Oura, a smart ring firm, has released a new version of its tiny fitness tracker, with significant improvements that could make it a viable competitor to wrist-worn fitness trackers like Fitbit.
The new ring is a successor to the Oura 2, which, thanks to its precise measurements, now retains our top rank as the best sleep tracker of 2021. (made possible by frequent measuring of heart rate from your finger rather than your wrist). With an updated sleep staging algorithm, the Oura 3 should be able to detect whether you’re in light, deep, or REM sleep with greater accuracy.
The Oura 3 also features a SpO2 sensor, which allows it to monitor blood oxygen saturation over the course of the night. This is a function that has become common in most modern smartwatches and fitness trackers, but it’s the first time it’s been seen in a ring-sized device. It should enable you to detect any unexpected drops in saturation, which could indicate a breathing disorder such as sleep apnea, which could be disrupting your sleep and should be explored by your doctor.
Finger on the pulse
During the day, there will be a slew of new features, including women’s health tracking. The Oura 3 uses your body temperature to anticipate your period up to 30 days in advance, whereas many fitness trackers and even running watches just use a calendar to estimate when your cycle will begin and ask you to note your symptoms.
The Oura 3 also includes new optical heart rate sensors for continuous monitoring, and the Oura smartphone app allows you to check your heart rate in real time. The ring will also identify intervals of rest and notify you so that you can make sure you’re getting enough rest throughout the day.
We don’t yet know what the Oura 3 will look like, but the company says it’s fitted all these features into “less than 1cm of space”.
Pre-orders are open now, and we’ll be putting it through its paces in the coming weeks, so check back for a full review soon.
Subscription-based health analysis
Oura is also offering a premium membership programme for $5.99 (about £4.50 / AU$8) each month, in addition to the new smart ring. Subscribers will have “complete access to the Oura app for daily health insights,” as well as personalised recommendations, exclusive audio (perhaps meditation sessions or sleep stories to help you drift off at night), educational films, and more, according to the business.
It’s understandable that Oura has chosen this path. Fitbit Premium (priced at $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$15.49 per month) also offers additional in-depth health statistics, as well as guided workouts, meditation sessions, and nutrition guidance.
Similarly, the new Amazon Halo View fitness tracker is best used in conjunction with the Halo Fitness subscription service, which costs $3.99 (approximately £3 / AU$5.50) and unlocks not only workouts and eating plans, but also activity and sleep data – stats that you’d normally expect to get for free.
There’s certainly a pattern emerging, and if Amazon is any indication, there may soon be a serious shift toward wearables that are inexpensive up front but require a recurring subscription if you want anything more than basic health data.
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear like Oura is going quite that far. Its membership plan appears to be valuable but optional, and if you don’t sign up, you won’t lose any of your biometric data. Existing Oura owners who upgrade to the third-generation ring will receive a discount on the device as well as a free lifetime subscription. Members should, hopefully, have access to new features on a regular basis in the following months and years.