Motiv Ring review: Fitness tracking on your finger
The Motiv Ring lets you track steps, activity, heart rate, and sleep with a ring rather than a smartwatch or a wristband, and it's now compatible with Android phones as well as iPhones. Does it offer a better tracking experience than more conventional wearables? Here's our verdict.
How well the Motiv Ring suits you is likely to depend on how comfortable you are wearing jewelry, but to give the device's makers their due, they make it very easy to get started. You order a special sizing kit direct from Motiv before making a purchase, which ensures you get exactly the right fit for your chosen digit.
The ring itself is available in rose gold or slate gray, crafted out of a piece of titanium. It recharges via USB, and Motiv promises around three days of use on a single battery charge, which we found to be more or less accurate. Already, that puts it ahead of some of the more power-hungry smartwatches out there.
In use, we found the Motiv Ring light and unobtrusive. It looks stylish on the hand, and is plain enough to fit alongside whatever other jewelry you wear. If you already wear one or more rings, then other people might not even notice you've got a fitness tracker fixed to your finger.
The Motiv Ring is comfortable too, standing up to several days of use, some intense activity, and regular showers without any problems at all. It was occasionally distracting, but our hands are normally ring-free, so it took some getting used to – your mileage may vary here.
In terms of size, the ring measures 8 mm (0.31 in) wide and 2.5 mm (0.098 in) thick, with a little bulge where the heart rate tracker and charging magnets are. We'd say it's slightly more bulky than your average ring, but not by much.
Unless you're a serious athlete, the ring will track everything you could ask for: steps taken, distance covered, calories burned, heart rate (both active and resting), sleep duration, and a series of specific activity types, too.
The ring can't distinguish between different types of light and heavy sleep though, an omission that's apparently down to squeezing out more battery life from the device. It does a good job of working out when you're asleep, but if you need more detailed readings, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Its diminutive size doesn't seem to impair its tracking capabilities either, from what we could tell. Long-distance runs, changes in heart rate, and short breaks in nighttime sleep were all picked up by the ring. Step counts were broadly in line with the readings we were getting from our phone and a Wear OS device, and it doesn't seem to be distracted by activities such as typing this review.
What you do miss out on, because the device is so small and minimal, is any kind of alert or interaction system. You don't get a buzz when you've reached your daily target or when a text message comes in on your phone, for example, and obviously there's no screen for instant updates on your fitness statistics.
To find out just how your stats are racking up, you need to turn to the associated app, now available on Android as well as iOS. It's refreshingly clear and straightforward, on the whole – digging deeper into menus can occasionally get confusing, and it doesn't have quite the polish of something like the Fitbit app, but in general we were happy.
The usual array of options for reviewing your progress over time and setting goals for the future are all present and correct here. The Motiv apps can also export data to Apple Health and Google Fit, so you don't have to rely on the native apps if you don't want to.
If wearing a ring is going to feel more comfortable and natural to you than a wristband, then the Motiv Ring is definitely worth considering. There are a few direct competitors out there, including the Ōura, but nothing that really looks as good or covers as many bases as the Motiv Ring. It's comfortable, it's accurate, and you can't really ask any more than that.
Be prepared for it to show slight signs of wear and tear over time though, particularly if you're going to keep it on while washing the dishes, doing DIY and so on. We were often tempted to take it off while not actually exercising just to protect it, which really defeats the point of a tracker you can wear around the clock.
At US$199 the Motiv Ring is far from the cheapest fitness tracker out there, and at this price you would usually expect something with a display and maybe phone alerts. That said, in terms of a discreet wearable you can slip on and forget about, it's hard to beat.
Product page: Motiv
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