Oura Ring (Gen 3) review: One ring to rule them all

Big things come in very small packages.


14 Feb 2022 1

Oura Ring Gen 3 HandsonSource: Derrek Lee / Android Central

When it comes to health tracking, your choices all generally look the same. They usually come in some form of a wristband, whether it’s a smartwatch or any of the best fitness trackers. However, Oura takes a different approach to activity tracking and decides to put a ring on it with the Oura Ring Gen 3.

The third-generation Oura Ring refines on previous versions by including advanced sensors and more of them, making it nearly as capable as any wrist-based fitness tracker. It’s durable, lightweight, and discreet, and if it weren’t for the companion app, you’d almost forget it was there. Unlike smartwatches or fitness trackers, most of which include displays to futz around with and pull your attention away from what you’re doing, the Oura Ring Gen 3 is largely out of sight, out of mind.

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Just looking at the feature set, you can’t help but be impressed with everything Oura managed to squeeze into such a small space. But how does it all translate to real-life use?

Oura Ring Gen 3 review:

Oura Ring Gen 3

Bottom line: The Oura Ring Gen 3 is a fine activity tracker that gets the job done. With features like 24/7 heart rate monitoring, impressive sleep tracking, and personalized insights and recommendations, Oura proveS big things can come in small packages. All the features may not be available yet, and some may be locked behind a paywall, but the discreet design and long battery life just might be worth it.

The Good

  • Small, durable, discreet design
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Comprehensive health/activity tracking
  • Helpful nudges
  • Free 6-month subscription

The Bad

  • Slow charging
  • Awkward with weightlifting
  • Not all features are available yet
  • Useful features are hidden behind a paywall

Oura Ring Gen 3: Price and availability

Oura Ring Gen 3 LifestyleSource: Derrek Lee / Android Central

The Oura Ring Gen 3 was announced in October 2021. You can purchase the device through Oura’s website for $299 or $399, depending on the finish. It comes in a selection of colors, including silver, black, Stealth, and gold.

A free sizing kit is sent to you so you can decide what will be a good fit. You can also use this to share with friends and family so they can easily place orders if they’re interested.

There is a $6/month membership to access many features, such as insights and personalization. However, new members will get a 6-month free membership to try these features out, which is pretty nice.

Oura Ring Gen 3: The good stuff

Oura Ring Gen 3 AppSource: Derrek Lee / Android Central

At first glance, it’s just a regular ring. But once you look on the inside, you realize it’s so much more. It’s honestly kind of shocking that something so small can do so much. The Oura Ring Gen 3 is capable of some useful health tracking, the kind of stuff you’d find in a fitness tracker. Of course, given how small it is, you can’t expect the world, but it’s got down some of the basics while remaining surprisingly comfortable to wear. The titanium build keeps it light, but it still feels quite durable. And while the inside houses three protruding LED sensors, you don’t notice them at all when wearing the ring.

Those sensors are used for continuous heart rate monitoring (PPG), temperature sensing, and sleep tracking. Oura says that it’s stuffed 3x more sensors and 32x more memory into the Gen 3 compared to the previous model. This should enable much more accurate tracking, which owners of the previous Oura Ring may appreciate. Oura also says that the combination of all these sensors should enable it to help users detect if they’re sick, which is particularly important given the current COVID-19 crisis that’s still affecting much of the world.

Oura stuffed a lot of features into such a small device.

Bringing it all together is the Oura companion app, and it’s quite a good one. It features a striking visual representation of vitals, with the home screen showing your readiness and sleep scores. The latter score is calculated from a number of factors; your total sleep time, how much REM and deep sleep you had, and even the amount of time it took to fall asleep. I’m actually very impressed with its ability to track my sleep, and there was very little difference from what my smartwatch logged.

Then there’s your readiness score, which takes all of your measurements into account to tell you how ready you were to tackle the day. It’s based on how well you slept, body temperature, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and more. I appreciated it when the app would tell me to take a day of rest if I didn’t sleep well after an intense workout the previous day.

Source: Derrek Lee / Android Central

I also appreciate the nudges that I sometimes get if the ring notices that I haven’t been too active. If I’m being lazy (which is often), my phone will ping me with a notification from the Oura app, telling me that I should get up and stretch my legs. It’s almost embarrassing, but sometimes you need to get called out when you feel less than motivated. The Oura Ring will also nudge me to start getting ready for sleep based on my usual sleep patterns, which is also helpful.

Oura Ring can automatically detect various activities if you’re on iOS, but it doesn’t appear to be available on Android just yet. However, it’s easy to fill in the blanks thanks to its activity graphs to see when your heart rate was elevated or when it detects that you were on the move. So, for example, when I finish a workout, I can manually input a strength training session, and it will fill the information is based on my movement and heart rate. There’s also Google Fit integration, so it can automatically sync activity to and from my smartwatch.

Besides all the activity tracking features stuffed into the ring, I’m thoroughly impressed with the battery life. Oura says it should last from four to seven days, and in my use, I manage to get in a full week before needing to charge it. And I rarely take the thing off, so it’s tracking pretty much all the time.

Oura Ring Gen 3: What could use some work

Oura Ring Gen 3 ChargingSource: Derrek Lee / Android Central

Yet despite the impressive battery life, when it comes time for charging, it takes about as long to get the Oura Ring topped up. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you won’t find any kind of fast charging tech here. When the ring finally hit 4%, for example, it took nearly two hours to get it back to 100%. Fortunately, that works if you take some rest time, as the ring might suggest from time to time, but it could still be quicker.

As mentioned before, the Oura Ring Gen 3 has an impressively discreet design that I love. However, that design can work against it, too. As someone who does a lot of weightlifting, wearing the Oura Ring can often get in the way. It’s not necessarily with every workout that I notice it, but it’s present when benching or doing curls. Thanks to its titanium build, it’s a tough ring, but after even one set, I’ll notice a few scuffs that eventually turn into scratches.

As an activity tracking device, it shouldn’t get in the way when I’m doing activities, but weightlifters should be wary about wearing rings during workouts anyways. I wear gloves, which helps, but it’s not a perfect solution.

Source: Derrek Lee / Android Central

While it’s not really a gripe, a few features aren’t quite available yet. I already mentioned automatic activity detection, but menstrual tracking is also not available on Android just yet. That’s not really a problem for me, but it’s a notable omission and something the company tells me it’s working on bringing to Android devices soon.

A few primised features are still missing.

That also goes for SpO2 monitoring, workout heart rate tracking, and an updated sleep algorithm, all of which should give you deeper insights into your activity and overall readiness. These features are also coming soon, so hopefully, we won’t have to wait long. If anything, it’s impressive that Oura is managing to stuff even more features into this thing.

What I’m not too impressed with is the membership. It’s $6 per month and will give you access to many features that make the ring useful, such as insights and personalized recommendations. Sure, you get six months for free as a new member, and at this point, this kind of thing has become par-for-the-course for many fitness trackers, but it becomes an added cost on top of the already expensive ring.

Oura Ring Gen 3: Competition

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle 2Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

If you’re looking for something with a little more oomph, you’re probably looking for a fitness tracker. And no one makes them better than Fitbit. The latest Fitbit Charge 5 is an impressive little tracker that includes a color display. Plus, you get automatic workout detection, an ECG sensor, and tons more, thanks to the Fitbit Premium membership.

If you’re looking for something more akin to a smartwatch, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a great choice. It’s got an eight-day battery life, built-in GPS, access to music services like Spotify, and smart notifications, letting you respond to texts if you’re an Android user. And it’s cheaper than the Oura Ring.

Of course, if you want the full smartwatch experience, the Galaxy Watch 4 is the best you can buy. Battery life may not be as robust as the other options, but you get optional LTE so that you can leave your phone at home, and you have access to come impressive health and tracking features. Plus, Samsung’s new BIA sensor can measure your body composition to help you target areas you can improve on.

Oura Ring Gen 3: Should you buy it?

Oura Ring Gen 3 LifestyleSource: Derrek Lee / Android Central

You should buy this if …

  • You are looking for a good health tracking device.
  • You don’t want to be distracted by a display.
  • You want a stylish yet discreet accessory.

You shouldn’t buy this if …

  • You’re a weightlifter.
  • You’re looking for an inexpensive fitness tracker.
  • You need more advanced activity tracking.

The Oura Ring Gen 3 is for anyone that wants a discreet fitness tracker that won’t get in the way of most activities. You won’t be distracted by a display so that you can focus on your workout, and it appears like a regular ring that looks great. The companion app is also helpful and can provide personalized insights that will help guide your days to ensure you get the rest you need.

If you are a weightlifter, it will get in the way, which will force you to take the ring off and kind of defeats the purpose of having an activity tracker when it’s not actually tracking your workout. Plus, it’s pretty pricey, and there are cheaper alternatives.

4 out of 5    

The Oura Ring Gen 3 is a surprisingly excellent activity tracker for its size. Oura has squeezed tons of sensors into a small chassis, making it nicely discreet and largely inconspicuous. It gives remarkably detailed insights into your sleep and activity levels and can help you get the best out of your day by guiding you.

It’s not for everyone, particularly those that need a more robust feature set like an ECG sensor. But for most people that need basic health and fitness tracking, the Oura Ring Gen 3 should do the trick. Unfortunately, the price doesn’t make it too attractive for those people, particularly when you factor in the membership cost.

Many of the features you find in the Oura Ring can be found on other, cheaper fitness trackers and smartwatches. At this point, it seems like you’re paying for the novelty of its form factor, which is pretty impressive given what it’s capable of. But is the discreet design something you’re willing to pay a premium for? As someone who does a lot of weightlifting, not really. But I can see this being a useful investment for runners and swimmers.

Oura Ring Gen 3

Bottom line: Despite its high price, the Oura Ring Gen 3 is an impressive activity tracker. At first glance, you would think it to be a regular ring, but it’s so much more than that, with 3x more sensors and 32x more memory than the previous generation. And even with all that, you can still squeeze out a week’s worth of battery life.

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