*** Read the Review HERE - New Oura Ring Review: Revolutionary New Smart Ring Continues To Impress ***
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Updated October 2018: I have upgraded my Oura Ring to the new 2018 ring, and after 3 months of use, I have now published my comprehensive review on the new ring. You can read that new review HERE.
Updated March 2018: I have a limited time only - $75 off coupon code for Pre Orders on the new Ring - (this has now expired - instead ordering through THIS link save you $50)
Updated January 2018: The new second generation Oura ring is here. You can pre-order now - use discount code ALEXF to save $50 off the new ring. Learn more about it HERE.
Updated September 2017: Is the new Oura Ring the perfect heath & fitness wearable? A device that not only accurately measures sleep and activity, but can interpret that data and be a personal ‘lifestyle coach’? It very well maybe.
What exactly is this ‘Oura Ring’? Well the official tag line reads:
“OURA is a revolutionary ring-sized wellness computer that helps you sleep and perform better.”
Yes, it is literally a computer that you wear on your finger, but does it help with sleep and performance?
After 4 weeks (now 17 months, see latest updates HERE) of wearing my Oura Ring 24/7 I now have answers to a lot of the questions I had about the Oura Ring before opening my wallet… and I share them all in this comprehensive review.
NB - I am constantly adding updates to this review. The review updates so far include:
The Oura Ring definitely has that ‘cool’ factor. It is a conversation stopper, especially if someone is familiar with the ring – ‘Oh is that the Oura Ring?! It looks’ so nice’ was a typical comment I received at this years Paleo f(x) expo.
And it does look nice, I have the gloss black ring – officially named Mirror Black (rrp $299. It also comes in an ‘Artic White’ and a ‘Stealth’ matte black which retails for $499usd. For an EXCLUSIVE Discount please head to https://ouraring.com/partners/alexfergus/ or CLICK HERE.) It really is a well put together together. Sleek edges, gloss finishes and nicely shaped made out of ceramic zirconia with no metals. If Apple made rings it would be of this standard.
Though the ring isn’t huge, it is rather bulky (especially for a 28 year old male who has never worn a ring in his life). Personally, it did take me a few days to get used to wearing it. But after 4-5 weeks of 24/7 use I hardly notice it now.
I wear it on my non-dominant index finger. I have seen people wearing it on their ring and middle finger and even there thumb! The only downside I find with it being on this finger is will often ‘catch’ when I put my hands in my pockets. But this is pretty minor.
The Oura Ring features a variety of sensors including:
After having worn my Oura Ring for over 30 days now I can safely say it is rather durable, doesn’t scratch and most of the time it doesn’t impact my training. Over the past month here’s what I’ve thrown at it:
I mentioned above that ‘most of the time’ it doesn’t impact my training, and this is true but there was one certain session where I was doing a super slow lat pulldown (high time under tension) and after about 90seconds I did notice a slight pinch around the skin of my finger. Now I simply take it off if I’m doing that lift.
The primary reason I purchased an Oura was to for it’s supposedly accurate sleep tracking. I actually sleep really well (it’s taken me a few years, but I simply focus on light cycles, temperature cycles and regular bed times!) but I am a bit of a geek when it comes to the quantified self movement. Plus I thought it would be a great tool to have if I were to do any sleep experiments (i.e. does supplement XYZ affect my sleep).
The guys from Oura claim that the sleep tracking ability of their ring is “laboratory-level accuracy unlike any other wearable device”. Now I can’t find any independent studies to support or refute this comment. Note - You can see a paper done on the accuracy of the Oura Ring in one of my updates below. But Ben Greenfield had this to say about the ring after interviewing the folks at Oura:
“…so far the ring has validated our sleep against professional sleep labs, along with interbeat interval data (HRV), ECG derived R-R intervals (your heart waves), temperature against a temperature logger used in professional sleep lab measurements, and activity measurements against the gold standard of metabolic measurements: indirect calorimetery. In all of these, the ring has either reached or exceeded the expected performance levels. “
I am quite passionate about my sleep and work with clients from all around the world helping them sleep better, I even have a sleep improvement program called Sound Asleep that you can check out here.
Over the years I have really 'fine tuned' my sleep habits and am pretty good at knowing when I have had a great sleep with a lot of deep sleep, or maybe it was a REM dominant sleep. This knack for self analysis of my sleep seems to align well with the sleep information I see in my Oura App every morning. I’ve used various sleep trackers including Fitbit, Jawbone and Beddit, and I couldn’t say the same thing about these devices (i.e. you wake up from an amazing sleep and the data on these devices say’s otherwise, or vice versa).
So I must say – so far so good.
Another great thing about the Oura’s sleep analysis is it goes beyond the simple ‘awake’ or ‘asleep’ stages. The Oura ring tracks:
You can see how you score in each of these areas when you open the app.
Along with this, you can see a graphical overview of your sleep stages as well as the sleep score (calculated by the Oura app) and your lowest resting Heart rate during the night.
At the time of writing this article the software version I am using is 0.88.12 (iPhone), and ring firmware version 0.87.1 (for the new versions of the app and firmware please see the bottom half of this blog)
Meaning that the full version of the app hasn’t been released yet.
I cover the software side of things rather deeply in my video, so if you haven’t seen that already I recommend watching that (the software review starts at minute 7).
All the data in the app is pretty neat, you have seen what it does for the sleep, but the Oura ring also tracks activity and readiness.
As covered in the video, this is a measurement of your movement and stillness. Most wearables do a great job of tracking activity, but fall short when reporting a lack of activity. The Oura ring will track total ‘inactive time’, plus it will report any periods of extended inactivity (i.e. when you’re sitting at a chair for an hour or two). This is a number that I like to keep to 0.
I don’t really use the activity data, I am quite an active guy and I don’t need an app to tell me how many steps I took (I count them myself, just kidding!), but some people really like this data. Another cool thing about the app is the daily activity ‘target’. This is calculated based on your previous days rest and activity balance, your sleep quality and your readiness score (which I will get to next).
So if you’re sleeping well and not moving it will tell you to go out and move. Or if you’ve had a few very active days and perhaps not sleeping great, it will pull back your daily activity target.
Again, I cover all of this in more detail in the video. The readiness score is a measure of:
Using all this data, the Oura app then spits out a readiness score (a % from 0-100 – 100 being great), and tracks your resting Heart Rate.
Personally, I don’t read much into this score as I track my HRV every morning (read more about this here), and I do question how reliable and accurate the Oura Readiness measurement is.
Update: The Oura now tracks HRV and does a really good job at measuring it! I explain more about this below and in this article.
This may improve with future app updates, but from a performance ‘readiness’ score I think my HRV data is more beneficial. For an average Joe who doesn’t want to track their HRV the Oura readiness score might be great. My mind is undecided about this feature at the time of writing.
Update: After 18 months of using the Oura, I now solely use Oura for HRV and readiness/recovery tracking.
On the topic of HRV, I am led to believe that the ring actually measures HRV data. I can’t seem to find the data anywhere in the app, but I am told it is used when calculating the readiness score.
Update: Oura does now measure and record HRV
Actually, this is a grudge I have with the app – it has all these fancy graphs and data points, but you can’t do much with the data. You can’t export it, you can’t see the raw data (i.e. with the temperature you simply see a bar chart – you can't’ see what your actual temperature was, what is good or what is bad). For someone who is just looking for a generalized fitness tracker this will not be a problem, but for a performance-focused individual, not being able to access this data is frustrating.
Update: This is no longer an issue with the new Oura Cloud Platform (see below updates for more)
Oura does integrate with the Heads Up Health platform – which allows you to track variables such as diet, lifestyle sleep etc. But when I played around with it you could still only see the ‘big numbers’ from the Oura ring – ie. Sleep duration, quality etc. Not HR data from the night, or body temperature stats.
After 4 weeks of use I can happily say that I do like my Oura ring, in particular I like:
Given all this, here is what I would like to see in future software versions or the next gen Oura ring:
I feel like there are two types of people who buy devices like this:
The Oura has it’s feet in both camps, the device is accurate and the ‘coaching’ dashboard is helpful for those looking at improving their health and wellness. But given a lot of the ‘restrictions’ are around the software/app and not the hardware/device itself, this means that there is still hope for the Oura Ring to be the ‘One Wearable to Rule Them All’.
Will I continue to use it? I will definitely continue to use it for sleep tracking, though I am personally not too worried about the activity/readiness score. But with the right software updates this could change.
What do you think? Do you think it’s worth the $299usd price tag? What other features would you like to see? Please leave your questions, comments or feedback below.
I have just updated my Oura App (iphone) to the latest version - 0.94.1. This update actually addresses a few of the software limitations I had outlined above. So what's new:
I was fortunate enough to spend nearly 2 hours with Petteri Lahtela - CEO and Co-Founder of Oura Ring. In this conversation, I asked him the questions I had posted in this review and what's in store for the Oura ring and its app. I have posted the key questions and Petteris answers below, but I should preface by saying that I was very impressed (and even surprised) with what the Oura team are working on!
And now for the Q&A (please note I have paraphrased some of the questions/answers to keep the points concise).
No. The Oura uses Infrared (IR) light to measure the arteries in the finger. Heart rate is measured with optical transmitter receiver components that work in IR wavelength. In order to enable optical measurement, the ring inlet is IR transparent. IR light used in optical measurement is not visible to humans. Therefore, it does not disturb the user. Light in the IR wavelength penetrates deep in the finger tissue enabling accurate optical measurement from the arteries of the finger. Using the optimized IR wavelengths together with powerful signal processing and cross correlation with other sensors makes it possible to access the blood volume pulse in unprecedented accuracy.
The infrared LEDs of the ŌURA ring access the Blood Volume Pulse directly from the Proper Palmar Digital Arteries of any finger (the measurement method is called photoplethysmogram (PPG)). With LEDs the ring detects the pulse waveform and amplitude variation, exact time between the heartbeats i.e. Interbeat Interval (IBI). From those it derives among others the heart rate, respiration rate, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) related parameters and other parameters used for accurate sleep staging. In addition to heart rate dynamics, the ŌURA ring measures even the slightest movements with its 3D accelerometer and the changes of body temperature.
My Reaction - Great! As someone who has written extensively about the negative health effects of bright light exposure at night, discovering that there is no visible light being emitted from the ring was great news!
In order to measure blood oxygen saturation we need visible light. The Oura Ring only uses IR light so measuring oxygen saturation is not possible. Maybe in a future model.
My Reaction - Fair enough, SpO2 is not something that I would want to track every night anyway so this isn't a big loss. Especially after asking the next question:
This is not entirely true. SpO2 is only one metric used when determining if one suffers from sleep apnea. There are links between sleep apnea and heart rate (which the Oura tracks during the night). Oura is collecting a lot of data and analyzing this data to find patterns and correlations between health issues.
No. It was in our initial design plan, but we had to leave it out due to size and battery limitations. However we are working on a software update that will use your phone (sitting on your bedside table) to act as the alarm. The Oura Ring will relay your sleep data to your phone and the phone will then sound your alarm when you are in your lightest phase of sleep etc. Watch this space.
My reaction - Personally this doesn't bother me, but I know some people would love this feature. Saying that, if there was some physical feedback mechanism in the ring, then it would open up more possibilities such as the ring vibrating when your respiration rate drops to low, or your HR goes to high etc.
A validation study was done by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health titled 'Sleep Lab validation of a wellness ring in detecting sleep patterns based on photoplethysmogram, actigraphy and body temperature'. This paper compared the Oura ring to a polysomnography (PSG) - which is the gold standard when it comes to sleep evaluation in the scientific community. PSG measures brain wave signals (EEG), eye movement signals (EOG), cardiac signals (ECG), muscle activity (EMG) and finger photo-plethysmography (PPG). The Oura ring measures blood volume pulse waveform, time between heart beats (HRV), movements and body temperature.
The researchers in the study remarked:
"The main finding of this study was that the ŌURA ring was shown to be usable for sleep analysis in the home environment without need for user actions to initiate sleep measurements."
"In a sample of fourteen healthy subjects, the ŌURA ring provided unbiased and relevant data on sleep patterns, reaching comparable performance levels to the best scientifically validated alternative methods to Sleep Lab measurements."
Petteri continues: "So far we have validated our sleep staging algorithms against Polysomnography, Interbeat interval (IBI = the time between the heartbeats in millisecond, this is the basis for Heart Rate Variability analysis) data against ECG derived R-R intervals, temperature measurement against a body temperature logger used in professional measurements and activity measurements against indirect calorimeter (like is done in serious research). In all of these we have either reached or exceeded the expected performance levels.
Please note that the current implementation of the algorithms does not even fully utilise all the physiological signals and their characteristics available in the ring. We will be doing the next update on algorithms within the next two months and further additions along the way when we receive more data from above mentioned places. Currently e.g. skin/body temperature measurement is not taken into account in sleep staging algorithms but based on data we have collected so far it will add value on sleep staging, sleep onset time detection etc."
My reaction - The great thing about the Oura ring is that it will constantly get better, as more data comes in, and the tweaks are made to the algorithms, the sleep accuracy of the oura ring will continue to improve!
Yes. We are developing a coaching platform that will allow users to share their data with a health coach etc. We are still only in the early stages of developing this but it is happening. We are working on a cloud based API but we plan on having a browser based function. This platform would then allow the user to see even more from their Oura ring that is presently available to see on the phone app.
My reaction - Awesome!! Once this is up and running I'll be switching all my clients over to Oura rings!
Yes, this will be possible with the cloud based platform. For example, it will be possible to see your body temperature data, heart rate data, respiration rate etc, for a given time period (i.e. throughout the night). The Oura Ring currently records all this data, but you are right, there is currently no way to see this data in a detailed view. This will change with the launch of the online cloud based platform.
Saying that, it is currently possible to access this data now, but it requires you sending a bug report from within the app, and then we can convert it and sent it back to you in excel format. But eventually all of this will be accessible through the cloud.
Also, some of this data will feed into Apple Health.
My reaction - Very exciting! I look forward to being able to see my Oura data in graph format as per the image above!
Yes, it does. It measures the variation between heartbeats, also known as Inter-beat interval (IBI). HRV is misunderstood by a lot of people (and there are many people who don't even know what HRV is). This is one reason why we haven't made a big deal around the HRV capability with our device.
We actually measure the IBI during the night to help track your sleep stages. So the ring is measuring this data all night. When it comes to calculating your HRV from this data, there are many ways to make this calculation and this can impact the end result. There are so many ways to apply it and so many ways to interpret it, this is another reason why we don't give HRV a lot of attention at the moment.
We are doing ongoing research as to what data is best to use and how to use it in regards to helping find optimal recovery and readiness. Originally we planned on having a morning HRV measurement, but we found there was too much variability between readings. There are to many factors that can influence an HRV score - time of day, are you sitting or lying down, have you been up moving etc. So we decided to use the data during the night to control for these factors.
We don't directly use HRV scores in your readiness score, we only use it when calculating your sleep score and your recovery index score. We wanted to make it as simple as possible in the beginning. The parameters we have selected for determining your daily readiness score are very indicative in the long term perspective of ones readiness. But we are working in integrating HRV into the readiness score.
Saying that, your HRV score does impact your readiness score indirectly as it is used when calculating your sleep score etc.
Studies have shown that HRV in different sleep stages reflects overall restorativeness better than morning HRV readings, whereas a morning HRV reading mostly reflects the overall restorativeness of sleep and state of recovery but in the context of sleep stages it correlates more with the amount of REM. The HRV characteristics varies a lot in relation to sleep stages and therefore also measuring HRV "randomly" overnight does not provide much meaning.
My Reaction - After speaking to Petteri I now understand why you don't see HRV being heavily promoted in the Oura app. The team at Oura understand how powerful HRV is in tracking recovery, but I respect their decision to hold back the importance of HRV in their software due to the potential unknowns and inaccuracies. Saying that, it looks like when they figure it all out it will be a powerful addition to their product!
Update: They have obviously figured it out as your HRV is now in the Oura App!
It is a direct indication on how well you have recovered from previous day’s activity. It helps people find out what level of activity is required for an optimal readiness score. It's important to note that the Oura Ring tracks all activity, everything from housework and gardening to sprints and hard training. Other wearables such as Fitbit don't necessarily do this, they only track moderate and intense activity and may not pick up on the gentle, less strenuous activity. Oura not only measures all of this activity, but uses it in calculating your readiness and activity scores.
In regards to whether this daily target will help with fitness, fat loss or general health the target is calculated to achieve maximal health benefits (or put another way, to avoid negative impacts to health as much as possible). So the focus of target setting there is health benefits, not fitness improvement or performance. However, as your long term averages are considered in the calculations, there is a slight push towards a higher fitness and performance level as well – but health benefits are the main variables for that daily target level.
My Reaction - The Oura Activity Target can help you maximise your health and prolong life!
The readiness score ranges from 0-100%, the Readiness Score helps you identify the days that are ideal for challenging yourself, and those that are better for taking it easy.
The Readiness Score is affected by Readiness Contributors, which are displayed as horizontal bars in the Readiness view screen in the app. These parameters help you to evaluate how well your recent and cumulative sleep, activity and recovery are in balance.
A score below 40% means you have really messed up (horrible sleep, jet lag, hungover etc).
A Readiness Score above 85% indicates that you're well recovered and balance. A score below 70% usually means that an essential Readiness Contributor, such as your body temperature or previous night's sleep, falls outside your normal range, or clearly differs from recommended, science based values.
My reaction - 85% is good. Below 70% is bad. It's all relative however and trends can be more powerful than an ad hoc score. Having these figures as a reference point will help me as a user and as a coach.
We haven't optimised battery life yet. We're using 250hz as a sampling rate which is rather high and far higher than other devices, lowering this rate would lead to a longer battery life. Also, we are working on next gen devices that will extend battery life from the hardware side of things but with the current Oura Ring we do expect to fine tune the software and hopefully extend the battery life somewhat.
My reaction - happy days! Bring on the software updates!
We actually have that functionality in the app already, but it's not accessible to the user yet. We are using this feature with some professors and organisations and have found it be a useful feedback tool. We are even working with some car manufactures as they are interested in using it for reaction times etc.
But again, we want to be sure that it's used in the right way and it's accurate and reliable.
Also we question whether it has to be real time? Or if the ability to record data and then go back and review it will suffice - which will be possible with the cloud web dash. It's important to know that the ring starts recording IBI data whenever you remain still for a few minutes. So if you stop moving your finger for a few minutes the ring starts tracking your heart rate data.
We also plan on releasing a breathing tool within the app.
My reaction - This is powerful stuff! The Oura is a pretty neat fitness wearable, but with software like this you could use it as a feedback tool - helping you train, mediate, focus, recover etc etc. It would also be cool to see it in cars - constantly monitoring your breathing patterns and alerting you if you started dozing off! Technology is amazing.
Yes it is fine in salt water. It's a medical grade device so it is rather robust. It is a sealed structure.
In closing, Petteri summed up well with this comment:
"Our approach is that we don't want to release anything that we haven't validated ourself. Therefore it may be a bit slow in regards to updates and additional features but when we do release a new feature it is validated and accurate. We want to create something that is accurate for people."
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth! After this conversation I was both impressed and excited! I knew how powerful and revolutionary the Oura Ring was when I first read about it many months ago, but after using it now for a few months and learning about all these upcoming changes I can say that I genuinely believe it is going to have a dramatic impact on the health, fitness and sleep industry.
I will continue to wear mine every day and as soon as the coaching dash goes live I will be switching my clients over to the Oura device.
What about you? Has your impression on the Oura Ring changed after my conversation with the Oura CEO? Do you still have any unanswered questions or concerns? Or maybe a 'dream feature' of yours? Please post them below and I can pass them on to the Oura team (or even see if they can respond directly to you).
It has been a while since I updated this review, and I know a lot of you have been asking for an update, which is justified given all the new updates to the Oura App.
So below I have added 3 new videos showcasing the new app, training with the ring and the nnEMF output from the ring. Along with these video updates, I have included my thoughts and feedback after using the ring for over a year now.
It has been over a year since my Oura Ring arrived. I think I have worn it every single night since I received it (though one or two nights the ring went flat so I'm missing data).
I no longer 'notice' the ring, the initial concerns around its bulky size are now non-existent. Weirdly enough, no one else seems to notice it as well ( I used to get people asking me 'what's that ring'). But maybe this is simply because I don't draw attention to it.
Anyway, I literally have it on my hand 23.75 hours a day. I take it off for 15minutes to charge every morning, otherwise, it's on my finger.
Battery life - I charge my ring every morning for 10-30minutes depending on my morning. I have noticed that it takes a bit longer to reach 100% capacity. But I can still easily go 36 hours without needing to charge it. I could probably push it out longer but I have never tested it. I am in a habit of charging it every morning.
Damage - To date, despite my heavy lifting (more on this below) I haven't damaged the ring. No scratches, no rust, no connectivity issues. It's pretty resilient!
Usefulness - I love it. I wake up every morning and look forward to syncing my ring to get the latest data. Weird I know, but I do find the data useful for training and recovery. You can see how I use the data in my Training Journal HERE.
Software - The app continues to improve, with more features, more data, more insights and a better interface. I will cover more on this below. I should also mention that the ring now syncs with Apple Health - so your sleep data and steps etc are pushed through the apple health on the iphone (you can disable this)
Future? - A few people have asked me if they should hold off on ordering an Oura Ring - it is now over a year old, which is getting on in tech terms, and if I have heard any news for a 2nd generation ring coming out. At the time of writing, I have not heard anything about a new ring.
However, I have heard (and noticed) that Oura are putting a lot of resources into the software side of the ring. The new app features is a shows this, but also a lot of behind the scenes updates - less bugs, more accurate readings, APIs to share data with other platforms etc.
Personally, if I didn't have a ring, or if I lost my current ring (I don't know how you would lose one of these though!) I would buy a replacement one rather than sit on the sidelines hoping for a newer model.
The current ring does A LOT. It tracks a ton of data, the limiting factor isn't the hardware itself, more the software to process this data. The only downside with the hardware may be its size, or limited battery life. But again, these aren't issues for me.
Anyway, on to the updates.
I recored a video showcasing the main changes to the app. See below:
A key new feature is the body temperature reading. As explained in the video, I think this is a great addition to the app. However, I would like to see the exact temperature, rather than simply the change.
I asked Oura how the temperature is calculated, and how it compares to oral body temperature readings. This was their response:
It is body temperature based on measurement from the finger. The ring measures the body temperature on. degrees centigrades resolution between the nights. Even though it is measured from the skin we have validated it to be equal to core body temperature during the night when you reach the lowest body temperature. So, it's like you would be having thermometer on all the time during the night.
Since our temperature reading is so accurate and continuous, we will be building features around it i.e. related to circadian alignment and detecting your own chronotype etc.
Very cool. Again, as the software continues to improve with more features, the Oura Ring becomes more appealing and useful!
Another cool update with the Oura Ring is in regards to the accuracy of the sleep tracking. This is a big reason why people are drawn to the Oura Ring, and personally it's the main feature I use with the ring.
A lot of people think sleep tracking wearables are gimmicks - there is often a disconnect between the wearable and how the individual felt/slept during the night. The wearable may say you were in a deep sleep, but you were actually awake for an hour etc.
Given this inaccuracy, people often dismiss sleep tracking devices.
I have found that the Oura Ring does a really good job of showing an accurate representation of my sleep (at least how I think I sleep). And it is very rare that I will look at my sleep graph and know that something is blatantly wrong.
Given my positive experiences with the sleep tracking function of the ring, it didn't surprise me that an independent study looking at the accuracy of the Oura's sleep function found that the ring was rather accurate when compared to polysomnography (PSG) sleep tests.
The 2017 study was titled The Sleep of the Ring: Comparison of the ŌURA Sleep Tracker Against Polysomnography and was published in Behavioural Sleep Medicine.
A few things worth mentioning about this study:
An example of a typical participants PSG and Oura sleep data from this study can be seen below:
If you read my newsletter, you will know how concerned I am around nnEMF radiation. Knowing that the Oura Ring has an airplane mode (meaning you can disable the transmitter on the device) was a big selling point for me.
My ring is in airplane mode whenever it's on my body. I only take it out of airplane mode to sync the data to my phone (and this is when it's on the charging unit not on my finger).
I actually have a personal nnEMF device, so I decided to test the nnEMF output from the bluetooth transmitter built into the ring. I discovered that the ring pulsed a strong signal every second or two.
Knowing this, I'm glad that it has an airplane mode. I know there aren't any vital organs around the hand, but often hands are kept in pockets or under your head when sleeping.
I tried to show this signal in the video below, but I didn't do the best job of it. Apologies!
Another frequent question I get is 'can you train with the Oura Ring on?'. Based on my experience, the answer to this is a clear YES. Rather than taking my word for it, I decided to record me training with the ring on.
In this session I do some heavy deadlifts (up to 195kg) and some weighted chins. You can see that the ring is still in perfect condition post training.
I train like this 1-2x a week, and have been doing this since I received the ring in 2016.
Even looking at the ring now as I type this, I can't see any scratches or blemishes. It is a very durable unit!
Anyway, watch the video below for more on this.
Two days after recording this video, a client of mine emailed me saying her Oura ring broke. I asked how it happened. She said she was doing some sprint intervals on the rowing machine.
You can see the crack below.
I was rather stunned when I found out that it broke, especially after the thrashing I put my ring through! Anyway, obviously they can break! But fortunately Oura replaced the unit, so there were no issues there.
Finally!! We now have access to the web platform. I recorded my initial impressions in this Facebook Live video. Have a look and let me know if you have any questions.
Note: I have since updated this blog after 2 months of regular use with the new Cloud Platform. I have included a detailed review of the new cloud platform below. You can see that by clicking HERE. I decided to leave the original 'first look' video below in case any one wants to see how my first look compares to my 2 months of use review.
I'll be doing a comprehensive review on the web platform in a few weeks (see that HERE). Also I have included a few key screen shots below
Ok so it's time for another big update. At the time of this update (September 5th 2017) I am using application version 0.16.0 (2372). Ring firmware 0.141.2. And Ring bootloader 0.118.1
In this update I cover:
A few months ago, Oura updated their app to include body temperature tracking. I touched on this new feature briefly above. Since then I have written an extensive article on body temperature (you can see that here Important: Why You Need To Measure Your Body Temperature) and have found the Oura Ring to be a useful device for tracking temperature.
I decided to include a few snippets from this article in this blog update to show how I use my Oura for Temperature tracking and health.
Temperature and Training
Any serious athlete understands the importance of recovery.
Training itself is one side of the coin when it comes to increasing performance. If recovery is inadequate for the training load then your performance will suffer.
Athletes can utilise body temperature tracking to determine how their body is coping with their current training load. If you are looking for an edge in your sport then start entering your numbers in tracking log I have created. This will provide you with a good set of data to help you monitor recovering.
For example, a plummeting body temperature during a heavy training load may be an early sign that you need to back off and give the body some rest.
This recently happened to me during my training for the Real Fit competition (Read more about that here). You can see with my own Oura Ring Data how my readiness score dropped and resting heart rate increased. At the same time you can see my body temperature trending down.
This all happened during an intense part of my training. After seeing these changes I cut back on my training load and my body numbers soon returned to baseline.
Temperature & Tracking Menstrual Cycles
Temperature tracking isn't only useful for monitoring metabolic health and illness. Woman have been monitoring their temperature for years to track their menstrual cycle.
Their are many journals, books and even apps that help woman chart their body temperature and determine when they are ovulating etc.
If you have an Oura Ring you can utilise the ring to monitor your temperature trends.
Below is a screen shot of the data generated from the Oura Ring. The top graph shows nightly maximum temperature readings (plotted in the Oura Web Cloud) and the bottom graph shows the temperature trends in the Oura app.
The temperature data provided by the Oura Ring helps woman track their menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertility, especially when used in conjunction with other sources of menstrual tracking.
As you can see, the new Body Temperature tracking feature is pretty neat when it comes to monitoring your performance, recovery and menstrual cycle. Especially with all the new data you can access in the Oura Cloud.
Speaking of which...
Below I have posted a detailed video showing the Oura Cloud Platform, my thoughts and all the neat new features.
My summary on the new cloud platform (accessible at : https://cloud.ouraring.com )
Also, I have recorded a video of me analysing my own trends data which can be seen below:
The Oura Ring now has HRV tracking. This is awesome for so many reasons (as is long overdue!) If you don't know what Heart Rate Variability it is simply the time variation between heart beats.
Why is this data useful?
Your HRV data can be used to show your current state of parasympathetic (rest & digest) or sympathetic (flight or fight) dominance. HRV has been used for decades to track the health & recovery of patients.
For instance, low HRV scores are linked to higher risk of coronary heart disease. Low HRV numbers are also indicative of depression, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Can you see why this new feature is huge!
I have written a standalone article on HRV and the new HRV features within the Oura ring, so rather than further extending this already lengthy review, I will simply link to that article. You can read it here - How To Easily Measure Your Heart Rate Variability .
For those who don't want to read more articles, here are my thoughts on the new HRV feature in the Oura Ring:
As for the downsides, I can only think of two. One is that the app doesn't really help you interpret the data. All it shows is your average HRV number and a trend graph (though when you log into the cloud platform you can see your actual HRV readings from your sleep). But if you don't know what this number means, it's not very useful.
So average Joe may see this new data and shrug it off, or get confused. Maybe this is a deliberate tactic from Oura. I know when I interviewed the CEO he mentioned that they didn't want to overcomplicate things and still needed to research HRV. Maybe with time we will see more interpretation of the data. In the mean time, at least the data is now there for us to use and track!
Secondly, it only shows your average HRV score. Some HRV apps now show a lot more metrics within HRV. For example some HRV apps will help you determine whether you are parasympathetic dominant or sympathetic dominant. This more advanced data can help coaches, doctors and athletes. Personally, even though I had access to this data in when I used Elite HRV to track my HRV each morning, I usually just focused on the actual HRV number and the trend.
So it's not a big issue, but some people may see it as a limitation. Though maybe Oura will release another update that gives access to this extra data in the future. In the mean time, data geeks can still use both tools (Oura plus their favourite HRV app) to track their HRV.
Another software update was the new 'Activity Tracking' section in the app. This new feature allows the user to manually input activity - like running, or strength training. They can then adjust the duration and the intensity.
To be honest, I don't think this is a great addition to the Oura ring. I see it as a gimmick. A knee-jerk reaction to a few concerns around the ring not always being 100% accurate around logging movement. This new feature know allows the user to tell the ring exactly what activity was performed. And, theoretically, see more accurate data from the ring (calories, readiness score etc).
But I have a few issues with this new feature:
Anyway, as I mentioned, I know this feature will be loved by some (probably the calorie worshipping crowd... you read my views on them here Are You A Calorie Counting Fool?) but to me I see it as a slight backward step.
To me the Oura ring is the ultimate health/fitness/sleep tracking device. The data is accurate, and it works in the background without user input or worry. This new feature goes against this view. Again though, maybe Oura is just buying time until they release a major firmware update that will make this new Activity Tracking feature redundant.
Fingers crossed. Until then, the feature is there for those that want to use it.
I often get asked, what are my thoughts on the Whoop? Or the Fitbit? And how do these wearables compare to the Oura Ring.
It's a good question. Unfortunatley I don't have a lot of experience with these alternative wearables. Before using the Oura I had a Jawbone. This was a good wearable from a software point of view, but the hardware was junk. Then the Oura came out, I got that and have never looked back (remember I have been wearing my Oura Ring for nearly 2 years now!)
Even though I tell people this, they still want to know my thoughts. So here goes.
Oura Vs Fitbit
There are many fitbit devices, so it's hard to accurately compare the Oura to Fitbit wearables. However, a lot of my clients on The Program use Fitbit.
My thoughts based on this second hand experience:
At the end of the day it depends on what you're after. If you're after a basic, low cost device to track your sleep and steps, then an entry level Fitbit may be OK. However, note that it may not be water proof and the data may not be that accurate.
If you look at the more advanced models then you get screens, waterproofing and better accuracy. But, it's still not as accurate as the Oura Ring. Some people don't want the screens, the price point is high and worst of all, you still can't disable the Bluetooth transmitter (You can't on the low cost options either).
For me, any device that is always emitting nnEMF is a no go. The fact you can disable the bluetooth on the Oura ring drastically increases it's value to me, despite all the other benefits that Oura has over fitbit. But thats just my opinion.
Oura vs Whoop
A newsletter reader recently asked: "What do I think of the new Whoop Wearable?"
Here was my response to them:
The Whoop device looks promising, and for a while I thought I could use it with my coaching clients, but after doing some research and speaking to the whoop team I decided it's not the product I had hoped it to be.
So those are my thoughts, personally I would avoid. Again though. Do your own research. Sorry that I can't offer my views on the Whoop. Read some reviews online. All I can do is share my 18 month experience with the Oura Ring which I have done in great detail in this blog.
So it's been nearly two years since I've had my Oura ring. What do I think of it today?
I love it. I still use it every day. I thrash it (I train with it, swim with it, go hiking with it, play paintball with it etc). I love seeing the data each morning. The battery still works great (I charge mine every morning as part of my morning routine, but it easily goes 2 days without a charge, I haven't pushed it for longer than that).
The software has improved immensely. Things like HRV and temperature tracking are awesome!
The new cloud platform shows me even more data that the app doesn't reveal. Plus it's in a much more user friendly interface which is great.
So yes, I'm really happy with it. I know that if I lost my ring right now I would immediately buy a new one.
The only feature that is still lacking is a correlation/variable tracking feature. I would love to be able to tell the app what I did each day and let the ring crunch these numbers. For example, if I could create list of variables in the app around what supplements I took, what type of food I ate (and when), whether I trained or not, and then this data could be used to show correlations between my sleep, HRV, body temperature etc. That would be so powerful.
I could soon see whether that supplement really does help my deep sleep or not. Or how much impact alcohol has on my HRV.
I know a lot of people don't care about these more advanced tracking features. But this is just what I would love to see with the ring. All my previous wishes have came true (HRV tracking, cloud platform etc) so I'm hoping someone from Oura reads this and answers my wish!
I hope this update answers a lot of the unknowns about the ring. As I mentioned, I continue to use it every day. And I recommend it to everyone who joins The Program as the data I get from the ring is invaluable for optimising health.
If you have any questions, please send them through or post them below.
If you are looking at buying an Oura Ring, the guys at Oura have given me an exclusive discount link for readers of this blog. Simply head to https://ouraring.com/partners/alexfergus/ and at checkout you will see an automatic discount! Otherwise CLICK HERE to be emailed this discount link.
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