Stylish Smart Rings and Jewelry You Would Actually Wear

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Stylish Smart Rings and Jewelry You Would Actually Wear

The full version of this article originally appeared on Gizmos.

For years, your phone was the main compact smart device you could carry. Once the wearables wave hit, we were awash with smartwatches ready to help us live out our futuristic fantasies. Unfortunately, most of the smartwatches and fitness trackers weren't exactly easy on the eyes.

Several companies, seeing this deficit, set out to make jewelry that was functional and fashionable. The resulting smart rings, bracelets, and even necklaces are providing more discreet activity tracking and smartphone notifications. Size is currently helping smart rings lead the charge since they have increasingly understated designs and can house accurate heart rate monitors.

If you want a subtle way to send and receive data (from steps to passwords) that is important to you, look no further than these smart rings and jewelry.

01

Best Smart Ring for Activity Tracking

Best Smart Ring for Activity Tracking

The Motiv Ring is a great wearable for people looking for a discreet fitness tracker. We recommend it because it tracks activity well, is waterproof enough to swim with, and it has a heart rate monitor.

What Works

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The lightweight ring is available in seven sizes and you receive a sizing kit before the ring itself to ensure a snug fit. The fit is especially important for the ring's heart rate monitor, a coveted but rare feature in the smart jewelry world.

The ring tracks various activities and calories burned, but it works best as a pedometer. Motiv logs all of your steps, but you're only rewarded for 10 or more minutes of continuous activity. The ring also works well for logging your swimming activity since it's waterproof for up 165 ft. You can use the corresponding app on its own or connect to Apple Health.

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Motiv's battery lasts for about three days and recharges in less than two hours via one of its USB chargers.

What Could Be Better

"The ring isn't great for anything other than very simple sleep tracking."

The Motiv app was only originally available on iOS and the new Android app is still in beta testing, currently making this purchase more ideal for iPhone users. Even then, the iOS app doesn't provide as much comprehensive data as a traditional wristband tracker. The ring also isn't great for anything other than very simple sleep tracking, and the Oura Ring is a much better choice for that feature.

The titanium rings are plated to look like slate gray or rose gold, but it's very easy to scuff off some of the plating after as little as a few weeks of regular use.

Warranty & Customer Support

Motiv offers a 45 day return policy and a one year limited warranty. 

02

Best Smart Ring for Sleep Tracking

Best Smart Ring for Sleep Tracking

If you value sleep tracking over activity tracking and don't want to deal with some clunky wristband, bracelet, or watch, we recommend the latest Oura Ring. The updated Oura Ring combines heart rate and temperature monitoring as well as movement data to give users comprehensive info on their sleep cycles. The data fuels in-app recommendations to improve sleep quality.

What Works

The Oura Ring leverages its heart rate monitor and temperature sensor to provide in-depth sleep cycle data via the well-reviewed Android and iOS (including Apple Health integration) apps. Combined with your nighttime movements, this info can help you get more restful sleep via helpful in-app suggestions. An upcoming software update promises a new meditation feature to help you relax during your waking hours too.

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The app also uses your sleep and activity to data to inform a separate section: readiness, which encourages rest. This lets you know what level of activity you can handle based on your current heart rate, plus how much you've worked out and slept recently, including the impact of naps. All of this info combined can help you pinpoint daily decisions like when you should exercise.  

The ring is made out of titanium with glossy, scratch-resistant coatings in a variety of colors and looks much more like a typical ring than the original Oura. You can also get a diamond-encrusted version for more than three times the already steep base cost.

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A few additional features can make the price tag feel worth it, like water resistance and wireless charging. The ring is safe in up to 328 ft of water and only needs to be charged once a week via the included charging pad.

What Could Be Better

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Though the activity tracking and gyroscope are better than that of the original, the Oura Ring's fitness tracking falls short of other activity trackers, according to Engadget. The company is more focused on your health in relation to your sleep quality than being able to automatically identify different types of activities.

Warranty & Customer Support

You can return your ring within 30 days for a refund (minus shipping fees) and Oura also offers a two-year warranty.

03

Best NFC Smart Ring

Best NFC Smart Ring

NFC Ring's Eclipse is a great near-field communication (NFC) ring for people looking to add some light futurism to their life. With two NFC tags, the ring allows you to perform more than one task.

We recommend the Eclipse because it's affordable, has a fairly sleek design, is water-resistant enough for handwashing and showers, and it has a wide operating range. If you don't need two NFC tags and want a sleeker, more waterproof ring, we also recommend the more expensive OPN.

NFC works better on Android than iPhones, but keep in mind that users can disable NFC in their settings. 

What Works

Most NFC rings need to be within a couple of millimeters in order to be read, but the Eclipse offers a 5–20 mm operating range. This means you don't have to rub your hand around a phone or a keypad (as much).

The Eclipse also has two NFC tags, visually noticeable via the textured and smooth sides of the ring. The palm side of the ring can be used for private information like passwords or to unlock doors while the outwards side of the ring can send casual information like a website or your contact info.

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The NFC Ring Control app allows you to program the tags to do one of six things: send a website, Facebook link, Twitter link, YouTube video link, contact information (a vCard; think of it as a digital Rolodex card), or just text. For the slightly more ambitious out there, there are many intuitive third-party Android apps out there that can help you perform special tasks like unlocking your phone. If you buy an NFC-enabled lock, you'll need to use the app for that lock to pair one of the tags in your ring and then you'll be able to enter your home without a key or your phone.

The ring is also ceramic instead of metal, so it won't rust and it's safe for people who work closely with electricity.

What Could Be Better

"The palm side of the ring can be used for private information while the outwards side of the ring can send casual information."

The NFC tags don't support payments which is one of the major use cases for NFC these days. To be fair, no NFC-enabled ring on the market is payment friendly yet, but NFC Rings will release one in the near future and Token is beta testing another that also supports public transit passes.

Warranty & Customer Support

If you need to exchange your ring, you'll need to pay international shipping. Returns within 14 days (or 30, if there's a defect) will receive full refunds for it and all shipping costs. Partial refunds are provided if the ring develops a fault within a year. 

04

Best Activity and Fitness Tracking Jewelry for Women

Best Activity and Fitness Tracking Jewelry for Women

Bellabeat's Leaf Urban is an attractive and versatile activity tracker. This fashionable pendant can be clipped onto your clothing, worn as a necklace, or worn as a bracelet. We recommend the Leaf Urban because it's a stylish accessory that effectively tracks activity, sleep, and periods.

What Works

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The Leaf Urban can easily become a part of any outfit with the help of a clip, wristband, or necklace.

The Urban tracks your activity, sleep, and calories burned, but then it goes a few steps further. The corresponding app interweaves other aspects of health by providing guided meditations, making suggestions on how your lifestyle impacts your stress, and also lets you track your period. Though these mostly rely on manual input, you can be reminded to meditate or take your birth control via subtle vibrations from the tracker.

The Urban uses a coin cell battery that should last about six months before it needs to be replaced. In addition to not worrying about charging it, you don't have to worry about getting your Leaf wet. It can handle splashes from washing your hands or the dishes, light rain, and taking a shower.

What Could Be Better

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There's no heart rate monitor in any of the Leaf products and that's a conscious choice from Bellabeat. Wrist based heart rate monitors are often inaccurate and it would also be difficult to get pulse data when using a Leaf as a clip or necklace.

Speaking of necklaces, the Leaf Urban feels a bit heavy on the neck and definitely needs more than a dainty chain. Also, though the water-resistance is an improvement on the Leaf Nature, we'd love to see waterproof rating to really make it life and activity friendly.

Warranty & Customer Support

Bellabeat offers a 30 day refund and exchange policy and a one year limited warranty.

05

Best Swim-Proof Activity Tracking Jewelry

Best Swim-Proof Activity Tracking Jewelry

The Fitbit Flex 2 improves on its predecessor, but it really shines in its Luxe accessories. We recommend getting a Fitbit Flex 2 along with a Luxe accessory or two. You'll get the benefits of Fitbit's community, app, and accurate fitness tracking in a swim-proof, stylish package.

If the price tag is a little too luxe for you, the Misfit Ray is another versatile water-resistant option. You don't have to recharge it thanks to its replaceable coin cell batteries, but you need the included (easy to lose and hard to get a hang of) tool to swap wristbands.

What Works

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The Fitbit Flex 2 is actually a very small device within the base wristband. This tiny tracker can be easily popped out and placed in a Luxe Bangle or Pendant.

Through both, you can see the five LEDs that relay notifications. When in Bluetooth range of your phone, you get a blue light for calls and purple for texts. Red reminds you to move and and all the lights glow when you meet your activity goal for the day.

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The best feature on the Flex 2 is it's water resistance. The tracker can handle everything from your shower to a few laps at the pool and it's also saltwater-friendly.

What Could Be Better

The SmartTrack feature on the Flex 2 is limited. You can't manually track special activities which means your jog or bike ride will only be detected after roughly 15 minutes of movement.

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The Flex 2 gets up to five days of battery life on one charge. It would be preferable to get at least a week's worth of activity in, especially since the device lacks battery draining features like a heart rate monitor or screen.

Warranty & Customer Support

Fitbit offers a 45 day refund policy and a one year limited warranty that covers water damage.

06
The Best Hybrid Smartwatches

The world of smartwatches and wearable fitness trackers is a world of generally unattractive squares and rectangles. Sure you get a bevy of features on your wrist, but why does it have to be at the cost of style?

We sifted through dozens of hybrid smartwatches to find the most stylish and reliable ones for your everyday life.

How We Chose

The smart jewelry landscape is always in flux, so we took our time getting to know the different brands in the space. From newcomers to discontinued/failing pioneers, we found the  companies making the best smart jewelry. Since many of these items are only sold through the manufacturer, we relied on expert reviews from tech giants and niche sites, from Wired to Wareable. To get a sense of general user experience, we also looked at relevant threads on Reddit and Quora.

Close But No Cigar

Now that Ringly has shuttered its doors, several other companies are entering the smart ring market. Blinq, a Kickstarter success story, is set to hit retailers this summer as the clearest replacement for Ringly with the addition of a panic button. Nimb is another panic button ring that we found too large and expensive, especially with such limited features.

The fingerprint-locked Token ring hopes to provide some serious competition for the OPN NFC Ring in 2019 by also allowing you to load public transit passes and make payments.

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Kickstarter darlings ORII and Xenxo will battle it out for the best ring that can make phone calls, respectively shipping units this summer and in early 2019. We're especially hopeful that Xenxo can deliver on its promises since it offers the most features of any smart ring.

The only bracelet we could find with a heart rate monitor was Caeden's Sona Connected Bracelet. The company hasn't been able to deliver a second generation of bracelets after the first one was poorly received (or not received at all thanks to many unfulfilled pre-orders).

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We're also keeping our eyes on two MIDI controller rings: Enhancia's keyboardist-friendly Neova and the more comprehensive Wave from Genki Instruments. These rings rely on gestures to trigger effects during a performance or recording session.

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The Guide Team