Smart Rings Are In, Right?

Motiv Ring Review: A Bespoke Fitness Tracker, But It Won’t Replace Your Apple Watch


December 19, 2017 Reviews By Photo by Hunter Kelley
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At CES 2017, the Motiv Ring ($199) won an innovation award because it was unique. Essentially, it is a simple fitness tracker, shaped as a ring, that measured heart rate, sleep, calories, steps and overall “active minutes.” And because it looked and fit like any other ring, nobody would know you were actually wearing a fitness tracker. However, the Motiv Ring hit some production delays and only started shipping to early orderers in Fall 2017.

The Good: The Motiv Ring looks like any other ring; there’s no extra bulk or weight. The ring has two sensors (an accelerometer and a heart rate monitor), and the main metric it measures is “active minutes,” which is essentially the amount of time you spend moving around. It breaks these active minutes into days, weeks and months so you can monitor your activity. It also measures steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. It’s waterproof up to 165ft, so you don’t have to worry about taking it off when you wash your hands or go recreational scuba diving. The battery life is pretty impressive, lasting roughly 3.5 days, considering how tiny the ring is.

Who It’s For: You have to be comfortable wearing a ring — and not everybody is. Since it won’t give you the same level of metrics as a dedicated fitness tracker or Apple Watch, it’s really designed for people who want a general layout of their activity and health.

Watch Out For: Don’t expect the ring to be the most accurate fitness tracker. It does a nice job “ballparking” your sleep and movement numbers, but there were times I knew my sleep and activity stats weren’t spot on. Several times it didn’t record me waking up in the middle of the night. There’s no option in the app to stop or start any type of workout, so the ring won’t be able to track your workouts like a smartwatch or dedicated fitness tracker. It uses a unique USB charger, so you can’t use the Lightning or micro-USB cord you already own. If you don’t use an iPhone, you’re out of luck — Motiv doesn’t support Android (yet).

Alternatives: If you’re looking for a smart ring, the second-gen Oura Ring is expected to ship in April 2018. It will cost $299, but claims to be able to monitor your body temperature and breathing as well. Ringly also makes a smart ring, but it’s aimed to look like women’s jewelry than a unisex ring.

The Verdict: The Motiv Ring knows it isn’t really a serious fitness tracker, and it isn’t trying to be one. Instead, it’s a device that blends in with your current wardrobe (if you already wear a ring). Syncing the ring to your phone and navigating the app is simple. And frankly, the fact that the ring packs a number of sensors and a decently long lasting battery into something so discreet is pretty remarkable. The best thing I can write about the ring is that it just works — no hassle, no fuss, no bulk.

However, $199 for a ring is asking a lot. The person who is going to buy the Motiv Ring probably doesn’t own a fitness tracker or smartwatch. They probably aren’t super into health and fitness, either, and are likely more interested in an overall snapshot of their health. The barrier to entry, however, lies in the fact that that customer also has to be comfortable wearing a ring. I’m just not sure how many of those people are out there. That said, it’s difficult not to be impressed with what the Motiv Ring offers in such a compact package.

What Others Are Sayings:

• “If you’re looking for a genuinely discreet fitness tracker and have only basic needs, the Motiv does plenty right. Plus, the app is well designed. At $199, it’s a little pricey considering its feature set – but for a device that fits on your finger, you’d do well to manage your expectations.” — Richard Easton, Trusted Reviews

• “In a sense, it’s a bit a glorified pedometer/heart rate monitor — and for that reason, the $200 price tag will probably be tough for many to swallow. Let’s be honest, a lot of what you’re paying for here is the novelty of having all that crammed into a ring. But there are some impressive feats of engineering here.” — Brian Heater, TechCrunch

• “Most fitness trackers let you start recording an exercise directly, but there’s no way to do that here. Still, the ring was able to accurately detect when I was active, the type of activity I was doing, and when I was sleeping. I tested it alongside the Apple Watch Nike+ and the Fitbit Ionic, and found it to be only a minute or two off from activities that I recorded manually.” — Victoria Song, PCMag

Key specs

Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate, smart LED
Measures: activity minutes, calories, steps, distance, heart rate, sleep
Colors: slate gray, rose gold
Ring Sizes: 7
Battery: approximately 3.5 days

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