Samsung Galaxy Ring's best feature would be to not lock my data behind a paywall

The ring finger may be one of the next most valuable pieces of real estate in the digital revolution.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief
Samsung Galaxy Ring and health data

Samsung is going to be the first of the big tech companies to launch a smart ring when it officially unveils the Galaxy Ring on July 10 in Paris. Don't be surprised if other tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon follow up with similar wearable devices of their own in the years ahead.

Smart rings have some advantages over smartwatches when it comes to health and wellness tracking -- they can generate advanced data to help you understand your health more deeply and make better choices for your body. That said, there's a bad trend in smart rings, led by market leader Oura. Companies are now locking up some of your data behind a subscription wall. The biggest splash Samsung could make when it enters the smart ring market would be to buck this trend.

If Samsung doesn't charge a subscription, it would be difficult for Apple, Google, Amazon, and other tech leaders to charge one, if and when they enter the market.

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

Smart rings share some of the same features as smartwatches, but they can have a few advantages, such as:

  • They are often more accurate at tracking sleep data.
  • They can provide a better overall picture of your wellness by tracking stress, body temperature, and readiness for activity.
  • They don't have a screen to distract you.
  • There are times when people don't want to wear a watch, but still want to track their activity and health data.

To be clear, there are some smart rings that don't charge you a subscription just to take advantage of the data benefits. The Ultrahuman Ring Air is an example of one that ZDNET's smart ring reviewer Nina Raemont tested recently and really liked -- and it's subscription-free.

Also: The best smart rings you can buy

For the past decade I've been testing lots of wearable tech, from smart glasses to smartwatches to XR headsets. I've been trying smart rings since the original Motiv smart ring in 2018. I've recently been trying out the Oura Horizon Stealth, the company's third-generation product. While smart rings are getting smarter and more capable by leaps and bounds -- and potentially have a great future as companion devices for controlling XR headsets -- there's no smart ring that does enough that I'd be willing to pay a monthly or yearly subscription for in order to access the full picture of my health. 

I hope Samsung will reset the smart ring market by giving us all our data by default with the Galaxy Ring.

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