While most of us have smartwatches or trackers around our wrists to track stats like daily steps and heart rate, smart rings offer a convenient, lightweight alternative — and it looks like we’ll soon have a new product in the category.
A Samsung patent for a smart ring-style device was reported in the naver (opens in new tab) forum in South Korea (via notebook check (opens in new tab)), and the idea is that the device can offer a set of features similar to those available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
The usual caveats with patent applications apply: they only indicate the research and development projects taking place within a company, and do not guarantee the appearance of a real device. However, it looks like Samsung is at least exploring its options when it comes to smart rings.
One ring to rule them all
The biggest name in the smart ring game right now is Oura, with the third-generation Oura smart ring offering features like 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and even some mindfulness exercises. It retails for $299, which at the time of writing is around £265 / AU$470.
According to those in the know, Samsung plans to include an optical heart rate monitor and ECG features in the smart ring. An ECG (electrocardiogram) reading looks for irregularities in heart rhythms.
It doesn’t look like the device will make an appearance anytime soon, if it ever makes it to the consumer market – but signs are that Samsung is planning to further expand its Galaxy device lineup.
Review: smart ring vs smartwatch
If you haven’t come across the idea of a smart ring before, it might seem a little strange. However, these wearables can outperform smartwatches in a number of areas, including battery life – the Oura ring can last a full week between charges.
A ring is also a more discreet device compared to even more basic smartwatches or fitness trackers that are worn on the wrist. If you are into intense sports and exercise, you may find that you prefer the lighter, more fixed feel of a smart ring compared to the alternatives.
When it comes to sleep monitoring, again, the more discreet the device, the better. Many of us are already used to wearing rings – whether for engagements, weddings, or just decoration – and so a smart ring isn’t much to wear (although we’d be surprised if someone proposed wearing one).
Samsung will clearly do its research before deciding to launch a smart ring, and it’s not the only company looking to fill the niche in the market: Fitbit is also working on a smart ring, while a variety of other options are also appearing.