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4 features Samsung's Galaxy Ring needs to be an instant buy for me

The Samsung Unpacked stage is set for the company to unveil a new smart ring. Here are the features I'd like to see.
Written by Prakhar Khanna, Contributing Writer
Prakhar Khanna wearing RingConn, Ultrahuman and Noise smart rings
Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

Smart rings are still a relatively niche product category, but the form factor is poised to grow exponentially in the coming years. While companies like Oura have been leading the way for smart wearables, it should come as no surprise to see the likes of more mainstream companies like Amazfit and Samsung entering the segment this year. 

Also: What to expect from Samsung Unpacked Summer 2024: Galaxy Z Fold 6, Watch 7, Smart Ring, more

I've been wearing smart rings since late 2023 -- juggling between the RingConn Smart Ring and the Ultrahuman Ring Air in the past few months. I've tested a couple more, and in my six months of wearing smart rings, I'd like to think that I've developed a good sense of what features are good to have, practical, and unnecessary. 

With Samsung expected to launch the Galaxy Ring during Unpacked next week, here are the best features I'd like to see the company take advantage of.

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1. Add Google Find My Device support

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

My skin is sensitive to smartwatch sensors, so no matter what smartwatch I'm wearing, I tend to get rashes on my skin over time. It's one of the main reasons why I prefer smart rings and consider them a better form factor for health tracking. However, smart rings lack one essential feature -- Find My Device support. 

I realize it's a ring; ideally, it isn't meant to be taken off, lost, or stolen. But it can get uncomfortable when you're wearing it on the same finger (I switch between two fingers) daily. I take mine off while showering, sometimes randomly to relax my finger, and also when I'm eating. In fact, I almost lost a smart ring in December after misplacing it during dinner. (It turned out to be in a bin outside of my apartment because I had accidentally cleaned it along with that night's pizza boxes.)

Also: This $299 smart ring is my new go-to sleep tracker, and it's not by Oura

That's why having a feature like Find My Device on the Samsung Galaxy Ring is essential and a big selling point for people like me. Even if Samsung doesn't leverage Google's location hub, it can still use its in-house SmartTings Find service. 

2. A charging case over a charging puck

Smart ring charging case and puck
Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

One of the biggest problems with today's wearables is the poor charging solutions. I dislike proprietary chargers and pucks (to an extent). Instead, gadgets that consider universal charging stands, like the OnePlus Watch 2 and Meta Ray-Bans, have been my preference. The former uses a detachable puck charger with a USB-C port, which means I only need to carry one cable during travel, while Meta Ray-Bans' case feels like a regular sunglasses case that doubles as a charger.

Also: Here's everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Ring

Out of the smart rings I've used to date, I've found RingConn's charging case to be the ideal solution for smart rings for several reasons. For one, it's not as easy to misplace as the smaller puck chargers that come with the Oura Ring. Secondly, I don't need to worry about finding an outlet to charge my ring. And lastly, a charging case serves as a storage accessory for when you're not wearing the ring, preventing it from being misplaced. (On that note, perhaps implementing Find My Device into the charging case would work too.)

3. No subscription and/or a free tier

Three smart rings with a case and a puck charger.
Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

The Oura Ring starts at $299 and goes up to $449, but there's a recurring $6/month subscription that adds to the cost of owning one. By contrast, the $349 Ultrahuman Ring and RingConn's $279 Smart Ring only require a one-time payment. However, RingConn's CEO confirmed in an interview recently that the company is considering adding more features and exploring a paid tier while continuing to offer the basic health tracking features for free.

Also: I tested this smart ring for fitness junkies. Here's how it beats the Oura Ring

There's no confirmation whether Samsung will opt for a subscription model or a one-time payment option, but I'm hoping for the latter. Or at least I hope Samsung doesn't go the Oura route and gatekeep all the features behind a paywall. Instead, the company should offer a free tier with basic features and a subscription for all the extras.

4. A burdenless mobile experience

Ultrahuman Ring Air against blue sky and skyline backdrop
Nina Raemont/ZDNET

To date, no smart ring has given me the frictionless user experience that I wish for. Both Ultrahuman and RingConn have great apps with clear insights, but they aren't consistent with notifications. 

Also: I tried the Samsung Galaxy Ring and it beats the Oura in 2 meaningful ways

I'm currently wearing the Ultrahuman Ring Air, and the app consistently fails to notify me when the ring has low battery. It sends the "Phase Delay" and battery alert notifications only after I've opened the app, which I do every morning to sync the data. It doesn't seem to be active in the background despite having access to all necessary permissions. The same issue occurs with the RingConn app. I've had at least one instance where these rings didn't track my sleep because they were out of charge or weren't syncing in the background.

I expect Samsung to change that. A company of Samsung's stature should be able to provide a better, more burdenless user experience. As someone who prefers wearing a smart ring over a smartwatch, I'm looking forward to the Samsung Galaxy Ring. I have high expectations, and I hope the South Korean giant won't disappoint with its foray into this new segment.

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