Review: Motiv Smart Ring – if you like it, put a ring on it
One ring to rule them all (and in the darkness track them)
So one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to lose some of the spare tire that’s been building up over the last decade or so. Being a nerd and obsessed with metrics and tech, I naturally looked around for a fitness tracker. Thing is, I’m also on the spectrum and clumsy (not related), so wearing wrist-based trackers gets annoying super fast. What could I wear to track my progress and not want to go crazy at the same time?
Enter the $200 Motiv Smart Ring.
Wait… that’s a fitness tracker?
Motiv has done some voodoo techno witchcraft and crammed most of the functionality of a fitness tracker into a fairly slim ring. The real clever bit is the flexible circuitboard, which enables all the hardware to wrap around the inside of the ring without adding bulk. That’s then coupled with a 3-day LiPo battery, a titanium cover in a choice of colors, and the other really cool thing – the only heart monitor to fit inside a ring.
Yep, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, step and activity detection, sleep tracking and more, all with 3 days of onboard memory and battery life. Oh, and a tiny Bluetooth LE receiver so you can link it to your phone or PC. Linking it also lets you use the ring as a gesture-based 2FA key generator for your accounts.
So how does it work?
Okay so the first step in using your Motiv Ring is actually ordering it. The first package you get sent isn’t actually the ring, it’s a series of plastic sizing rings in a snazzy package so you can figure out which size you need. You get rings in size 6 to 12, and Motiv recommends wearing the sizing ring for 24hrs so you get the eventual size you’re comfortable with. I mean, you’re going to be wearing it all the time, right?
Now, the only ring that fit me properly was the Size 12, although I could have done with a 13 so if you’re listening Motiv, go one size larger also, k? I’m also using it as my wedding ring, which is a perfect incentive to wear it all the time to be honest. I could see sporty couples using them to tie the knot in future. Redeeming the actual ring just means going to the website and entering my details and the size I needed, along with the redemption code. Simples.
I’ve been wearing mine for about 6 months now, on a pretty much daily basis. I don’t usually wear a ring, so there were periods of alternating wearing/not wearing as I got used to it again. It’s so unobtrusive that I forget I’m wearing it, which is the best type of fitness tracker to me. If I don’t know I’m wearing it, I won’t be tempted to take it off.
Motiv only takes heart readings when it detects movement with the gyros and algorithms, so while you can get a heart rate 24/7, it’s not always testing so the battery life doesn’t suffer. That 3-day battery life claim is accurate, with me only really charging it on the last few hours, or sometimes after two days if I’m sat at the computer for an hour or so.
It also checks things like your sleep habits and quality, steps taken, calories burned, active minutes (these are when your activity goes above certain thresholds), and occasional resting heart rates for consistency. The Motiv app only stores 1 day of data at a time (even though the ring can store 3 days in memory before a sync), but it links to Apple Health or Google Fit for keeping historical data.
It can also be used for 2FA authentication code generation, and eventually as passwordless login using WebAuthn. Want one already?
So should I buy one?
Realtalk: This is hands-down, the best fitness tracker I’ve used to date. It’s more accurate than all of the stack I’ve tested, has better battery life than the only one I’ve not (Apple Watch), and is so invisible that I only really remember I’m wearing it when it ‘dings’ against something when I grab it, or if my knuckle swells slightly in the heat. Sure, it’s $200, but that’s okay.
It’s a happy midpoint between the Apple Watch and its additional ECG functionality, and the Fitbits etc at the $100 range. Oh, and it’ll track your sleep, giving you graphs for light and deep sleep periods, something Apple hasn’t added yet.
If you hate watchbands or just want the niftiest fitness tracker on the market, go check out Motiv.
A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.
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