Review: Why the Oura Smart Ring Gen3 Is Our Sleep Tracker of Choice

What to know about one of Silicon Valley's favorite gadgets

Updated July 25, 2023 10:16 am
An Oura smart ring.
Find out why literally every celebrity, athlete and tech bro has one of these things.
Oura/Getty

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As someone who wants to track their sleeping habits but refuses to wear their Apple watch to bed because it’s hella uncomfortable, a smart ring is a pretty sick alternative. I’m talking about Oura, an advanced, unobtrusive wearable that provides information about sleep and recovery — and won’t clash with your outfit like other wearable devices tend to.

If you looked around the InsideHook office, you’d see a bunch of polished Oura rings adorned on our fingers. That’s because we’re quite fond of the smart wearable from the 10-year-old Finnish company. But it’s also beloved by people much richer, hotter and fitter than us.

Yes, the Oura ring has become the celebrities’ favorite health tracker.

Prince Harry and Kim Kardashian both have one. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, a man known for his intense wellness habits, uses an Oura ring to track his sleep. Christiano Ronaldo was pictured snoozing with the titanium tracker on. And in 2020, the NBA and WNBA even partnered with Oura to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the NBA bubble (remember that thing?). Players were given the option the wear the Oura ring which would survey their heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature (among other factors) to monitor and, ideally, reduce the spread of the disease by flagging onset symptoms.

After wearing the Oura ring for almost a year now, I can report that, while the device cannot alert you of any present illness for certain, to my surprise, it can detect when something’s not quite right with my body. The Oura ring is packed with features, but some notable ones include a “sleep” score, which analyzes how well you slept the night before. This influences your “readiness” score, which helps determine how much activity your body is capable of undergoing throughout the next day.

For example, if your “sleep” score is low, your ring might recommend resting and taking it easy that day, especially if your ring detects you’re under the weather. After one feverish night, I learned of my ring’s ability to detect sickness after it notified me that my body temperature was abnormally high overnight. As a notoriously hot sleeper, this notice from my ring was actually super convenient and substantiated my prior suspicion that I was sick.

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The Oura ring also gets points for its fitness and activity tracking. Unlike my smartwatch which requires me to input activity manually, my ring automatically tracks any type of activity. Whether I’m going for a run or just doing chores around the house, Oura will detect that movement. So how does such a tiny device do it?

Oura uses advanced sensor technology, namely infrared photoplethysmography sensors (PPG) to monitor heart rate and respiration, a negative temperature coefficient (NTC) sensor to detect body temperature and finally, a three-dimensional accelerometer to track accurate movement. Unlike most wearables which use a green light, the Oura ring uses red infrared light which penetrates the skin deeper, allowing for more high-caliber readings.

All of this is to say, the Oura ring is a rather advanced, design-forward sleep and fitness tracker. However, like most high-tech wearables, it doesn’t come cheap. Depending on the style and finish you pick, the Oura ring can cost up to $549, but models start from $299. Still, we find the Oura ring is worth the investment if you’re serious about your wellness stats, or just want a more accurate picture of your overall activity, sleep and recovery.

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