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Oura rolls out blood oxygen sensing for 3rd generation Ring

Oura Ring fans were disappointed that so many promised features were missing from the Ring 3 launch. Several features have been added over the past eight months, and it is now a very compelling wearable.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Late last year, when the Oura Ring Generation 3 launched (see our full review) I awarded the ring an 8.3/10 rating with a few things listed in the cons section. With this latest update, three of the four cons have now been resolved, and my rating needs to be updated to well over a 9.


Sample image of someone with fair breathing regularity and good blood oxygen levels

Image: Oura

This week's update brings blood oxygen sensing to the Oura Ring 3, and I see my evaluation ring has already received the update, so I'll get my first night's sleep with it this evening.

In late May, we saw support for Workout heart rate appear on Ring 3, and I'm currently testing this as I train for a couple of events. Two weeks ago, Oura and Strava announced a partnership. While the Oura Ring 3 wasn't a must-have late last year, these new features make it a very compelling wearable.

Also: Oura Ring 3 review: Unobtrusive 24/7 health tracking with more to come in 2022

Blood oxygen sensing is present on many smartwatches and sports watches today, with Apple making it a prime feature in last year's Apple Watch 7. Blood oxygen levels (SpO2) refer to the percentage of oxygen in your blood. If your levels drop or your breathing becomes irregular, it may be a sign of illness, a change in your altitude (an important measure for high mountain athletes), or some other condition impacting your health. Over the past couple of years, blood oxygen levels were a key indicator of likely covid-19 infection through the global pandemic.

Oura Ring uses the red and infrared LEDs inside the ring to measure blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Oura Ring then calculates and reveals an average blood oxygen level for the night as well as breathing regularity levels. Breathing regularity indicates the number of variations measured while you sleep. Four categories of breathing regularity are shown: optimal, good, fair, and pay attention. The Oura smartphone app will not display a breathing regularity timeline if the ring measures an optimal level.


Your Ring 3 battery will be impacted by the blood oxygen measures so choose wisely

Matthew Miller/ZDNet

The company stated that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects approximately 20% of US adults, with up to 90% left undiagnosed. After a fishing trip with my brother, it became clear he suffered from sleep apnea and was unaware he stopped breathing throughout the night. The Oura Ring 3 is not a medical device, but it can measure and inform you of trends so that you can visit your doctor for further evaluation and analysis.

The Oura Ring 3 is living up to its potential, and with these additional features, it has become an essential wearable for me. I love that it replaces my wedding ring, so it doesn't require another wrist or bulky watch to track key health data 24/7 with no effort on my part.

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