Motiv smart ring tracks ‘active minutes,’ because step counters are so 2015

Motiv Ring fitness tracker is now available and shipping in the U.S. for $200

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s not hard to find a fitness tracking wearable for the wrist, but options run thin when you want a device that’s a little more subtle — especially one with a heart rate monitor. Motiv’s solution is a ring, but instead of focusing on steps and calories, the sleek device puts your active minutes front and center.

Active minutes are the amount of time you exert energy via “moderate-intensity aerobic activity.” Regular walks don’t count, but brisk walks or any intensive activity that can work up a sweat do. Trackers from Fitbit and other companies already measure active minutes, but the Motiv Ring is one of few to prioritize the metric over anything else.

The Motiv Ring tracks your steps, calories burned, active and resting heart rate, activity type, and distance traveled like most fitness trackers, but its priority is to make sure you hit the goal of 150 active minutes per week. It’s the same amount time the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends for adults in a 2008 physical activity report, as the benefits include “lower risk of premature death, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and depression,” through improving overall cardiovascular health.

The company, which was founded by former NASA, Apple, Cisco, and Intel employees, has been in stealth mode since 2013. Co-founder Mike Strasser told Digital Trends his team developed the Motiv Ring to create a fitness tracking device that was comfortable and fashionable enough to wear all the time.

Lightweight and subtle

If you’re comfortable wearing a ring, you won’t feel a difference with the Motiv. It looks like a traditional ring, and that’s a good thing. It’s quite light with a metallic titanium shell, and it’s not bulky. On the inside is a heart rate sensor, and Motiv’s logo.

When you pre-order the device, Motiv sends a ring-sizing kit that lets you try on seven sizes to ensure a perfect fit. Use the redemption code in the kit on Motiv’s website or app to purchase the ring in your size and have it shipped to you — you don’t have to ship the kit back to the company. The ring comes in slate gray and rose gold.

How it works

The Motiv Ring packs a Bluetooth sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, an optical heart rate monitor, and a lithium-ion battery. The heart rate monitor isn’t active all the time. Rather, it triggers whenever it detects the user engaging in intensive activity. The more active the user, the shorter the battery life, though the company claims the ring should last three days.

What’s neat is the charging mechanism for the ring: A magnetic charger snaps onto the inside of the ring, and all you need to do is plug it into a USB port. There’s also a key chain charger included in the box, and the ring fully charges in 90 minutes. An LED indicator lets you know when the ring needs to charge, is syncing, or updating, and the companion app offers notifications when the ring is fully charged.

The San Francisco-based company wanted to ensure the device never needed to be taken off, except to charge. That’s why the Motiv Ring is waterproof up to 5 ATM, or about 160 feet underwater.

It also tracks sleep patterns, so users can wear it to bed to monitor their sleep history and improve it over time.

What’s unique about the Motiv Ring is it measures your progress weekly, not daily. If you only hit a certain number of active minutes on one day, it will adjust the numbers for the rest of the week to make sure you can still hit the primary goal.

The ring can track other types of activity other than running and walking, but in the event the automatic tracking feature is wrong, you can add or edit the type of activity via the app.

Release date and price

The Motiv Ring was originally set to release earlier this year, but the team decided to delay the launch date to do some more tweaking. It’s finally available now for $200. You can purchase it on Motiv’s website. Sadly, the ring is only compatible with the iPhone 5S and newer iPhones that run iOS 9 or higher. An Android companion app is in the works.

If a fitness tracker on the wrist is too cumbersome for you, the Motiv Ring is worth a look.