *IS* about more than just yesterday’s activity.
- Recovery Index – looks at the time taken for rHR to be stabilized as you sleep – ideally it will be less than 6 hours.
Oura have missed a ‘readiness’ trick here: You can see another measure of readiness in Oura’s nightly SLEEP view – look at the night’s hourly trend of HRV and you should find that a higher waking HRV than a ‘going to sleep’ HRV is a sign of adaptation/recovery. This chart clearly shows declining HRV overnight…#NotGood.
If I had a borderline READINESS score of 85% AND that chart (above) of declining HRV then I would either not train or have an easy training day.
new Oura Ring : The Charger & Charging
Full charging time is under an hour with the new, improved wireless charger. A full charge is achieved once the white light on the charger stays constantly on.
I prefer giving my ring a single, daily boost by charging it for 10 minutes when I shower.
There are two potentially annoying things with the charger: firstly, I am told that the charger’s size IS specific to the ring so a multi-Oura household might need more than one charger; secondly, the charger’s cable is USB-C and so, in non MAC households, the supplied cable might be the only one you have.
new Oura Ring : Airplane Mode
With airplane mode enabled all the Oura’s sensors still work and save your data but the ring does not emit a Bluetooth signal on your body. Generally speaking I would say it is best to ALWAYS use airplane mode for that reason.
AND…the battery lasts longer.
Placing the ring on to the charger seems to ‘reboot’ it and re-enable Bluetooth mode to sync the data to the Oura app.
new Oura Ring: Alerts & Notifications
There are limited alerts which cover INACTIVITY & LOW BATTERY as well as personalized notifications/recommendations
new Oura Ring : Teams/Coach Dashboard
This allows the team coach to view team members’ data. It is not a retail function. I’ve not looked at it at all.
Science, Accuracy & Comparisons
This new Oura Ring Review focusses on my experiences with it. Verifying its accuracy for some of the more involved data requires a laboratory which, unfortunately, I do not have.
I have looked at several sleep devices, built in to wrist watches, that claim to be able to detect your sleep phases. Most of them don’t do it accurately…they just CLAIM to.
Here is a study which shows very promising results from the previous generation of Oura Ring (2017) I believe that Oura have more scientific studies to publish soon.
Science: Link to: nih.gov
More info on accuracy: here (link to: the5krunner.com)
I was planning to add more charts here comparing to Fitbit, Motiv, Garmin, EMFIT, WHOOP and other sleep products. It’s NOT easy to do that and my view now would be that it is not possible to make sensible comparisons as these products are not comparing ‘like with like’ or, in the case of sleep stages, the data from different providers is just SO different.
Oura Ring Review – FAQs
- Is it worth upgrading from the first ring? The aesthetics, improved battery life and extra app functionality would make me answer ‘yes’.
- Can I see the detailed data? Every aspect of detailed data is not visible. Some data is visible to the hourly level. For most people I would say that the level of detail already provided is more than enough
- Is it worth it as an activity tracker? If you just want to track steps, calories and the like then I’d say ‘NO’, especially if you are looking for detailed stats in those areas. However, the RING format IS seriously convenient.
- Is it worth it as a sleep tracker? This would be a qualified ‘YES’. Are you really going to wear a chest strap or sports watch at night…every night? Thought not. This is THE most practical alternative.
- Is it worth it as a readiness-to-train product? It is but there are much cheaper products that can do that, albeit using invasive ways eg free apps that require a chest strap and 5 minutes each morning. However, if you were interested in sleep quality as well as readiness then Oura would be great. You WILL still need to wear the Oura Ring during your activity.
- Is there an Android App? Yes but check compatibility (here). I had some issues with MOTOROLLA handsets which inhibited synchronization.
- Can I use multiple smartphone apps? You can but data is only sync’d UP to the cloud (not DOWN). Your apps would probably not have the full data on them (the cloud would have full data)
- Is there personalization? Yes the app has age/gender and similar personalization factors
- How do I turn it on? It’s always on. Putting it on the charger resets it. You can also put it on the charger and tap the charger 3 times on a flat surface, apparently this resets the Oura Ring and might be the ‘factory reset’ which would DELETE ALL YOUR DATA on the ring.
- Can this replace my Garmin or Fitbit? Oura will NOT replace the likes of Fitbit/Garmin for the sport activity features. Oura CAN be used to replace the sleep and activity tracking of Garmin/Fitbits (I’d say Oura was better at sleep and easier for activity). But this approach would leave your sports data and activity data on different platforms – I’m fine with that but you might not be.
Futures & Issues
The new Oura Ring is great at READINESS and SLEEP. Oura’s data for activity (calories+steps) is not as precise as you will get with a sports tracker – please do NOT expect that level of precision. HOWEVER, Oura measures all the activity needed to paint a great holistic picture and give you great insights.
The ring is solidly made and won’t break. The only issue I have with the Oura Ring is that it can scratch when continuously rubbed against metal – eg I would not use it for free weights in my gym or on the gym machines that have metal handles.
Along with other users, I had issues with Android 7.0 on a non-supported Android smartphone.
I would love to see the Oura Ring be able to make contactless payments (with NFC) – even better if I could do that using my PayPal account.
More imminent and likely futures might include the addition of authentication features eg you might use your ring to authenticate your login to a laptop computer, tablet or smartphone.
I would also expect the existing technology on the ring to be used for more detail on ‘Women’s Health’ features linking to, for example, the timing of menstruation/ovulation/fertility.
I recommend the Oura Ring and I only recommend about one in 10 of the products I review.
It must be the best ‘holistic’ tracker and it is worn in BY FAR the most sensible place that will easily enable you to carry it everywhere and sleep with it anywhere.
Whether you are an athlete or just a ‘regular’ person interested in their health and activity levels then the Our Ring fits the needs in both cases.
Specifically for the athletes…you are always going to wear another sports-specific device for your sports. And that’s fine. If you wear the Oura Ring at the same time as your sports watch for your sporting activity then Oura tracks the higher levels of activity IT needs to, then Oura gives you the sleep and readiness info that is generally hard to get elsewhere.
The Oura Ring is the perfect format for Sleep analysis. If you are on the road or at home then the ring is the perfect format for a fully practical device that you can take anywhere AND it is a device that offers HRV levels of accuracy which VERY FEW other products are able to.
However. I absolutely would recommend the Oura Ring over its many competitors for several important reasons.
- You don’t need all the detail in some of the other Fitbit-like products. It’s just gumf.
- Oura is simply better for a more holistic view of sleep+activity+readiness
- The Oura Ring is ideal for athletes as it tells you to a very good level of apparent accuracy what your sleep and readiness is. To do that it DOES cover activity MORE than well enough at an overview level of detail. Athletes will use sport-specific devices for their sports.
Prices, Discount, Availability
Available NOW, shipping directly from Oura – not Amazon or eBay. Early orders experienced manufacturing delays as of 24October 2018 it looks like 2-3 weeks is the maximum wait time. However see comments below stating longer timeframes and unusual sizes might be replenished into stock less frequently.
The discount code ‘the5krunner10’ gives $/Eu50 discount
- 299 USD / 314 €: Balance Silver, Balance Black, Heritage Silver, Heritage Black
- 399 USD / 419 €: Balance Rose, Heritage Rose, Heritage Stealth
- 999 USD / 1049 €: Balance Diamond.
Thank you for supporting this blog when you buy directly from: ouraring.com
Discount $/Eu50 at 27Oct18