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Samsung is joining the smart ring wars

The Galaxy Ring tracks sleep, steps, and more for $400.

Samsung is joining the smart ring wars
[Source photo: Samsung]

Samsung is moving beyond the wrist with a $400 smart ring for fitness tracking.

The Galaxy Ring looks similar to other smart rings, such as the Oura Ring Gen3 and the Ultrahuman Ring Air. It has heart rate and skin temperature sensors, and it can track steps, sleep, and menstrual cycles.

Samsung’s foray into smart rings is part of a slew of Galaxy device announcements, including updated foldable phones, earbuds, and smartwatches. It’s a new product category for the company and one that most other tech giants, such as Apple and Google, haven’t ventured into. (Amazon released a chunky fitness ring called the Echo Loop in 2020 but discontinued it one year after launch.)

As you might expect, Samsung’s making a big push around “Galaxy AI” for the Galaxy Ring and its other wearables. You might think that means generative AI or chatbot-driven coaching, but it’s really just a catch-all term for various features driven by health-tracking algorithms.

[Photo: Samsung]

For instance, Samsung’s introducing an “Energy Score” that grades your overall readiness based on activity levels and sleep metrics. Samsung’s Health app will also provide “Wellness Tips” based on your activity, though it’s unclear how nuanced this advice will be. (In a briefing, the company gave an example of being encouraged to meditate around bedtime if you’re struggling to fall asleep, which anyone with sleep issues has almost certainly heard before.)

The bigger differentiator may be Samsung’s up-front pricing, as the company says it won’t charge a subscription fee for any of its fitness-tracking features. By comparison, Oura charges $6 per month or $70 per year for advanced features including in-depth sleep analysis, personalized insights, and live heart-rate monitoring.

[Photo: Samsung]

Samsung’s also touting ties between the Galaxy Ring and other Samsung devices. Samsung’s Find app will show the ring’s last known location, for instance, and the ring will support some phone control gestures, such as double-pinching to snap a photo or dismiss an alarm. More interestingly, the Galaxy Ring will recognize when you’re also wearing a Galaxy Watch and disable redundant sensors to stretch battery life. (Samsung is advertising up to seven days of battery life normally.)

On the downside, the Galaxy Ring won’t work at all with iPhones, and some major AI features such as Energy Score and Wellness Tips will require a Samsung phone in particular.

Reviews of smart rings have praised their stylishness and the comfort of wearing them to bed compared to a smartwatch, though of course they can’t spare you from pulling out your phone by serving up notifications or glanceable info. Samsung’s betting that there’s a sizable market of folks who want to tap into its health features whether they wear a smartwatch or not.


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Jared Newman covers apps and technology from his remote Cincinnati outpost. He also writes two newsletters, Cord Cutter Weekly and Advisorator. More

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