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RingConn takes on Oura with its impressive subscription-free smart ring

For under $300, the RingConn Smart Ring provides the unobtrusive health tracking I expected - plus a couple of extras.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The RingConn Smart Ring is available now in three colors for $279.
  • One week battery life, lovely matte finish, powerful smartphone app, and no subscription fee.
  • No readiness score and does not sync with third-party fitness apps other than Apple Health

While I wear watches on both of my wrists, that type of wearable isn't the best for tracking sleep without being disruptive. For more than two years I have also had an Oura Gen3 Ring on my finger and there've been some compelling updates to both the software and the hardware.

Early last year RingConn launched its Smart Ring on Indiegogo and it is now readily available for everyone to purchase. I've had the  RingConn Smart Ring -- Moonlit Silver, size 13  -- on my left index finger for three weeks and I'm close to deciding which of these two rings will remain in place. I've worn the Oura Gen3 Titanium model on my right hand for comparison purposes over the past three weeks.

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The Moonlit Silver color looks almost exactly like the brushed titanium Oura model and it is very attractive. It is not completely round with just a hint of a squircle shape although most will think it is a circle at first glance. The size 13 one I am wearing weighs in at about 5 grams and inside you will find a 3D accelerometer, four temperature sensors, four PPG sensors, and a low-power Bluetooth module.

Also: The best smart rings you can buy

The RingConn Smart Ring is available for $279 in Moonlit Silver, Midnight Black, and Pale Gold. The ring is made of lightweight titanium and each color has a matte finish. Sizes vary from 6 to 14 and the first step in the buying process is to have a sizing kit sent out to confirm the perfect size for your selected finger.

An IP68 waterproof rating is provided so you can wear the ring at all times. Just like the Oura Ring, the battery life is rated at one week. However, RingConn provides a unique portable charging case that contains a 500 mAh charger capable of keeping the ring going for up to 150 days.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

With the Oura Ring Heritage model starting at $299, the initial costs of these two rings may be similar (although the Gen3 Horizon brushed titanium model that looks like the RingConn silver version is priced at $449). Another significant cost difference is found in the monthly subscription fee. Oura charges $6 per month for accessing all of your health and wellness details while RingConn has no subscription associated with its smart ring.

Android and iPhone devices are well supported by the RingConn Smart Ring. Found people like me who use both smartphone platforms, switching between Android and iOS is a seamless process with RingConn. In contrast, Oura Ring users are required to reset the ring when switching platforms -- thereby losing out on seeing consistent data and trends

One of the primary functions of a smart ring is sleep tracking. The two rings' results over the past three weeks show similar time asleep, heart rate, and SPO2; however,  the scores tend to be 8-10 points higher on the RingConn model than the Oura model. The scores are just indicators and sleep tracking via watches and rings is more about tracking trends and confirming how you feel. I would love to see a company like Garmin partner with RingConn to connect its sleep data captured by the ring into Garmin Connect so I didn't need to wear a watch to track my sleep.

Also: One ring, one app: Amazfit's new smart ring integrates sleep and fitness data

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The RingConn app provides many more details related to stress than the new daily stress feature on the Oura Ring. The activity score on the RingConn more closely matches what I expected to see given the exercises I completed on those days. (Honestly, smart rings are not the best option for activity tracking.) 

Oura connects and brings in activity data from other services while RingConn relies on data captured just by the ring. This is one area where I would like to see RingConn connect to Garmin, Apple, Polar, or Samsung.  

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Also: The best fitness rings to kickstart your 2024 wellness goals

One metric that RingConn does not provide is a readiness score or recovery assessment. Then again, I trust the readiness score on my Garmin more than the value shown on the Oura Ring. Oura usually shows a fairly high readiness score for me while my Garmin varies more and seems to match how I feel after a day of running, rowing, or biking.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

RingConn has a feature called Wellness Balance that is currently in beta and shows an overall assessment based on your sleep, activity, vital signs, and stress. Wellness is provided as excellent, good, and improvable. I've only had one day out of the past three weeks that was not provided with a good rating and I have yet to see an excellent rating.

The RingConn app provides insights into the three key metrics of sleep, activity, and stress with a second major view providing trends. Trends can be viewed by week, month, or year and provide a ton of interesting data in easily viewable charts and plots. You can also view and share weekly and yearly reports that are full of interesting and useful information.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

I was much more impressed with the RingConn Smart Ring than I expected to be;  it's great to see such compelling competition in the smart ring space. If you are not interested in paying a monthly subscription fee then it is easy for me to recommend the RingConn ring. I'm close to switching to it as my primary smart ring because I like the extensive amount of data provided and the ability to easily swap smartphones that I connect to the ring.

Also: The Oura smart ring's brilliant new features outshine even its titanium finish

RingConn continues to develop features and functions with workout mode, menstrual cycle prediction, meditation, and mindful breathing on the schedule for future updates.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

Smart rings are becoming more popular with rumors that Samsung and others may be releasing them soon. RingConn stepped up after years of development and offers a worthy competitor to the current leader in the smart ring space. If you like the idea of not paying a monthly subscription fee, the RingConn Smart Ring is worth your consideration.

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