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The best smart rings: The next frontier for wearable tech

Are smart rings really a thing? Something of a blip on the screen, smart rings got lost in the jumble of more popular wearables — eclipsed by a galaxy of flashy smartwatches and fitness trackers. Yet, these tiny wearables hung on in a kind of technical and popular limbo for a long time. Some smart rings are designed as fashion items, while others fulfill a variety of specific purposes like NFC payments, sending and receiving notifications, controlling your smartphone, fitness functionality, and sleep tracking.

While they haven’t made as big a splash as the coveted Apple Watch, perhaps it is time for smart rings to emerge as favored wearables. Let’s face it, not everyone likes wearing something on their wrist all day and night. Smart rings can be more comfortable and useful than watches or bracelets because they are less obtrusive. Despite a relative paucity, there are a variety of smart rings out there — here are a few models we like.

Ōura Ring

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The Oura Ring is an elegant minimalist smart ring that resembles a wedding band. It specifically tracks your activity, sleep, and readiness 24/7. It registers body temperature while you sleep and tracks your body temperature baseline and any variations to compare values over time. Infrared LEDs measure blood volume pulse from your finger’s palmar arteries. Its 3D accelerometer and gyroscope track the intensity of body movement for active and inactive intervals. The ring generates readiness insights to help you aim for peak performance and determine when to rest. It shows how your body recovers from exercise, stress, and fatigue and reveals your heart rate variability. It also tracks daily activities, calories, and steps.

Using its dedicated mobile app, you can set daily targets and on-demand meditation tracking that measures resting heart rate and heart rate variability to measure the impact of meditation sessions, practices, and effects on the body. The Ōura Ring comes in silver, black, and Stealth in Balance or Heritage shapes. The Diamond model is $999, so it’s definitely on the pricier side.

Keydex NFC Multi-function Ring

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This lovely ring comes in three colors and patterns made from hard, scratch-resistant ceramic. This material avoids the allergic reactions people may experience with metallic rings, while at the same time minimizing signal and antenna interference. Certified to be IP68, the ring is waterproof and can be submerged at 30 meters for up to one hour. Working in conjunction with an iOS or Android app, you can use the ring to instantly unlock smartphone screens, edit contacts, check websites, send texts, and more. The Keydex NFC Multi-function Ring is not a fitness ring but concentrates on letting you customize and perform actions on your phone.

Leagway R3 Smart Ring

Leagway R3 Smart Ring
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This multifunction ring — designed for Android and Windows phone systems — keeps sensitive information like schedules, accounts, and memos secure so you can touch to share websites, images, and more. Just set the screen and app locks to let the ring preserve your privacy. The ring’s exterior is made of epoxy crystal ceramic with germanium grain, volcanic magnet, and far-infrared energy stone — the trace elements supposedly improve your metabolism and promote blood circulation. The Leagway R3 Smart Ring is waterproof, dustproof, and durable upon impact. It does not require battery charging. It supports phone brands like the Nokia, Sony, Samsung, HTC, MIUI, and all other NFC-enabled Android and Windows Phone systems that support NFC.

Oumij Smart Ring

Oumij Smart Ring
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The Oumij Smart Ring uses NFC radio frequency communication technology and a mobile phone connection to control functionality and data sharing with your smartphone. Use the ring to touch your phone to launch any app while protecting personal privacy. The built-in, ultra-sensitive, multifunctional NFC ring is comfortable, easy to wear, and requires no charging. Its main function is to store and exchange personal information, as well as mobile content with personal privacy encryption.

Opn NFC Ring

Opn smart ring
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With the Opn NFC Ring you can unlock phones and doors, share data, and link up with people, all with the scratch-resistant ceramic ring offering a balance between good looks and functionality. Its newly updated antenna widens the operating range to work in multiple orientations and with enhanced compatibility with many devices and digital door locks. This ring is not payment enabled though, so keep that in mind if contactless payments are a must.

Go2sleep Ring

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The Go2Sleep ring is the opposite of bling. It is designed as a medical device to wear unobtrusively, giving you insight into your physical condition as you sleep and letting you monitor your sleep time, stage, AHI index, heart rate, blood oxygen, and even restlessness. The ring uses the capillaries on your fingers to help Go2Sleep provide significantly more accurate detection data in a more comfortable wearable. For example, the Go2Sleep ring can work through the app on your phone to detect whether your blood oxygen saturation is lower than optimal, trigger an alert, and have the ring vibrate to awaken you. If you set up a Facebook account and synchronize the data to your smartphone, you can add other family members to the monitoring list. The free iOS and Android apps offer a graphic sleep report and trends for heart rate, motion, and blood oxygen level.

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Jackie Dove
Jackie is an obsessive, insomniac tech writer and editor in northern California. A wildlife advocate, cat fan, and photo app…
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