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.
Best Smart Ring for Activity Tracking
What could be less inconspicuous than a smart ring?The Motiv Ring is a slender, unisex titanium ring that also tracks your activity and sleep, but mainly, your steps. We recommend the Motiv Ring because it looks like regular ring, tracks steps well, has a heart rate monitor, and it's waterproof.
Best Smart Ring for Sleep Tracking
If sleep tracking is important to you, we recommend the latest iteration of the Oura Ring. More streamlined than the original model, the new Oura Ring also offers better battery life and wireless charging. Its advanced sleep tracking (including naps!) takes advantage of its heart rate monitor and temperature sensor to offer suggestions that help you get a great night's sleep.
Pre-orders for the new Oura Ring are currently shipping, but there's a 12–14 week delay on new orders.
Best NFC Smart Ring
Rings with embedded NFC (near-field communication) tags were initially pretty niche, but industry leader NFC Rings continues to produce sleek, reliable products. NFC tags/chips essentially allow you to send small amounts of data, like your website, contact information, or a password, to devices with NFC antennas (smartphones, keycard pads, smart door locks, etc.).
The Eclipse ring is one of their less tech-y looking options with two chips: one palm side for private info and on the outside for more casual info. We recommend the Eclipse because it's the most attractive, dependable, and affordable NFC ring out there with a superior operating range.
If you crave a sleeker look, they also make the OPN ring … which costs nearly three times as much and only has one tag (but it's more waterproof).
Best Activity and Fitness Tracking Jewelry for Women
Bellabeat makes the most stunning smart fashion accessory for women. The Leaf Urban can be clipped onto your clothes, worn as a bracelet, or made into a necklace pendant. We recommend the Leaf because it's highly versatile, stylish, a great activity tracker, and it also helps users track their menstrual cycles.
Best Swim-Proof Activity Tracking Jewelry
When we first saw the Fitbit Flex 2, we weren't too impressed, but the Luxe collection of accessories transforms the activity tracker into a desirable fashion piece. We recommend the Flex 2 and Luxe accessory combo because the result is an attractive, versatile, swim-proof tracker with the valuable support of the preexisting Fitbit community and app.
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.
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).
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.