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Oura Ring Review: Revolutionary New Smart Ring Continues To Impress

 

It has been a long wait (far to long in fact, more on that soon), but I finally have my new 2018 Oura Ring wearable.

Better than that, I have had it for a few months now so I have a lot of thoughts (both good and bad) on this new version of the Oura Ring. So for all your wonderful folk who have been waiting for my  Oura Ring review, the wait is over!

Grab a coffee, sit back and let's take a good look at the updated Oura Ring.

Pros:

  • Sleek and slim new design
  • Accurate sleep tracking
  • Greatly improved battery life (one week)
  • Low nnEMF output with airplane mode
  • Brand new app with insights into all aspects of your body, sleep & health 

Cons:

  • New rings are prone to scratching
  • App does not utilise the vast data the oura ring collects as powerfully as you would expect
  • The activity tracking is poor, especially compared to other devices
  • Premium price tag for a wearable ($299usd starting price) Though use discount code ALEXFERGUS to save on this price
  • Extremely long shipping times (8 weeks as of Oct 2018) 

This comprehensive review of the new 2018 generation 2 version of the Oura Ring is rather detailed. If you would prefer to skip to a certain part of the review, please click the links below, otherwise read on.

Short On Time? Watch My 5 Minute Oura Ring 2 Review:

Intro: All You Need To Know About The Oura Ring  

What Is The Oura Ring?

A quick browse on the Oura Ring website reveals the following tag line:

The most accurate, comfortable and beautiful wearable available.

We'll get to whether that claim is true later in this review. But if that statement still doesn't answer the question of what exactly the Oura Ring is, let me try:

The Oura Ring is a ring sized health, fitness and sleep wearable that utilises cutting edge technology to accurately show the wearer how they slept, the state of their health, their activity levels amongst other things. The waterproof ring fits on a finger of your choice and syncs to your smartphone where the Oura Ring app reveals all this data in beautiful displays.

Think of an Oura Ring as a Fitbit that goes on your finger. Except the Oura Ring doesn't have any buttons or screens, and the data the Oura Ring collects seems to be much more accurate than wrist based wearables (well this is true for the sleep and body data, activity data not so much, but we'll cover that later).

The first Oura ring was released in 2016. This new and improved second generation Oura Ring was announced at the end of 2017 and started shipping in 2018.

What Does The Oura Ring Do?

For such a tiny device, the Oura Ring does a lot!

The ring has the following sensors:

  • Body Temperature Sensor
  • Infrared Optical LED sensors - used to measure pulse via your fingers arteries.
  • 3D Accelerometer & Gyroscope - allowing the ring to measure motion and activity

From these sensors, the ring is able to accurately measure:

  1. Heart Rate
  2. Heart Rate Variability
  3. Respiration Rate
  4. Movement & Activity
  5. Body Temperature
  6. Sleep data including sleep stages, sleep latency, wake times etc

The ring is constantly taking in data. Of which 6 weeks worth of data which can be stored in the rings onboard memory chip.

 

How Does The Oura Ring Work?

I don't want to spend too much time on this section as I've already covered the Oura Ring technology in great detail in THIS article. Also, the OuraRing.com site does a great job of answering this question and finally I want to focus more on the review, not on the mechanics of the ring. 

How Much Does It Cost?

Their are 3 versions of the Oura Ring. Techincally they are all the same witht he same features, the only difference is the design.

The base model starts at $299usd, and then there is a $399 design option and a ultra premium $999usd diamond Oura ring.

Note: Oura have given me a discount code to share with my readers. So if you are going to buy a ring, enter discount code ALEXFERGUS to save on the above prices. Or enter your address below and I'll email you this code so you can continue reading the review.

How is it Different to the First Generation Ring?

In a nutshell:

  • New Shape and Smaller Size

The new 2018 Oura Ring is a lot smaller, in fact it's less than half the size of the original. It has an appearance similar to a mens wedding band. Also, with the new ring comes 2 design variants - the Balance (which has a subtle raised point) and the Heritage (which has a flat raised edge).

  • Improved Battery

The first gen Oura ring had a battery life of 2-3 days, though most users charged it every day. The new Oura Ring has a whooping 1 week battery life. Amazing given how small the new ring is! 

Left - New Oura Ring (Silver Balance). Centre - Old Oura Ring. Right - New Oura Ring (Stealth Heritage)

  • Wireless Charging Ability

The original ring required placing the ring into a charging dock. This won't be needed with the new ring.

The charging time using wireless charging will take 20-80 minutes for a full charge depending on charge frequency. 

The new charging unit is also much smaller in size.

  • Improved Technology

Inside the ring there have been technological advancements. The body temperature sensor has been upgraded, it is now accurate to 0.05 centigrade. And the CPU is 10 times more powerful than the original ring.

  • New & Improved Software

This includes a brand new app (though I should mention this app will also work with gen 1 ring wearers). This app allows wearers to take notes, add tags and also has more user specific recommendations for the user (for example, the app will look at all your data and determine your optimal bed time for best performance and recovery).

For those of you who want to know more about the differences between the old and the new Oura Ring, have a read of the article 'Everything You Need To Know About The New Oura Ring' as I have covered this topic in a lot more detail there. 

 

What are my thoughts on the Ring?

All this is covered below in my comprehensive 2018 Oura Ring Review! Top up the coffee and read on.

 

*** Part 1: The Oura Ring Itself ***

Let's start with the ring itself. Later on in this review I will take a look at the application (part 2) and then my answers to your most pressing questions (part 3).

The Ring: First Impressions 

I guess I've had a few 'first impressions' with this new ring. I was at the launch event in Finland where I got to play with prototype rings moments after they were revealed to the world. You can see that video below. But in all honestly, it's not the best video.

Then later on at that same event I got to compare the two designs:

And then a few months later I received my Oura Ring in the mail and recorded this first impressions video review (which is probably the best clip to watch out of the 3!) 

But if you didn't watch the video, here are my first impressions:

  • It's Light

Very light! The new ring is made out of titanium metal, that combined with the fact it's so much smaller than the first ring make it super light.

In all honesty, I thought this was a bit off putting at first - it was so light that I thought it felt cheap. Some plastic ring you would pick up from a $2 shop.

But of course we know that's not the case, this is a high tech wearable ring made of ultra strong titanium. After a few months of wearing the Oura Ring, I know longer have this 'cheap' feeling when I handle the ring.

Looking back I think it was simply due to my experience wearing the much heavier (and bigger) ceramic first generation ring. Now it doesn't bother me. Saying that, when I do give the ring to someone else to handle, they always comment how light it feels.

  • It's Small

Insanely small. Now I know there are much smaller rings on the market, but when it comes to smart rings - rings that have batteries, sensors, memory chips and processors inside them, you have to admit it is quite an engineering feat! 

How they fit all this tech into such a sleek design is beyond me, but it's in there, and you have to admit it is pretty cool. Most people who think it's simply a jewellery piece get a surprise when I show them the inside of the ring - exposing the sensors and the chip.

From left to right - size 8 silver balance, my wedding band, size 13 stealth heritage

 

  • It's Rather Plain

I know people aren't buying Oura Rings for it's aesthetic looks (but I do know people weren't buying gen 1 Oura Rings for this very reason), but there isn't anything remarkable about the new Ring.

Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me personally it's a good thing. I'm not a fashion guy, and other than my wedding ring, I don't wear jewellery. The new ring suits me, it's smaller size and 'typical' design don't attract attention. But at the same time it doesn't look like some super geeky device that only computer nerds would be proud wearing.

Though some people might not want a plain 'wedding band' looking ring on their finger.

Silver size 8 Balance on my wifes hand

But hey, if it's good enough for Prince Harry to wear, then it should be good enough for the rest of us!

Oh, and for those that want to stand out from the crowd, there is always the $999 diamond encrusted Oura Ring.

The Ring: Design & Size

In my review of the first generation Oura Ring I was impressed with the design and build quality of the ring. In fact, I stated:

It really is a well put together together. Sleek edges, gloss finishes and nicely shaped, all made out of ceramic zirconia with no metals. If Apple made rings it would be of this standard. 

Does this still apply to the new Oura Ring? Quite simply the answer is no.

The new ring is nice, don't get me wrong, it's sleek, slim and feels strong - all great things for a wearable, especially one you wear on your finger. But it doesn't have the same 'wow' factor that the first ring had.

The first ring was definitely a fashion item, it was bold, it was big and it has heavy - it had a presence to it. People noticed it. A lot of people noticed it! Most had no idea it was a smart device with electronics on the inside, they simply thought it was a fashion statement.

Other's did recognise it as an Oura Ring - and were eager to ask how I liked it.

None of this has happened in the months that I have being wearing the new slim profile Oura Ring.

Like I mentioned above - this isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I personally feel more comfortable wearing the new ring than the old.

Smaller Size

As for the size though, I love it being so smaller. The number of times my old Oura ring would get caught on my pocket or clip the table to a loud bang or catch on some tools I would use in the workshop was rather high!

This new ring doesn't have these problems. 

For guys out there, if you wear a conventional wedding band, the Oura Ring is not much different to that. Maybe a little thicker but otherwise you could easily pass it off for a wedding band.

As for female wearers -my wife is happy wearing hers (silver, balance design) and doesn't see any issues wearing it (her main concern was that it would be too bulky, but after wearing it she doesn't have this concern).

Designs

Speaking of designs, their are two design options - Balance and Heritage.

To be honest in reality there isn't much difference between the two designs. Many people have emailed me asking which design I like better, but after seeing both designs close up in person, there really isn't that much of a difference.

In the marketing materials the two designs seem very different, the balance with a single peak forming on the ring, and the heritage having a flat top. But when you see them side by side in life, you realise that the differences are quite subtle.

I think a few customers will get a surprise when they get their rings, and some may even be disappointed by this. I personally thought the unique design characteristics would be more pronounced. But I wasn't disappointed by this, it is merely and observation (Remember, I'm a practical guy, I brought my ring for it's function!) 

The biggest difference between the rings are the colour options.

When you order your Oura Ring you first choose your shape (Heritage or Balance) and then you chose your colour. The colour options include:

  • Silver
  • Black (glossy)
  • Rose
  • Stealth Black (matte black) 

I have the stealth black ring and I'm happy with it. Though it is $100 more expensive to get the stealth black colour over the other colour options.

If I lost this ring and had to buy a new ring I would save my money and get the standard black ring. I don't think the $100 extra was worth it. Also, the stealth black is only available on the Balance ring design.

The new Oura Rings. On the left we have the Balance designs (Silver and Rose), centre the Balance Diamond, on the Right we have the Heritage design (Black and Stealth)

I guess the stealth finish is a bit of a status symbol between Oura users. But if status is your thing, then you really need to go for the Diamond option.

The silver diamond option is only available in the Balance shape, and comes in at a whopping $999. 

This version has 5 small diamonds only the balance 'peak' and is sure to stand out from the crowd at your next Oura Ring meetup!

But remember, all designs and all colours have the same features - the only difference is the look.

Oh and a final thing - there are various ring size options to suit all finger types. This isn't a one size fits all product. 

 

The Ring: Battery & Charger

Finally we have a ring sized wearable that has decent battery life!

The Oura Ring has enough juice to go an entire week between charges.

The previous ring had a life of 2-3 days, so if you went away for a long weekend and forgot your charging dock you would often lose some of your data. Correction - you wouldn't lose the data, it would be saved on the ring, but when the battery hit a certain level, the sensors would stop operating, so you wouldn't get your precious sleep data.

This hasn't happened to me with the new ring. In fact it's great - if I go away for a night or two now I don't have to pack my Oura charging dock as I know I'll have enough charge to get me through the trip.

Though I must admit, I do still find myself charging the ring every day. Part of this is simply because I've been charging my old ring every morning for a few years, so it's engrained in my morning routine.

But the bigger reason is because I leave my ring in airplane mode (more on this soon), and I disable this function (so I can sync the data on my ring with the app) by putting it on the charger. Because I'm eager to see how I slept each morning, I find myself charging my ring every morning!

The Battery Life & Charge Times

So how long does the battery really last ? And how long does it take to recharge the ring? 

Well I did a wee experiment to find out.

I charged my ring to 100% one morning, and then every morning going forward I checked the battery level. Here is what I found:

  • Day 0 100%
  • Day 1 - 89%
  • Day 2 - 75%
  • Day 3 - 68%
  • Day 4 - 58%
  • Day 5 - 47%
  • Day 6 - 37%
  • Day 7 - I forgot to check!
  • Day 8 - 20%

Yeah I know, I screwed up on Day 7! But still I got 8 days of use out of my ring and I still had a 20% charge. Not to bad!

Two things to note - 1, my ring is always in airplane mode. So if you had the bluetooth on I'd say your milage wouldn't be as good. I don't want to test this as I don't like the idea of having a bluetooth emitting device on me 24/7 for a week. 

Maybe someone else can test it and report back?!

2, on day 8 my app told me that my ring battery was low and that I should charge it before going to sleep that night. I'm assuming (based on past experiences) that if I didn't charge my ring that day it wouldn't have tracked my sleep that night. But I may be wrong, it may cut off at 10%. Again, I haven't tested this.

Anyway, based on this data we can conclude that you will easily get a weeks worth of charge from your Oura Ring, and that on average it drops around 10% a day. 

As for how long it takes to recharge the battery - well from the 20% back to 100% it took 40 minutes.

Though I don't like charging it this way - you're more likely to leave it on the charger and forget it for the day (missing all that valuable data!)

Instead, I like charging it for a few minutes every morning whilst I do my red light therapy session or have a shower and get changed.

The Wireless Charger

The new wireless charger is a great upgrade to the previous Oura Ring charger. Not only is it smaller, it seems to charge rather quickly.

Plus it uses wireless charging technology, so there are not metal contacts you need to line up or plugs to connect. You simply drop the ring on the charging pad and away it goes.

There is a neat little white light on the front of the charging pad that pulses when the ring is charging and remains on when it's completely charged. Simple yet effective.

Now there is one pet peeve I have with the charging unit. And this won't bother most users - but it bothers me. The charging device is specific to each ring size.

So my wife has a small size 8 balance silver ring. I have a large size 13 ring. I thought we would both be able to charge from the same unit, but that is not the case. She has to use her charger, I must use mine.

In a world full of cables, adapters and chargers, this is annoying. If we were to go away for a long holiday, we would both have to pack our own chargers. Likewise on a day to day basis - we both have to have our own chargers out taking up space.

Again, not a deal breaker, and this won't bother the single folk out there or couples who only have one ring between them, but it bothers me, and this is my review, so I'm including it in here. 

The Ring: Airplane mode nnEMF Levels

I often get asked to compare the Whoop vs the Oura Ring, or the Fitbit vs the Oura Ring or all sorts of other wearables vs the Oura Ring. I have never done this because I don't have the experience with any of these devices to put together an informed review.

The response is 'well buy one, use it and get that experience'. But the thing is I don't want to wear these other wearables.

Why? Because they have no airplane function.

Call me crazy, but I'm seriously concerned about the exposure that non-native electromagnetic fields (nnEMF) has on our health. So the thought of having a piece of technology that is constantly emitting EMF signals in close proximity to my body - especially at night time - scares me.

This is why I stumbled upon the Oura Ring all those years ago - it had an airplane feature. You could disable the bluetooth on the unit. Amazing.

Fortunatley the new Oura Ring continues to have this function, so I can rest assured knowing that the wearable that is tracking all these amazing data about my body, isn't having a negative impact on my health.

When the Oura Ring is in airplane mode, the bluetooth transmitter is disabled, but the sensors (that don't emit any nnEMF) are still working.

To put the ring into airplane mode, you simply sync it up with your phone using bluetooth, then hit the 'airplane' mode setting and you're done. The ring will not sync with your phone in this state.

To reactivate the bluetooth transmitter on the ring, I simply put the ring back on the charging pad. After a second or two this re-enables the transmitter within the ring and allows you to sync the ring to your phone.

Simple.

 

The Ring: Does It Scratch & Toughness

I thrashed my first Oura Ring. I swam with it, I went to the beach with it, I had saunas followed by ice baths with it. I trained (hard and heavy) with it and I wore it every day for a good 2 years.

In all that time, I never had any scratches. To me it was bulletproof. But there were reports of rings breaking doing regular daily tasks, so maybe I was lucky, or they were unlucky...

Anyhow, the new ring isn't made of ceramic, instead it's made of titanium. Super tough titanium.

In the few months I've had my ring, I have continued to thrash it. I wear it every day on the farm. I have been swimming in the ocean with it. I have regular sauna sessions with it. And I have used it in the gym.

The ring itself is still solid as day one.

But, there are some scratches on the paint work.

In the video belong I take a knife to my brand new Oura ring, immediately you can see the scratch from this knife:

I know this is rather extreme, but it indicated to me that the ring was not bulletproof when it came to scratches.

So nearly two months after this knife marking (with lots of daily use in the garden, on the farm, around the gym), how is the ring looking?

Well here is a photo for you:

As you can see, there are some minor scuff marks, especially around the edges.

The most pronounced scratch is still my letter 'A' from the knife. But I'm curious to see what it will look like in 2 years time.

For those of you who like things to stay new and shiny, you may want to go with the silver ring, or even the standard black glossy ring. I do wonder if the stealth (matte black) is more prone to showing scratches. 

My wife only wears her ring when sleeping,  her ring still looks as good as new, so unfortunatley I can't report on that ring. But maybe someone else can share some images of their ring after a few months of physical abuse?

Toughness

Speaking of physical abuse - this ring is tough. I am not worried about breaking it. With my gen 1 ring I was always never it would crack (yet it never did). This ring has a titanium cover, so unless something gets underneath the ring, in between my finger and the ring, I doubt anything could damage the vital electronics within.

And too date I haven't heard of any Oura Ring users reporting damage to their ring.

The ring is also water proof, temperature resilient (it was designed in Finland - the home of saunas!) and all electronics are completely sealed off to dust and moisture (thanks to the wireless charging design). So I don't see any reason why you would have to take this off for regular daily tasks.

Gym Use 

Oura do recommend taking the ring off when lifting weights. I never followed this advice with my old ring, and continue to wear my new ring when training.

I will shoot some videos of my training with the ring so you can see how it holds up. Stayed tuned for that.

 

 

*** Part 2: The Oura App & Software ***

In part 2 I am going to review the software side of the Oura Ring. The main software is the Oura Ring app, but there is also a new (and very useful) cloud dash, so I will cover that as well.

Finally I will touch on the coaching platform, as this will interest personal trainers and health coaches.

The App: First Impressions and Overview

As soon as the new Oura app was rolled out earlier in 2018 (prior to the shipping date of the new oura ring) I recorded this 'first impressions' video:

Since then, the app has changed a little - there have been numerous app updates, fixing bugs, tweaking the design, adding more graphs and data metrics and making it all easier to use.

The app has been completely redesigned from the first generation app, but the new app will continue to work with the first generation ring.

Note: the below review is based on the iPhone version of the Oura Ring app, and is current as of 23 October 2018.

When you open up the app, if bluetooth is switched on on your phone the app will immediately try and sync with your ring. 

The home screen shows you your readiness score on the top of the screen, last nights sleep data, your activity data for the day and the time you went to bed at last night.

You may also get a brief comment based on your Oura data - such as 'You're Making Progress' or 'Concentrate On Recovery'

These comments reflect the quality of your sleep and your other metrics. Though neat at first, you soon stop paying attention to them after a few months of use.

From this main screen you can:

  • hit the menu button on the top left of the screen (allowing you to go into the settings for the ring, and to jump into the sleep, activity, readiness and trends screens - more on this later)
  • the bluetooth button on the top right which shows you the battery level of your ring (if it's synced) and allows you to enable airplane mode
  • Down the bottom you can hit the 'calendar' button, this will show you how your sleep, activity and readiness scores have been for the entire month. You will receive a crown on days where you get a high score (I think it's 85 and above, but I may be wrong). To be honest, I never use this screen
  • Next to the calendar button you will see the date of the data you are looking at, you can scroll left or right to change dates. The double arrows on the right side of the screen take you back to todays date.

  • Finally, down the bottom you can hit the '+' symbol. This opens up the notes screen. Here you can add notes or tags for each day.

All this does though is adds an entry to your data so if you ever go back to this day in the app you will see your note. I would have really liked to see this tag/note feature utilised better (I'll explain more about this later).

 

The App: Sleep Tracking

I'll be honest with you, the main reason I use my Oura Ring is for the sleep data. The readiness data is a nice bonus, and I couldn't care less about the Activity data. But everyone is different, and I'm sure their are Oura users out their who are the complete opposite to me.

Nevertheless, I really like the sleep component of the app. This is where the ring shines. The data I get from the ring about my sleep is so valuable. 

I can see what happens to my sleep when I sleep on a $10,000 mattress for example (read about that experience HERE), or when I experiment with incline bed therapy, or after I drink a few glasses of wine!

This feedback provides me with information to adapt and improve. Personally, I think this feedback is so important for anyone who wants to improve their sleep and health. You can read more about this in my article The Importance Of Feedback For Improving Sleep, Health & Performance.

Back to the review... when you go into the Sleep dash in the app you will be presented with a screen like this:

As you can see from the screenshot above, this screen will show you all your key sleep data, including your overall sleep score.

When you scroll down, you will see the breakdown of this score in your sleep contributors section:

Here the app shows you:

  • Total sleep
  • Sleep efficiency (time spent awake vs sleeping)
  • Tranquility (how many times you woke up)
  • REM sleep - time and percentage
  • Deep sleep - time and percentage
  • Sleep latency (time it took to fall asleep)
  • Sleep timing (when you went to bed in relation to your environments light/dark cycles

You can click on each 'contributor' to see more information about what it means and what a good score is.

This breakdown screen shows you a heap of information about what is going well and what is not going well in regards to your sleep.

For instance, in the data above, even though I had a great nights sleep (my sleep score was 90, and I slept for nearly 9.5 hours), I can see that my deep sleep score was lower than I would like, at only 1 hour 3 minutes long. If this trend continued (low levels of deep sleep) then I know I would have to look at working on this (read my article on deep sleep to learn more).

Below this screen we next see the sleep stages:

This data shows what stages of sleep you were in throughout the night. Again this may reveal patterns such as frequent waking every 90minutes.

You can also scroll left and right to see all this data for other days.

 

The App: Readiness & Recovery Tracking

My next favourite screen in the app is the Readiness screen. Oura Ring claim that the data from the ring allows the user to optimise recovery and to know when to push hard and when to take it easy and recharge.

I won't go into the science and technical explanation behind this readiness data, as I have already taken a deep deep dive in my first review that you can read HERE.

In a nutshell though, the Oura Ring looks at all your past data including sleep score, sleep balance, activity levels, body temperature, resting heart rate and other metrics. From these it will calculate your daily readiness score.

This is meant to provide you with a simple way to know the state your body is in.

As a recreational athlete, and someone who is striving for optimal health and to get the most out of my day, I really like this feature.

I understand the importance of body temperature monitoring (read about that HERE) and even resting heart rate and heart rate variability (read more HERE), so to have a device that tracks all this data for me, and combines it with a range of other metrics and then gives me a score interpreting all this data makes my life much easier!

Every morning after I look at my sleep data, I look at my readiness score. Actually, tell a lie, the first figure I look at when I open my Oura app is in-fact my readiness score, as Oura have this on the top of the home screen in the app.

If you see this number has dropped drastically, or continues to be low, you know you need to take it easy.

For those who want to learn more about their bodies state, like you do on the sleep screen, you can simply scroll down to see how this score was determined.

In the screen shot above, I can see my readiness score from the blue/green bars (higher is better), and you can see my resting heart rate plotted over top (white dots).

Often people get confused with this screen, thinking the resting HR figures are actually the readiness score. It's something I often trip up on. One other note - in the data above, on the day my resting heart rate was 57, I had two bottles of apple cider with dinner followed by a later bed time and I wasn't wearing my blueblocker glasses prior to sleep. As a result yu can see my readiness score dropped and my resting HR was elevated.

Beneath that chart we see the Heart Rate Variability data. This HRV data is tracked while sleeping. Unfortunatley the ring does not track HRV or heart rate data during the day. The reasons are due to the way the ring sensors work. For this heart rate related date it requires little to no finger movement - something that takes place when we are sleeping, but not during the day.

Some people don't like this about the ring - and I know it would be nice to have even more data, but HRV data is not very useful during the day. I cover all this in much more detail in my article How To Easily Measure Your Heart Rate Variability. Within this article I also look at how the Oura Ring is measuring HRV data, so have a read of that if you want to know more about the technical side of the ring.

The HRV data is taken at 5 minute intervals, and is presented in the graph above. From this data you can see your highest reading and also the HRV night time average.

Scroll down further and you will see your heart rate data from the night.

Your average resting heart rate and your lowest value are also shown here (though you can't quite see it on the screen above).

Again, these graphs reveal some interesting facts - if you have a big meal close to bed you will see the impact that has on your resting heart rate. If you are fighting off a bug you will see an elevated heart rate. If you have a few drinks your heart rate will be much higher in the first half of your night as the body processes it.

It's things like this that make the Oura ring so special - you can learn about your body and adapt accordingly.  You might think that one beer isn't having an impact on your sleep. Then when you compare the nights you don't drink with the nights you do and see how different your sleep score and readiness scores are.

It really is a neat feature of the ring, and it's why I continue to wear my ring even though my sleep is - what I consider to be - near perfect. I just love knowing how resilient my body is.

For athletes, this data is so valuable, it can help you determine when to push hard on training and when to back off. It can show you how effective your diet or new training program is. It can help you optimise your recovery and taper off so you are at your peak performance come game day.

The possibilities are endless.

 

The App: Activity Tracking

Now for the one screen I don't check on a daily basis.

When you open the Activity dash in the Oura app you see something like this:

Here you see the activity number (98 in the screen above) and your activity breakdown in the charts a long the top. Your activity is split between low, medium and high.

Beneath that you see your calculated caloric expenditure from activity a long with (what Oura thinks) to be your daily target.

You see your total caloric burn, your see your steps and walking equivalent.

Now, a big reason why I don't spend much time on this screen is because I simply don't care about the data.

I am not a fan of counting calories, and I think tracking calories is rather silly if you are trying to lose weight (have a read of my controversial article Are You A Calorie Counting Fool? for more).

But, that aside, some people do like tracking calories, and some people want to know how many steps they do on a daily basis. Fair enough, I want to know what my deep sleep score is and my average HRV is every day, so I can understand why people want to see these other metrics.

But here lies the second reason I don't spend much time in this section of the app, I simply don't think it's very accurate.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the sleep and readiness data. I know it's very accurate (after years being involved in high level sports, being immersed in the world of biohacking, and with 3 years of Oura Ring data under my belt, I have got to a stage where I know my body and I know the Oura Ring data matches what I feel). In fact, there is published research showing how accurate the sleep data is - The Sleep of the Ring: Comparison of the ŌURA Sleep Tracker Against Polysomnography.

But when it comes to the Oura Ring and activity, I simply don't see this same level of accuracy.

It's my understanding the activity the ring picks up on is based purely on movement. Even though the ring can track heart rate, body temperature, HRV and a range of other metrics, this data isn't used when it comes to activity calculations.

Now I may be wrong on this (Oura, if you are reading, please feel free to elaborate!), but this was the case with the first ring, and I don't think much has changed on the activity front with the new 2018 Oura Ring.

As I mentioned earlier, the ring needs stillness to track heart rate measurements, hence why it can't use heart rate when determining activity.

To prove that Oura know their activity algorithm is somewhat limited, the app has a function for the user to input activity:

So after you go for a run, or lift some weights, you should enter this data into the app to update your activity figures. Of course we then have to wonder how accurate this data is. Is your 'medium intensity weight training' the same as my 'medium intensity' training? And do you count the time spent warming up and in between sets, or just the actual time you were lifting weights?

Do you see why I have issues with the activity data?

Another example, a few weeks ago I mowed our lawns with a motorised push mower. And before that I used a weed-whacker to trim the edges around our garden.

Both activities don't require too much on the body. The equivalent of a bush walk perhaps. But according to Oura, this was a highly intensive activity:

Yet when I was out building a fence on a steep hill - lugging posts up and down, ramming these posts into the ground, and having to hammer in staples etc - the ring thought I was only doing low intensity work. 

I have even heard from other users that their keyboard typing has been picked up as moderate level activity. I personally haven't noticed this, but all these stories prove my point - the Oura Ring isn't very good as an activity tracker.

Don't get me wrong, it's going to show you when have been lazy and when you have been out and about. Case in point, the below trend shows my average activity reading:

Guess what happened mid May? I moved from the city to my farm. Prior to moving, I would go for a 30minute walk in the morning and then work from my computer all day. I only trained once a week.

After moving, I am out building fences, preparing garden beds, moving cattle, exploring my new property, going on bush walks, mowing lawns etc. So the ring does still do a good job of determining activity levels, it's just not super accurate thats all.

The App: Everything Else

A new addition to the app is 'Trends'. Previously it was only possible to view this data by logging in to the Oura Cloud (I'll cover this next). With the new app all this glorious data can be pulled up from within your phone.

When you go into the Trends section of the app, you can graph a whole array of variables.

For sleep these include:

For readiness we have the following:

And for activity we have these options:

This data is then presented in a neat graph. You can change the graph to show daily averages, weekly averages or monthly averages.

See some of my screen shots below:

This data is great for seeing longer trends and patterns. For instance you may have had a baby and you can see the impact the baby has had on your sleep!

This trend feature is a welcome addition to the Oura Ring app, there ring tracks so much data, and sometimes this data can become overwhelming when you look at it on a day to day basis. Being able to take a big picture view of the data is really helpful.

I should point out however, that the Trends feature in the app is not as powerful as the Trends feature in the Oura Cloud. Which is what I will cover next.

The Oura Cloud

If you are a Oura Ring user, you can head over to https://cloud.ouraring.com/ to login with your account and discover a ton of amazing graphs and dashboards about your body and sleep.

Last year I did a youtube review on the new Oura Cloud dash. Though it is quite outdated (it's well over a year old) it should give you a better overview of how the Oura Cloud looks.

When you login to your Oura cloud dashboard, you will see similar data to what you see on your phone app. You just see more data on a bigger screen.

The above screens show my sleep data, you can also see your activity overview:

 

And your Readiness overview: 

Which is all really cool.

But the real magic lies in the 'Trends' screen.

In here you can plot all sorts of data on various time frames. Even better, you can overlay data points on the one graph, this allows you to find correlations between data points.

For instance, you might see a connection between your activity and your sleep - maybe you sleep better when your activity score is higher.

Or you might see a connection between your readiness score and deep sleep - showing that whenever you get more deep sleep your readiness is higher. This empowers you to make the necessary changes to improve your deep sleep if you want to be in peak performance.

Above I have plotted over 2 years of deep sleep data along side my body temperature deviation.

Below I have plotted my bed time start (in purple) next to my sleep score (in orange), and smoothed this out over a monthly trend line. If you look at the graph below, you will see that there is an inverse correlation between my bed time and sleep score. Meaning, when I go to bed early, I get a better nights sleep.

In December 2017, January 2018, and February 2018 my average bedtime start time was 11:05pm. Meanwhile, as you can see on the chart, my sleep score was at it's worst in this quarter. Averaging a all time worst score of 80%.

For a bit of perspective on this, December through to February is summer time in Australia and New Zealand. And I also got married in February 2018. Hence why I had a much later bed time - the sun is up, the weather is warm, and there is lots to celebrate!

Meanwhile if you take a look at my winter months (April - October) you can see I go to bed much earlier, and my sleep score is much higher.

I love data like this, and if you do to, you will love the Oura cloud!

 

The Oura Coaching/Teams Dashboard

Finally, we have the Oura Teams Dashboard.

Now I don't think this is available for all users. I don't even know if it has been rolled out for coaches yet. I work with clients in my Hormone Reset Program and also work 1 on 1 with clients helping them sleep. So I have these people wear an Oura Ring and I track their data.

Oura have set me up as a Coach and this enables me to track all my clients data in one neat dashboard.

You can see this dash below:

This function is amazing for health coaches, personal trainers and sports team coaches. The coach can simply log in and see how all their clients or players are performing.

The Oura Teams dash allows the coach to show weekly, fortnightly or monthly averages, and also the latest data. All this data is shown with the percentage change so in an instant the coach can see who is recovering well, who is sleeping more than usual, who has a lower readiness score and much more (you can change what data is displayed in the 'select values' drop down).

Then the coach can click into any client/player and see all their data.

It is a very cool feature, and it makes life as a coach much easier. Knowing I have accurate data points on my clients and program members all displayed on this page is extremely valuable.

*** Part 3: My Thoughts & Common Questions ***

Ok so that's everything about the Ring and the Software that runs it. Now it's time to share my thoughts and answer the questions no doubt going through your head.

 

Is The Oura Ring Useful?

It's useful to me. I love getting insights into my sleep and recovery status. It's neat finding out the impact diet and lifestyle choices have on my sleep and readiness score.

Even though it's not super accurate, I do like looking back on my days activities every now and then and seeing how much work I am doing when out on the farm.

Best of all though, the Oura Ring has helped me become more in tune with my body. It's like a dashboard on a car - you may feel like you're going slow, but when you look at the speedo you realise you're actually well above the legal limit.

Having this data about your sleep, body and stress state helps you see what is working and what is not.

If you are serious about improving sleep and your health, then yes, the Oura Ring is extremely useful. I'm not a fan of jewellery, and I wouldn't be wearing the ring if it wasn't adding value to my life!

Who's Wearing The Oura Ring?

Apparently the ring is worn by numerous professional athletes include NFL players and Rugby players. 

Also the Oura Ring is making it's way into celebrity circles and even the royal family! As Prince Harry was recently spotted in Australia wearing an Oura Ring.

The initial user base for the Oura ring was health fanatics and biohackers like myself. But now with the new design, I'm starting to notice a more mass appeal.

What I Like About The 2018 Oura Ring:

  • Improved battery life

I love how I don't have to charge it every day. It's liberating! Especially when travelling. Knowing I can go a week without charges is awesome, especially compared to the old ring that needed a charge every day or so.

  • The slim/sleek design

No more bulky ring catching on clothes and underneath tables. No more strange looks as I meet people or pay for items at the checkout.

The new design is great - it's simple yet elegant.

  • It's accurate

At least when it comes to sleep and recovery data. I have experimented with a few other wearables in the past - Jawbone, Fitbit and some Polar products, but I was often disappointed with the data I would receive. The devices would show I was awake when I definitely wasn't and vice versa. Though the Oura Ring isn't 100% accurate (I don't think any machine under $10k ever will be!) it is very rare that I wake and question my sleep data.

  • It's insightful

The more accurate and timely feedback you can get about your body, the more you can learn and improve. The Oura Ring does more than say how long you slept and how many steps you took, with metrics like body temperature, heart rate variability, respiration rate, sleep stage analysis, sleep latency,  resting heart rate, wake times and much much more, the user can learn a lot about what's happening to their sleep and body.

Even better, the Oura Ring team have developed some awesome algorithms that take all this data and make it easy for you to understand. With their daily sleep, readiness and activity scores, you don't have to worry about optimal HRV figures or deep sleep percentages, you can simply look at this overall scores and know how well you slept or how recovered you are at any moment.

For those who do want to geek out on the nitty gritty details, then of course all this data is available for them as well.

  • Airplane mode

For me this is a standout feature, without this feature I wouldn't be using my Oura Ring. Knowing I have an accurate wearable that's not constantly bombarding me with nnEMF makes me sleep easy.

Not all will care about this feature, and many would prefer having their ring in constant sync with their phone (you will then get inactivity notifications and can see all your latest data in your phone in near real time), but it's something I care about and thus it's a winning point for me.

  • Trends view

Being able to see trends in the app is a huge win. I always loved studying my data over longer time periods in the Oura Cloud, but now I can do this within the app as long as I have access to my phone. 

 

What I Dislike About The 2018 Oura Ring:

Now for the negatives. Here's what I don't like about the Oura Ring.

  • Charging dock sizes 

This only applies to households who have multiple Oura rings. Which means it applies to me. But having to have 2 charging docks for my ring (size 13) and my wifes (size 8) is a little annoying.

Being a wireless charging dock, I expected that the dock would work with all ring sizes. Not a major issue, but still it's annoying.

  • Still no user defined correlation's

2 years ago in my first Oura Ring Review I said I'd love to see:

More in-depth data analysis. Being able to see the raw data, and metrics for the ranges that the Oura app reveals would be great. It would also be great if the app included some basic correlation analysis as per the iphone app ‘Sleep Cycle’. That way you could see what happens to your sleep when you go to bed before 10pm, or what happens to your sleep score when you walk more than 15k steps in a day etc.

When I heard that there was a whole new app coming out, including 'personalised insights', I truely thought that this feature would be included. But it wasn't.

For those that haven't read my first review (you can read it HERE, I go into a lot of the technical details about the rings technology and how accurate it is), what I was wanting to see was the ability to add your own data points.

Anyone that has used the Sleep Cycle app will know what I mean. Imagine if you went to bed and ticked off certain variables (that you had entered) that applied to you that day. For instance, you may tick 'had alcohol' or 'drunk coffee in the afternoon', or 'wore BlueBlockers prior to bed'.

Over time, you would generate a ton of data that could be used to determine how choices you make impact your sleep. Imagine going into the trends screen in Oura Cloud and being able to overlay nights you drunk alcohol with your sleep score. You would be able to get some amazing insights from such data.

Or if you wanted to experiment with a new supplement that was meant to help with sleep. 

The opportunities are endless.

Unfortunatley though I will have to continue waiting for this feature.

Oura did introduce a new 'notes' feature, where you can add notes to each day. But that's really it. I guess that's useful if you want to look back at certain days and you will see your note that you left, but it doesn't offer much more value than that (unless I'm missing something here?)

Oura also introduced a 'bedtime guidance' feature. Which is meant to look at all your data and recommend the optimal time you should go to bed. Things like this are very useful in my opinion. Anyhow, I only noticed this feature on the homescreen a few weeks ago. Now it seems to have stopped. So I don't know if Oura have pulled that feature, moved it somewhere else in the app or if I'm doing something wrong?

  • Poor activity tracking accuracy

Personally I'm not too worried about this, but I know many people will be. And unless Oura want to primarily focus on sleep and recovery, they will need to do something about this in future generations.

For those who love counting calories and tracking steps, the Oura Ring may fall short. Sure it does these things, but it's not as accurate as other devices on the market. 

It's the sleep and recovery side of things where it excels.

I know of athletes who wear the Oura Ring to track their sleep and recovery, but wear other products to track their activity and movement throughout the day. 

 

  • Shipment delays

The biggest issue with the 2018 Oura ring is that many people who ordered it, still don't have it. This despite me writing my review at the end of October!

I think this topic deserves it's own section. 

A Special Mention About The Delayed Shipment

The 2nd generation Oura Ring was announced at the end of 2017. Upon the announcement, there were no more sales of the first generation ring. In fact, some people who had ordered the first ring days before the announcement were told that they would get the new ring instead. Awesome.

However, many of these customers are still waiting for their rings.

In fact, 10% of people who preordered their Oura Ring in December 2017 have still not received their ring, nearly 11 months later!

For those who pre-ordered the new Oura Ring between January the first and May 31st 2018, only 34% of these people have received their ring as of October the 5th.

These numbers are seriously alarming. Sure there were great discounts offered for those who got in early, but the damaging part was the fact that Oura stated that the new rings would be shipping in April/May of 2018.

When that date came, notices went out saying there would be delays. This has happened numerous times now, with Oura having 14 pre-order updates posted on their blog.

Obviously this was not a deliberate ploy, and I know for a fact that all at Oura are extremely apologetic for these delays (and deeply stressed), but it has left a black mark on the brand. I know of many people who have got sick and tired of waiting and have asked for a refund.

This is sad to hear given the product is so powerful and I'm sure these users would have loved their ring when it arrived. But I can understand peoples reasons to ask for the refund, at some point you get sick of delays and broken promises.

At the time of writing, Oura's latest pre-order update reads that all pre-orders made in the year 2017 will be shipped by November 15th.

You can read this report in full HERE.

All pre-orders made before June 1st 2018 will be shipped by November 15, with 70% shipped by the end of October.

And 90% of pre-orders made after June the 1st 2018 will be shipped by December 2018. I'm not to sure what will happen to the remaining 10%

Oura's next pre-order update is due out on the 29th of October 2018, so if you have ordered, or are about to order and it's after the 29th, be sure to have a read of the latest shipping updates on the Oura Ring site at OuraRing.com

Like I said, I know Oura didn't want this to happen, and I'm sure if they could they would have all these rings shipped today if it were possible. For those who are waiting, I suggest you follow the Oura Ring updates and see where your ring falls in regards to shipment dates. Then just wait. I know that is frustrating to hear, especially as you read reviews like this, but in all honesty it's all you can do, unless you want to get a refund.

But if I was in your shoes, and I knew what I know about the Oura Ring, even though I would be annoyed, I would wait it out another month. It will be worth the wait.

What I'd Like To See:

In my first review I included a 'what I'd like to see' section. I thought I'd do the same in this review. So here goes:

  • Specific body temperature data - rather than seeing the daily deviation, it would be great to see the actual temperature. Surely this just involves a calibration check before it ships?
  • Pattern recognition/smart advice - With all the data Oura has, surely it can report on some interesting findings, like 'sleep scores on full moons vs new moons', or 'Your readiness score when your go to bed before 10pm'. Easy features to add, and they will be so powerful for the user.
  • Ability to correlate tags with data - I covered this above. This is top of my wishlist for added features (it was when I wrote my first review 2 years ago as well)
  • More community/user interaction - competitions/challenges etc. The other wearable devices all have this, I don't see why Oura doesn't have it. Imagine setting up a leaderboard amongst your peers - who get's the most sleep, or has the best readiness score etc.
  • Improved activity monitoring - as outlined above
  • Real time data feeds - I know this is difficult to achieve with the current technology used in the Oura Ring, but it would be neat if it could do this. You could be training and see your heart rate in real time, or you could track your body temperature changes after a meal, or see your HRV as you do yoga...
  • One size fits all charging device - this would make multi oura house hold users happy, especially when travelling!
  • No need to charge - This may be a little out there, but imagine if the Oura ring had the capability to charge on it's own. Maybe it has a mini solar panel on it, or it draws heat from the body, or it charges from the movement on your finger.. 

Should You Buy An Oura Ring?

It depends.

If you like tracking your sleep, activity and recovery then yes.

If you like learning about your body then yes.

If you are passionate about improving your sleep and health then yes.

If you like wearables but don't like wrist wearables or wearables that constantly emit nnEMF then yes.

If you love data, then yes!

However, if you are an athlete looking for a wearable that tracks your running times, or cycling routes, then this may not be best suited for you. Though I would argue that it would be beneficial to have an Oura ring to track your sleep and recovery from these events. 

Saying all of this, the Oura Ring is not your $99 run of the mill Fitbit. It is a premium product with a premium price tag. Prices start at $299 (though you can save on this price by using discount code ALEXFERGUS).

But given everything you will learn about your body, and the fact that it should last a long time (I used my generation 1 ring for over 2 years and it still works today), it is a small investment in improving your health, performance and sleep.

 

What if you have a first gen Oura Ring? Should you upgrade?

If you want improved battery life, smaller charging docks, a slimmer, sleeker device with improve sensors and processes, then yes, you may want to upgrade. I will be doing a full comparison video on the new vs old rings soon. So be sure to subscribe to my email list for updates.

But if you're not worried about that, then know you still have an awesome wearable in your hands!

That's All For Now..

I hope this review on the new 2018 Oura Ring has answered any questions you may have about the ring. My goal with this review is to show the good and the bad, and help you make an informed decision before purchasing the ring.

As I mentioned, it is a high priced wearable, so it is important you do your research before spending your hard earned money.

One quick thing - I will be updating this review with more information, more insights, more videos and more features (as they are released). So be sure to subscribe to my Oura Ring updates newsletter below to be the first to hear about these new updates:

If you want to know more about this ring I recommend reading the following articles:

And of course you can head over to the Oura Ring website at www.OuraRing.com

Otherwise, feel free to leave a question below.

Finally, if you are considering buying an Oura Ring, Oura have given me an exclusive coupon code for readers of this blog. Simply use code ALEXFERGUS at checkout to save on your purchase price. Otherwise CLICK HERE to be emailed this discount code.

And if you missed my video review, you can watch it below:

 

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