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  • Esther

This is why you should buy an Oura ring

This article talks about the Oura ring Generation 2.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I bought an Oura ring.


The Oura ring is a smart ring to be worn on one of your fingers and it advertises itself as "the most accurate guide on your sleep, activity and wellness". Sounds good, right?


By the way, if "smart ring" sounds like nothing you ever heard of:

This is how it looks like - and yes, it really is for one of your fingers👇

This is a close view of the Oura Ring I am wearing on a black background. It is the Balance Silver ring. The view allows seeing the inner side of the ring too and gives a glimpse of the smart tech included.
The Balance Silver Oura Ring I am wearing

Whether their promise is marketing jargon to make people buy or whether this ring can keep its promises, I am going to reveal in the lines to come.


The topics, I´d like to cover are:

  • What were my reasons to invest in it?

  • What are my experiences so far?

  • Should you buy one yourself?


Why an Oura ring?

Keeping in mind that the Oura ring is a sleep- and activity tracker, you might think "I do not need the Oura ring as I am wearing the Apple Watch day in and out".


I wish I could agree with you, but while I love my Apple Watch, it lacks proper sleep tracking. The Apple Watch is great when it comes to activity and its tracking as well as advanced analytics for all-things-activity. But quite honestly: It does not give a sh*t about your recovery and relaxation.


If you ask your Apple Watch and most likely most of all other Smart Watches, they want you to give it all - every day. Beat yesterday, right?


But as reality hits, it turns out that humans are not machines and we can't run on full power 24/7.


And here comes the Oura ring into play. The Oura ring checks in on you every night and monitors you throughout the day.


Each morning, it will give you two ratings via their app - one for your readiness for the day ahead and one for your sleep last night. Those values are being defined by a dozen values it tracks incl. your heart rate, your heart rate variability, your body temperature, and your deep sleep.

The readiness score of a day after having a rather bad sleep with a slightly increased body temperature. The screenshot shows the recommendation to pay attention to recovery.
A screenshot from the Oura app showcasing the readiness and sleep score on a hot summer day.

Let's assume, you had a challenging day and a medium night's sleep for whatever reasons.


Fast forward to the next morning: The Oura ring will -after analyzing all your body metrics- recommend you to concentrate on your relaxation to make sure, you can recover from the stress you had in the last 24 hours.


See my example from a few days ago. It was a series of hot summer nights and those seem to had an impact on my body temperature causing me to be less recovered or ready.


Compared with your Smart Watch, the Oura ring is more gentle and lovingly focussing on your well-being rather than your performance.


I am sure that my Apple Watch wouldn't care at all (or even notice) and that it would push me to fulfill my training and meet my calorie targets and get my sh*t together 😅



The buying process

In a world of Amazon and next-day delivery, you need to take a deep breath: It takes forever (=two weeks more or less) until you get your ring.


First of all - you can't order the Oura ring at Amazon 😱.


You can lookout for a local dealer or buy directly via Oura. I did it via a local dealer.


As this one was my first Oura ring, I did not know my size and needed to get the sizing kit first.

It is recommended to wear one or two rings from the sizing kit for at least 24 hours before checking in with the size to order the ring. Making this longer test is actually pretty smart advice as to the size of your fingers changes throughout the day and during different activities.


As I was on the fence between two sizes, I ordered - as recommended- the smaller one.


After sending my final order, I needed to wait again. Ultimately, two weeks after ordering my ring in the first place, I got the package from Finland with my ring 💍


To be fair, the waiting for the real ring was longer due to the sizing kit. However - the delivery still took a while. But as a spoiler: It's worth waiting.


Look and feel

While the sizing kit is a more or less ugly piece of plastic, the actual Oura ring is looking awesome - elegant, clean, and modern. The weight is pleasant and not too heavy despite the tons of sensors and technology in it.

This image shown the Oura Ring on my left hand while being outside in the sun.
My Oura Ring worn on my left hand.

Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose between two different styles (Balance and Heritage) and colors (Silver, Black, Stealth, Gold, and Diamond).

Just keep in mind that depending on the style you chose it is possible that not all colors are available.


I went for the Silver Balance.


The Balance design comes to "a peak at the ring's face" as you can see in the first image within this post while the Heritage has a flat-top design.


Whatever you choose from the outside, the inside remains the same and is packed with smart-tech. When looking at the inner part of your ring, you get a glimpse of what must be going on inside.


But don't worry - as long as you are wearing the ring, it is not visible that you are wearing a smart ring. Only other Oura ring users will know.

A closeup of my Oura ring presented on a wooden table showcasing the form and a view to the inner part of the ring
Closeup of my Oura Ring.

I was a bit afraid that the three sensor knobs would cause some problems as they seem pretty dominant but that's actually not the case. I never feel them at all.


I just make sure to have the three knobs on the inside of my hand to allow the ring to work properly.



Accuracy and results

The Oura ring needs a couple of days to get to know you and to provide you with all the data it has. However - it starts immediately to give you your sleep and readiness score.


By the way: You can't trick the ring. You can try - but it won't work.


It finds out whether you had a late-night snack, stress, or a relaxing night. What I want to say with it: The accuracy is impressive and I find the insights the ring is offering helpful.


After two months of wearing the ring, I did not have a single blind spot in my analytics and pretty solid results. Sometimes, in the beginning, the ring was confused when I was watching TV in the evening and didn´t move too much. As a result, I had some nights the ring thought I went to bed super early.


But the app allows to quickly adjust the bedtime and it looks like the ring is learning from it. Well- at least it didn't happen in the last weeks at all.


I learned some interesting things about myself that I didn't know before. One example would be that eating in the evening is increasing my heart rate which causes my sleep to be less recovering. It turns out that I have my best sleep after not eating after 2 pm 👀


Another example is that once having a stressful phase, it takes me a couple of days to fully recover my readiness as well as my sleep. The impact of a bad night on performance is frightening and astonishing.



What does it track?

The app differs between Readiness, Sleep, and Activity - as I am using an iOS device, I can only speak for the Oura app on iPhone.


Readiness

Within the readiness tab, it gives you the following information:

  • Readiness (score between 0 and 100)

  • Resting heart rate

  • Heart rate variability

  • Body temperature

  • Respiratory rate

  • Lowest heart rate

  • Average heart rate

  • Highest heart rate variability

  • Average heart rate variability

By the way: The readiness score is being created from the following "contributors":

  • Resting heart rate

  • heart rate variability balance

  • Body temperature

  • Recovery index

  • Sleep

  • Sleep balance

  • Previous day activity

  • Activity balance

Sleep

Within the sleep tab, it gives you the following information:

  • Sleep (score between 0 and 100)

  • Total sleep

  • Time in bed

  • Sleep efficiency

  • Time asleep

  • Total duration of sleep

  • Aware

  • REM

  • Light

  • Deep

  • Movement

  • Lowest heart rate

  • Average heart rate

  • Highest heart rate variability

  • Average heart rate variability

The sleep score is being created from the following "contributors":

  • Total sleep

  • Efficiency

  • Restfulness

  • REM sleep

  • Deep sleep

  • Latency

  • Timing

Activity

Within the activity tab, it gives you the following information:

  • Activity (score between 0 and 100)

  • Goal progress

  • Total burn

  • Walking equivalency

  • Steps

  • Low, medium, high activity times

  • Daily movement per hour

  • Workouts

The Activity score is being created from the following "contributors":

  • Stay active

  • Move every hour

  • Meet daily goals

  • Training frequency

  • Training volume

  • Recovery time


In this image I am holding the Oura ring in my hand to give another impression of its look.
The Oura Ring in my hand

Trends

The app also provides you with trends, where you can see your development over time (daily, weekly and monthly) which is pretty nice.


For some, the body temperature trend can be interesting or to see whether and how your heart rate variability develops over time. You can check all you deem to be relevant for your health.



Tags

You can add tags. A predefined set of tags to help you find patterns. The app will set some tags automatically, e.g. after starting an activity on your Apple Watch, it gets synchronized and so you get e.g. "Walking" as a tag (in case you went for a walk).



Much more

As you can see from this rather long chapter with all the features and metrics the ring is offering, there is an impressive power within the Oura ring. And still - there are many other features and benefits that are worth exploring as well as a nicely working integration into the health app.



Durability

I hope the ring will last for some years. Additionally, I hope the software gets updated with new features and fixes for a long time before a hardware change is needed.


They say, if your body can stand it, the ring can stand it too. And so far I agree with this: The ring is of course 100% waterproof and heatproof so that you can wear it while swimming, while being in the sauna, in the sun, at work, in bed, and so on and so forth.


After wearing it for 2 months, the ring did not get any scratches or bumps or anything else that will tell you by the look it has been worn. It still looks brand new. And I hope this status will stay for a bit longer and it is actually my expectation from a titanium ring.


I guess the battery will be the achilles heel and not the ring's shell. However, so far the battery works nicely and I need to charge the ring once a week. For me, that is realistic and doable.



Should you buy one, too?

Would I recommend the Oura ring to others?


Yes.


No question here.


Would I recommend using it as your only tracker for sleep and activity?


Not necessarily. I think having a smartwatch and the Oura ring is a perfect combination to tackle both activity and performance as well as recovery and relaxation. However - I was not having a high expectation on the activity tracker within the ring, but I am pretty impressed by it so far. So, depending on your needs, the Oura ring might work as your only activity tracker too.


But I would always opt-in for a combination of the Apple Watch and the Oura ring to get the most out of it.



What do you say? Are you interested in getting an Oura ring yourself? Let me know!

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