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.
Now, you can keep track of that metric on both the iOS and Android companion app. The wearable’s Android app had been in beta for quite some time, but is now publicly available and boasts all the same features as the iOS app that was made available at launch.
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 its 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 would never need 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 beside 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 in 2017, but the team decided to delay the launch date to do some more tweaking. It was finally made available in September 2017 for $200. And in July 2018, Motiv released its Android app, which can help you track your movement, sleep stats, and resting heart rate. The app also works with Amazon Alexa, and can share tracked data with friends and family. The Android app supports Google Fit, too, which means you can see Motiv’s data alongside information collected by other apps and wearables. In total, 12 Android devices are supported: Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note 5 and Note 8, Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL.
If a fitness tracker on the wrist is too cumbersome for you, the Motiv Ring is worth a look.
Updated on July 24: Motiv’s Android app is finally out of beta.