- Stylish minimalist design with a lightweight construction and multiple size options
- Incredibly long battery life (even more with the case)
- Can be worn while swimming, taking a bath, or washing dishes
- No subscription fee required for full data access
- Prone to scratches
- Syncing requires the mobile app to be running
The past years have seen an increased interest in personal fitness and health, both physical and mental, which has finally given smartwatches a reason to exist in the market for good. These wrist-worn smart devices have become miniature health clinics that take note of your body’s condition and state and offer some interpretation of this data. But despite smartwatches becoming a bit more stylish than their ancestors, not everyone is comfortable wearing one or is willing to give up a favored timepiece just to keep tabs on their health. The need for discretion and comfort has given rise to a new breed of fitness wearable, one that can be worn discreetly on one’s finger. RingConn is the latest to dip its finger into this niche and nascent market, so we decided to put it on to see if it’s just another “also ran” or if it has the potential to truly change the smart wearable landscape.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice and probably appreciate how simple the RingConn is; a breath of fresh air compared to the sophisticated smartwatches that brands recommend we wear to track our health regularly. It’s the perfect compromise for someone who does want to monitor their activities and sleep without being physically and mentally burdened by the complications of a smartwatch. The ring is a simple circle, though not a perfect round shape because of a subtly flat bottom. Fortunately, you won’t exactly notice that unless you examine the ring closely, and its minimalist design is enough to give the illusion of being anything but a gadget.
Simple doesn’t mean bland, however, and the RingConn definitely brings a touch of class to its appearance. Made from titanium on the outside, the ring is both durable and lightweight, so it doesn’t actually feel that substantial when worn on any finger. It comes in three stylish color options, with Moonlit Silver and Pale Gold gold offering a more luxurious character not unlike fine jewelry. Midnight Black, on the other hand, is more subdued and discreet, a better fit for those who don’t want to call too much attention to the ring.
The ring, however, is rather thick, and that makes it really noticeable even on larger fingers. That’s especially true if placed beside regular rings, especially wedding bands. It isn’t exactly an eyesore, but it does have some significant implications. For example, that does mean that it’s more likely to come in contact with some surface or object compared to thin rings, which introduces risks of scratching. The RingConn’s durability unfortunately only applies to its structural integrity, not to its shiny surface. These two factors together mean that the ring is more likely to get scuffs and scratches during the course of a few days, and the black model is apparently more prone to this than the other two colors. It’s not a complete deal-breaker, but it should give wearers fewer reasons to panic once the scratches start to show in just a few days or weeks.
The charging case mirrors the ring’s minimalist bent, made from matte aluminum that gives the accessory an elegant appearance and a solid build. Each case is made for a specific ring size, so the ring fits perfectly around the charging dock and won’t jump around when the case is placed inside your bag or pocket. Although it can easily slip into your pocket, it’s not as compact as, say, an AirPods charging case. RingConn could have probably made it a bit smaller by sacrificing some battery capacity and it wouldn’t have negatively affected the ring’s performance too much.
One of the problems with smartwatches is that even the lightest of them tend to be heavier than traditional watches because of the electronics and batteries they have to bear. Even those already used to wearing timepieces on their wrists might still find that too uncomfortable, which makes them even more wary of parting with their favorite, lightweight watch. With its incredibly light body and small footprint, the RingConn doesn’t have that problem and stays out of your way, at least most of the time.
The ring doesn’t bear down on your finger, but it’s not completely unnoticeable either. Its larger-than-normal size easily makes its presence known, but its thickness is what really calls your attention to it from time to time. You will hear it tap on surfaces when you place your hand down, and you will feel it when you grip something tightly. It’s not a painful nor an uncomfortable experience, but it becomes a constant reminder that you’re wearing something unconventional on your finger.
Unlike smartwatches that have an almost “one size fits all” design, rings have to fit a finger to avoid it falling off or, conversely, affecting blood circulation. This is especially true for these smart rings that need to be in contact with a specific side of your finger for their sensors to work properly, which means they can’t be too loose either. Fortunately, RingConn is available in no less than nine sizes and will ship you a sizing kit to test which size is the perfect fit for you. The good news is that the ring can be placed on any hand and any finger, though it’s recommended to place it on your non-dominant hand so that movements won’t throw the activity tracker off.
That said, you need to be mindful that the sensors are always at the bottom side of your finger, and there is unfortunately no external marking to help you know which side is which at a very quick glance. The ring has a tendency to roll on your finger in the course of your use, so you have to check once in a while to see that it’s still in the proper position. The top of the ring is designed with a convex surface, compared to the flatter bottom side, so that would clue you in on which side is which. There are flashing red and green lights on the side of the sensors, but you won’t easily see them unless it’s dark.
Although the RingConn can be worn 24/7, thanks to its durability and water resistance, you should also take it off once in a while to let the skin underneath breathe. This is especially important since the plastic surface of the ring’s underside can trap moisture between it and your skin, which could lead to skin problems if left unchecked. Although it’s not necessary to charge the ring daily, as we’ll see later, there might be moments when you can take it off and place it on its charging case, like when you’re taking a shower, to give your finger’s skin a break.
A smart ring’s purpose is to offer fitness tracking and health monitoring features in a more discreet and stylish form. Given the need to be small, however, it’s understandable that there would be some sacrifices to be made compared, eschewing features that might be a staple on smartwatches. That said, the RingConn delivers the most critical information you need to keep a finger on your health, without the cruft that smartwatches also bring in the name of adding more features.
As far as sensors go, the RingConn has a heart rate sensor, a blood oxygen sensor, a skin temperature sensor, and a 3D accelerometer. These might sound basic, but these four alone can already draw a very comprehensive picture of your health every day, including your activity and steps, your heart rate variability or HRV, your stress levels, and your sleep quality. The RingConn can gather data 24/7, as long as you’re wearing it, and provide you the information that you need to make sense of all those numbers. As for the data it does provide, the RingConn yields pretty accurate readings, though there’s some margin of error for activity tracking due to how we move our fingers more often than our wrists. The wearable shines the most when tracking sleep, because it is on a more convenient body part for the sensors to function and because it’s more comfortable to wear to bed than a watch.
All this information is available in the RingConn mobile app, which is a treasure trove of knowledge about your current state as well as advice on how to improve your health. Although the app is full of numbers and graphs, it also has summaries and detailed explanations that provide more actionable knowledge you can adopt. The best part of it is that all of that knowledge isn’t gated behind a subscription fee. The price that you pay for the RingConn is the only cost you’ll have, and all the data can be accessed freely forever.
There are a few things about the mobile app you’ll need to keep in mind when using the RingConn. In order for the smart ring to sync its data, the app must be running, at least in the background. Unfortunately, some manufacturers have aggressive memory and battery management systems that would kill the RingConn app unless you explicitly tell it not to. The RingConn does have enough space for 7 days’ worth of health data, but by then it will struggle to sync with the app, so you might want to open the app regularly just to make sure the data it has is fresh. A recent June update also finally added low battery push notifications so you won’t have to worry about running empty when you least expect it.
Fortunately, you don’t actually have to charge the RingConn that much. Your mileage may vary depending on how active you are, but the ring’s battery lasted an average of six days before it needs to be topped up. Charging the ring takes a little over 90 minutes, at least if you’re going from empty to full. If you take the ring off a few minutes each day and put it on the charger, your uptime will be even longer. The charging is advertised to charge the RingConn up to 15 times, which means it could take three months before you actually run out of juice completely. The charger takes a bit slower to fill up, around 2 hours give or take.
The RingConn’s use of titanium for the ring’s body and aluminum for the charging case scores the brand some points in this area, but not by much. The box, though simple, isn’t exactly compact, and yet it doesn’t ship with a charging brick either. There’s no mention of the use of recycled plastics, which is a bit of a missed opportunity considering the ring needs very little in the first place. Then again, RingConn most likely focused first on using a non-allergenic inner molding for the wearer’s comfort and safety.
The ring is at least built to last, thanks to its durable titanium composition as well as its IP68 dust and water resistance rating. This means that the RingConn is safe to use under the shower, while washing dishes, or even taking a swim. It should be noted, however, that the IP68 rating does still have some limitations, particularly with the kind of water the device will be subjected to. RingConn warns against using the product in humid and steamy environments like baths, and abrasive salt water is a big no-no as well.
The RingConn definitely sounds like a dream come true: a non-obtrusive and stylish accessory that lets you track important health markers while letting you still wear your favorite wristwatch. While it definitely delivers that, it should also be clear that it isn’t a smartwatch replacement, at least not entirely. The RingConn will be missing out on a few features given size constraints, though some of those might not be too much of a concern for most people. It doesn’t have sensors for ECG/EKG for warning against irregular heart rhythms or arrhythmia, for example. Nor does it have any form of GPS that would let you leave your phone at home while you go for a run.
Most importantly, it doesn’t have any sort of haptic feedback to call your attention to notifications on your phone. Nor does it have any sort of light indicator, let alone a screen. This, however, might actually be a selling point because it doesn’t bring all of the distractions that a smartwatch brings to your life, allowing you to just focus on keeping an eye on your body and nothing else.
The $279 price tag might seem a little steep at first, but it’s a one-time cost that doesn’t have any hidden subscription fees attached. That amount gets you an elegant though slightly large ring that can do most of what smartwatches can, but without the unnecessary complications and distractions, days of battery life, and unfettered access to your data. In that regard, the RingConn is practically a steal.
It sadly took a pandemic to make people painfully aware of the unfavorable state of their health, giving rise to plenty of new products and programs that try to cash in on the rising fitness trend. These novel designs sometimes tend to be more complicated than they need to be, trying to sell you the kitchen sink when all you need is a spoon. Smartwatches have become more advanced, more capable, and thankfully more aesthetic, but they have also started to become more intrusive and more complicated than ever.
The RingConn Smart Ring makes a clean break from that trend and presents a minimalist design that provides the important essentials in health tracking. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and discreet, allowing you to wear it almost 24/7 to get the best health data all the time. It doesn’t get in the way of your mobility or your style, and, most importantly, it doesn’t hold your own data hostage behind a subscription. It lets you be aware of your health in a simple and elegant way that reflects the RingConn’s own simple and elegant design.