Samsung’s Galaxy Ring could be a ring that rules an ecosystem

Samsung may have launched three new smartwatches this year, but my wearable is the Galaxy Ring. After months of teasing, Samsung officially announced the $399.99 smart ring at today’s Unpacked event — and I finally got to play around with one. Granted, I’ve only had a short amount of time with the Galaxy Ring, but so far, I like what I’ve seen.

The Galaxy Ring’s hardware is pretty good, though its overall design isn’t far off from other smart rings. (I know because I’ve worn four other smart rings on my hands.) It comes in three colors: gold, silver, and black. All have and look like a titanium frame, but like a magpie, I saw a piece of gold because it has a shiny finish. I can’t talk about durability yet, but it’s 10ATM water resistant and IP68 rated.

7 mm wide and 2.6 mm thick felt My Ora feels slimmer when worn next to the ring, though that may be because the ring is slightly concave. It is also light in weight compared to other smart rings, although not significantly so. It weighs between 2.3 and 3 grams depending on the size. Speaking of sizes, there are a total of nine from size five to 13.

But while the Galaxy Ring doesn’t stand out from other smart rings on my finger, its charging case is eye-catching. It’s not Samsung that puts the Smart Ring in the charging case, but from what I’ve seen, this futuristic-looking design and LED situation is missing. Not only is it stylish, but it’s also very practical. Some smart rings, like the Ora Ring and Ultrahuman Ring Air, come with puck-shaped docks that can be easily lost. A case like this is handy to pack in your bag in case you run out of charge while on the go. (It’s also more immune to mischievous cats who like to peck things off your nightstand.) The case holds 1.5 times the charge, and the rings get six to seven days of battery life. A full charge takes about 80 minutes.

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I also tried Samsung’s sizing kit, which I highly recommend even if you know your standard ring size. You can order the kit online, and it’s worth the extra hassle since size is so important with smart rings. Fingers may swell in hot weather and no two fingers will be the same size. For example, I mostly use size 7.5 on non-smart rings, size 8 on all other smart rings, and size 9 on the Galaxy ring. Not to mention, size affects battery life. The smaller rings (sizes five to 11) get six days on a single charge, while the two larger rings get up to seven.

Even if you know your standard ring size, a sizing kit is a good idea.

Samsung mostly sticks to tried and true technology as well. Like the Ora Ring and most smart rings currently available, it will primarily be an alternative, more discreet health tracker. If you were hoping for something that could deliver notifications or have silent alarms like previous smart rings – You’re out of luck. No vibration motors, LED light indicators or anything like that. In terms of sensors, you get an accelerometer, an optical heart rate sensor (including green, red and infrared LEDs) and a skin temperature sensor. While Samsung introduced some new Galaxy AI-powered metrics into the mix, broadly, you can track sleep, heart rate data, and activity.

These include the new Energy Score and Wellness Tips features. The former uses Galaxy AI to determine how you feel based on sleep, activity, sleeping heart rate and sleep heart rate variability. It’s similar to the various readiness metrics that other health trackers have started incorporating over the past few years. Meanwhile, based on your data, the latter offers personalized insights into your well-being, again very reminiscent of those offered by Ora Ring and other competitors. Other health features include cycle tracking, high and low heart rate alerts, live heart rate readings, automatic exercise detection and inactivity alerts.

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The Smart Ring charging case isn’t unique to Samsung, but I definitely prefer it over docks.

Like other smart rings, the Galaxy Ring puts a lot of emphasis on sleep. Users receive a sleep score that takes into account metrics such as movement during sleep, sleep latency, and heart and breathing rates. But while smart bands are ideal for tracking sleep, There will be a galaxy ring No It doesn’t get the new FDA-cleared sleep apnea detection feature or the ability to issue irregular heartbeat notifications. They are exclusive to Galaxy Watches.

I didn’t really test the Galaxy Ring’s software, tracking accuracy, or battery life because it was so useful. Samsung has some interesting ideas for how Smart Rings should work within its own gadget ecosystem.

Sorry, iOS users, but Samsung spokesperson Cole Hagedorn said on the edge The Ring is Android only (you can run the Samsung Health app on your Android phone) but you’ll get a better experience if you’re in the Samsung ecosystem. For example, new Health AI features like Energy Score won’t be available if you have a non-Galaxy phone. Same with Find My Ring. It uses Samsung Find, which again requires a Galaxy phone. Meanwhile, if you’re using a Samsung Galaxy Watch with a Galaxy Band, you’ll be able to pick and choose which device the Samsung Health app pulls data from. If you are running and the signal from your watch is clear from the ring – it will go with the watch’s data. This will lead to increased battery life.

The Galaxy Ring has a double pinch gesture that lets you control the camera or dismiss alarms while you’re using a Samsung phone.

But the best example of this is if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can use the double pinch gesture to control your phone’s camera or dismiss an alarm. arm useless. It’s basically like the double tap gesture (Pinchy Pinch) for the Apple Watch. Is it gimmicky? Yes, it was pretty cool when I tried it. It takes a bit of trial and error to get the gesture right, but I haven’t seen this with any other smart ring. Unfortunately, this will be limited to the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 at launch. Samsung told me it’s coming to the S24 “very soon.”

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Based on my very limited time with the ring, it already has a few things going for it. The hardware is slick, and despite the $400 price tag, there’s no additional subscription (looking at you, Ora). But the Galaxy Ring’s success hinges on two things: accurate tracking and good battery life. If it can do that while integrating these eco-specific ideas, Samsung could well take the lead in the smart ring segment. Otherwise, it raises an ambitious idea for where smart rings should go next.

The Samsung Galaxy Ring will be available for pre-order starting today, with general availability starting July 24.

Photo by Victoria Song/The Verge

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