Samsung Galaxy Ring vs Ultrahuman Ring Air: Which subscription-free smart ring wins?

Nina Raemont/ZDNET

Samsung has just introduced its first smart ring, The ring of the galaxyin his summer Unpacked EventThis is the first time a major tech company has entered the smart ring space, and could signal increased competition within this market as more big tech companies like Apple and Google enter the business.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked July 2024

He galaxy ring It tracks your sleep, activity, and energy. It’s made from titanium material, comes in three colors (silver, black, and gold), and has a battery that’s supposedly good for seven days. The sleep and energy scores are similar to scores offered by competing smart ring brands. The ring comes with an intriguing fast-charging case, with exterior LED lighting that indicates the charge percentage. With the ring on your index finger, you can use the double-pinch gesture to take photos with your phone or dismiss an alarm.

Also: The best smart rings you can buy right now

One of the coolest features of the Galaxy Ring, though, is its subscription-free model. Many smart rings and other wearables put users’ data behind a paywall and charge monthly or annual subscriptions to access the information. Thankfully, the Galaxy Ring doesn’t. But it’s not alone. Ultrahuman Air RingOne of my favorite smart rings I’ve tested this year, it’s also free. How does the Ultrahuman Ring Air compare to the Galaxy Ring? Which one should you buy? I explain all about that below, so read on.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Ring Ultrahuman Ring Air
Price $399 $350
Size Size 5-13 Size 5-14
Colors Black titanium, silver titanium, gold titanium Raw titanium, aster black, matte grey, bionic gold, space silver
Sensors Accelerometer, PPG, skin temperature PPG; Skin temperature; 6-axis motion sensors; Red, green and infrared LEDs
Material Titanium Titanium and epoxy resin
Battery Seven days Six days
Water Endurance 10 ATM, IP68 Up to 100m
Thickness 2.6 mm 2.45 – 2.8 mm (depending on size)
Weight 2.3g – 3g (depending on size) 2.4 – 3.6 g (depending on size)
Connectivity Bluetooth Low Energy 5.4 Bluetooth Low Energy 5
Compatibility Android Only iOS and Android

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Ring if…

Samsung Galaxy Ring Colors

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

1. You are a hardcore Android user

The Galaxy Ring will only work within the Android ecosystem, so iPhone users should either pass up this opportunity to own a smart ring or wait for Apple to release a smart ring of its own. Seamless integration with WearOS keeps health data from your Android device and your Galaxy Ring in one place, and you don’t have to juggle multiple apps to keep track of your data.

2. You want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest innovations.

This is the first major mobile brand to introduce a smart ring and could mark a shift in the tech space if Apple and Google take note and develop their own smart rings. Early adopters and people who care about the latest technology will enjoy using the Galaxy Ring.

The Galaxy Ring has some innovative features, such as the double-pinch gesture that allows you to dismiss alarms or take photos with your phone, which you can try out through this device. Of all the smart rings I have talked about, this feature is the first of its kind.

Also: I Tested This Smart Ring For Fitness Addicts. Here’s How It Beats The Oura Ring

This is not to say that the Ultrahuman Ring Air does not include some promising and innovative technology within its smart ring (there is a AI Food information tool that uses ChatGPT After all, it’s for diet and fitness-oriented food recommendations.) But when you buy the Galaxy Ring, you’re getting a product that’s a leader in the space of technology and innovation.

Plus, with the Samsung brand established, more people are more likely to use the product, more software updates can be made, and you can visit stores like AT&T or Best Buy to get answers to your product questions or troubleshoot any issues.

3. You are using the ring to track sleep.

Samsung is highlighting sleep as the foundation of wellbeing and prioritising the Galaxy Ring’s sleep tracking technology and features. Once we get our hands on a ring and try out the sleep tracking features, we’ll report back on the power of the technology and sleep monitoring algorithms.

But for now, here’s what we know about the Galaxy Ring’s sleep tracking. Sleep analysis is “extensive,” according to a press release, and uses a powerful algorithm to monitor and measure sleep quality. There’s a sleep score — a fairly standard occurrence among smart rings — and the ring also measures movement during sleep, sleep latency, and heart and breathing rates.

Also: This $299 Smart Ring Is My New Favorite Sleep Tracker — And It’s Not From Oura

Another feature that makes the ring ideal for sleeping is its lightweight construction. When ZDNET’s Kerry Wan tried the ring out for himself, he was impressed by how light it felt on his finger. Depending on your ring size, the ring can weigh between 2.3g and 3g, while the Ultrahuman Ring Air weighs between 2.4g and 3.6g.

While you’re sleeping, you want a smart ring that feels slim and discreet on your finger, so it’s in a company’s best interest to carefully design a product that balances high-performance software with lightweight hardware. Samsung appears to have nailed this balance.

You should buy the Ultrahuman Ring Air if…

Ultrahuman Ring Air against the horizon

Nina Raemont/ZDNET

1. You have an iPhone or an Android phone

Unlike the Galaxy Ring, the Ultrahuman Ring Air works with iPhones running iOS 15 or later and Android devices running Android 6 or later. You don’t need to be tied to the Android ecosystem to use this ring.

2. You are obsessed with fitness.

I reviewed this smart ring while training for my first half marathon, and after months of use, I saw how compatible the Ultrahuman’s features were for fitness-conscious people. While the Galaxy Ring is aimed at a more general customer base, ostensibly for people who want to monitor their daily health and gain insight into activity tracking, the Ultrahuman Ring Air is aimed at people who want to turn their activity, sleep, diet, and fitness regime into a game.

Also: Oura unveils AI-powered health coach a day before Samsung Galaxy Ring likely debuts

Based on the time I woke up, the Ultrahuman Ring Air sent me notifications about when I should delay caffeine or other stimulants to remove residual adenosine from my system. It sent me suggestions for sunlight exposure first thing in the morning and alerted me at the end of the day to get ready for bed. It notified me midday that my stimulant window was closing and when to stop consuming caffeine. And it told me to eat protein-rich foods along with my logged Cheez-Its to avoid glucose spikes.

You know what: This ring is for people who aren’t just fitness-oriented for fun. This ring is for people who are always training for a marathon or tracking their macros and micros. You don’t have to be that kind of person to wear this ring (I don’t consider myself that much of a fanatic, and I still loved this ring and its sleep and readiness scores that rivaled the mainstay Oura smart rings), but fitness junkies will love this ring more than anyone.

3. You want a cheaper smart ring

Smart rings are a new technology and chances are if you buy one, it will be the first smart ring you ever wear. You might buy one and realize you don’t like it. At $350, the Ultrahuman Ring Air is $50 cheaper than the galaxy ringSo if you’re trying to get the least expensive option or avoid splurging on something you might stop using in a few months, the Ultrahuman is the winner.

Alternatives to consider

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