Yesterday I reviewed the Bellabeat fitness tracker. Today I’m talking about the Motiv ring and the Oura ring. This post might be a bit long, but I’m discussing the two together because in essence, they’re the same — each is a ring-based health tracker. There are pros and cons for each, so I’ll compare them as I go.
These devices are small, and waterproof so they’re wearable 24/7 (except short periods for charging). That makes these a highly practical option. The Oura is water-resistant to 100 meters. The Motiv is waterproof to 50 meters. Both can be worn while showering, swimming, etc., and they do not need to be removed to wash your hands.
Design & Price
Motiv has one simple design, with two color choices. The options are slate grey & rose gold, so there’s one cool color and one warm (or at least warm-leaning) color. Either option is $199.
Oura has two designs, with three to four colors. Both styles are available in silver, black, and “premium rose,” and the Heritage style also comes in “stealth,” which appears to be a matte black or charcoal grey. (The Balance is also available in a diamond-studded silver option for those who prefer to “go big or go home.” At $999, that probably isn’t going to be a viable choice for the majority of readers.) The cost varies by color. Silver or black are $299, but if you want “stealth” or prefer the warmer tones of the “premium rose,” you’ll pay extra, at $399.
I have to be honest; the price hike for color options is a turn-off for me. The Oura base price is higher than the Motiv, but that ring also does more (which we’ll talk about in a bit), so that isn’t unreasonable. But the extra $100 is pretty steep, and it makes the rose gold Oura double the cost of the equivalent Motiv. Color may seem like a petty detail, but we’re talking about an item that’s intended to be worn 24/7, so liking it matters.
(By the way, if you search for the Oura online, you may come across some big, clunky rings. That was an older design. These second-generation designs are a little larger than the Motiv, but not anything like the first generation.)
The Motiv ring is made from titanium, and specifies that it contains no nickel. The Oura ring is made from titanium, with a medical-grade plastic inner.
I tested the rose gold option from both companies. Motiv’s rose gold is more of a pinkish copper. It’s also a fairly matte finish. Oura’s is closer to a true rose gold, and it’s shiny. I prefer the finish on the Motiv ring, because either of these takes a bit of a beating, and the shiny finish shows scratches more readily.
Speaking of size, let’s talk about sizing. The Motiv is available in sizes 6-12; the Oura in sizes 6-13, so sizing is probably not a major factor unless you’re at the far upper end of the range. Both companies say their sizes is a little non-standard, but I found Motiv’s to be fairly accurate to standard ring sizes. The 6 is too large to fit on the finger where I wear my wedding rings, which are size 5. However, even as small as I am, I’m able to wear both the 6 and the 7, depending on which fingers I use.
In either case, you’ll place your ring order, and the company will first send a sizing kit. This consists of a series of plastic “prototype” rings in the available range. You choose the appropriate sizing rings and try them out for a couple of days to make sure you like the fit, even as your fingers swell and contract with heat, cold, and varying food and fluid consumption. Then you go back to the appropriate website to let the company know your size and color preference so they can send the actual ring.
You’ll want to choose a size and a finger where the ring fits snugly. I can’t wear mine on my middle or ring fingers, because my knuckles on those fingers are too large. I can’t get a ring that will fit over my knuckles in order to go on, and will still fit snugly.
I also had to choose a hand, because each hand is a different size.
You may also notice from these images that each ring is a slightly different shape. The Motiv ring has a straight edge on one portion of the interior to allow for the electronics. The Oura has three little bumps instead. The shape of my rings is a little different, too, because the Motiv is completely round, while I have Oura’s Balance model, which has a sort of “peak” to one side of the top. I’ve found this to be very helpful for knowing when I need to resituate the ring to ensure it’s straight. (Motiv’s has a small panel on it with lights that can serve the same function. It looks like a black stripe.)
The Motiv ring has approximately a 3-day battery life and charges fully in around 90 minutes. It can store data for up to 2 days before syncing becomes essential. The Oura has approximately a 1-week battery life and charges fully in around 80 minutes. It can store data for up to 6 weeks. This difference can be quite significant when trying to keep up with the device in everyday life!
The Motiv has a light strip that flashes red to let you know the battery is getting low. (It flashes green when it’s sending data.) In my experience, this is both helpful and annoying.
The Oura charges resting on a corded device. Although the cord is concealed inside the packaging, the ring actually comes packaged sitting on the charger stand.
It doesn’t “snap” into place or anything, so you have to make sure that wherever you put it is pretty stable, or the ring will simply fall off the charger.
The Motiv magnetically adheres to a small “stick” about the size of a flash drive that plugs into your USB port. It comes with a spare that is housed within a keychain so you can carry this extra charger with you. The on-the-go charger is of limited usefulness, since you still have to have a place to plug it in.
When the Motiv is charging, it lights up red (as shown above), and the light switches to green when it’s fully charged. The indicator is very clear and easy to understand. The Oura’s charging indicator is less helpful. A light on the charger stand blinks…very slowly. The manufacturer refers to it as “breathing,” and this makes sense once you see it in action. Supposedly it stops blinking when the ring is fully charged, but the blink is so slow it can be difficult to tell whether it’s blinking, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the light on mine actually turn solid. I just charge it for a while and then assume it’s good to go.
The Motiv is currently just simply available. You can order through their website, or you can order via Amazon. Oura is currently operating on a pre-order basis, so it can take a couple of months to get your ring once you place the order.
Both rings have both iPhone and Android apps available. However, both Android apps are currently in Open Beta, so they aren’t compatible with as wide a range of devices. If, like me, you don’t replace your phone every time there’s an update, your device might not be compatible. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4, and can’t run the apps on my own phone. I have to sync to my husband’s which, at S7, is the oldest one the app works with. I was able to download the Oura app to my phone; I was truly unable to download the Motiv app to my own phone. (Note to both manufacturers: I’d love to have an Amazon app option, too, once the Android is out of Beta.)
Motiv also has some cross-connectivity with a variety of other systems, such as Apple Health and Alexa, although it is my understanding this is just extra functionality, not additional iterations of the basic app functionality.
Both rings sync based on Bluetooth. The Motiv attempts to sync periodically throughout the day, and does not have an airplane mode, although it is low-signal and not always activated. The Oura uses Bluetooth, as well, but does have an airplane mode, so you can turn the wireless off if you like, when you aren’t charging or syncing it.
Tracking: Heart Rate
Note: all of the tracking specifications that follow are as per the manufacturer’s websites.
Motiv tracks resting heart rate. Oura tracks night-time ECG-level resting heart rate (RHR), interbeat interval (IBI) and heart rate variability (HRV). Neither tracks heart rate continously.
Motiv tracks active minutes, calories burned, activity intensity/type, distance, and steps. Oura tracks movements and daily rhythms, intensity, timing and length of physical activities, inactivity and sedentary time including optional alerts.
Motiv tracks sleep duration. Oura tracks sleep stages (deep, REM, and light sleep) timing, duration and quality.
Tracking: Temperature & Respiration
The Motiv does not track these data points, which is a significant factor in favor of the price difference. Oura tracks respiratory rate, breathing variance; and thermometer-level body temperature deviation.
Motiv: 3-axis accelerometer, Smart LED Sensor, Optical Heart Rate Sensor.
Oura: proprietary pulse waveform and pulse amplitude variation detection with infrared PPG sensor, body temperature sensor, 3D accelerometer, gyroscope
Motiv includes several other features, such as find my phone, social sharing, and inner circle sharing. (These may be platform-specific.)
How Well Do They Work?
As far as I can tell, the Oura does a pretty good job of tracking my data. Sleep patterns correspond more-or-less to what I would expect, including reflecting wake times when I wake to nurse a baby. Given the quantity of data tracked, though, there’s a bit of a learning curve to understanding what you’re seeing in the app. There’s also a “cloud,” and some of the data seems to be presented in a different format in the cloud.
Temperature, in particular, seems much more useful to me in the cloud than in the app. I believe that, in theory, the temperature tracking should allow for menstrual cycle tracking without the need to get up and take your temperature manually. However, my cloud data just stopped working after an update (I’m not sure if that’s a universal problem or just me), and I wasn’t able to view the temperature pattern for long enough to determine that for certain.
With the Motiv, it’s harder to tell. The Android app is very poorly designed and extremely glitchy. It often takes me multiple tries to get it to sync. A bigger problem is that it will only display the current day’s data. There is no ability to scroll forward or backward through the dates, so once a day has passed, that data is, for all practical purposes, just gone. This is particularly frustrating if you happen to sync it right around midnight, because then you won’t ever even see the previous day’s data.
So, from the little bit I’ve been able to see, I think the data tracked is okay, but I can’t view it, so it isn’t useful.
I actually prefer the Motiv ring, overall. The color, the finish, the overall design and fit all edge out the Oura a bit for me personally. The Oura, however, wins, hands-down, for functionality. Not only does it do more than the Motiv, it actually does what it’s supposed to do.
I was really hoping to be able to recommend both devices, for different budget levels, depending on whether you need the temperature tracking, extra sleep information, etc. Unfortunately, I just can’t — at least for Android users. The app is so dysfunctional as to make the entire thing completely useless. The Oura, while it does still have some occasional glitches to work through, pretty much works as expected.