Ultrahuman tested: this smart ring works without a plan
Product test

Ultrahuman tested: this smart ring works without a plan

Lorenz Keller
14.5.2024
Translation: machine translated

The Ultrahuman Ring Air is the first piece of digital jewellery for your finger that you can order directly from our shop. The smart ring impresses with its uncomplicated handling when tested.

2024 will be the year of the smart ring. Manufacturers such as Oura, RingConn and Ultrahuman have been selling finger trackers for years. So far, however, these rings have been a niche product. Samsung's announcement that it is also entering this product category has now brought the topic to the attention of the general public.

This is also giving start-ups and smaller companies a boost, as everyone is suddenly talking about smart rings. Existing suppliers also have the advantage of already having the second or third generation of gadgets on the market. Teething troubles should therefore already have been cured.

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The first ring in our shop

Until now, most Swiss smart rings had to be ordered directly from the manufacturer abroad - which can be a hassle due to customs duties, VAT and warranty. The model from the Indian-English company Ultrahuman is now available directly in our shop for the first time

Four colours are available: black, matt grey, gold and silver. The titanium version presented just a few weeks ago is also coming to us - but only in larger quantities in June. The price for the ring is 349 francs at launch. The big advantage of Ultrahuman compared to other suppliers such as market leader Oura is that you don't need an additional paid plan to use the app with all its fitness, health and sleep analysis tools.

Three ways to find the right ring size

A ring must fit well: Not so loose that you lose it. Not so tight that it pinches or you can't take it off. Pop star Jason Derulo has unintentionally shown what consequences this can have. The Oura ring, which was too tight, caused his finger to swell - eventually doctors had to cut it open. The ring, of course, not the finger.

To prevent this from happening, it's worth finding the right size. The Ultrahuman offers three options for this.

Your own rings: Perhaps you know your ring size because you already wear them. The Ultrahuman is available in sizes 5 to 14.

iPhone app: You can find "Ultrahuman Ring Sizer" for iPhone in the App Store. The app can determine the size of the finger with good depth measurement. You have to hold your hand and a credit card-sized card (as a size comparison) under the camera. This has already worked well for me with a beta version. As not all Android devices can measure so accurately, the manufacturer does not have an app.

I can determine my ring size with an iPhone app.
I can determine my ring size with an iPhone app.
Source: Lorenz Keller

Sizing kit: If you want to be on the safe side, order the set with plastic rings in all sizes from our shop for nine francs. This allows you to try out at home which ring fits your selected finger. You can then keep the set, pass it on or send it back to the importer for recycling.

I ordered the size 10, which fits perfectly on my middle finger, but which I can also wear on my ring finger. As the Ultrahuman ring is slightly thicker than a wedding ring, for example, I find it most comfortable on my middle finger. Incidentally, the digital piece of jewellery is surprisingly light and weighs just 3.1 grams. My wedding ring is more than three times heavier.

The safest way to find the right ring is to try on a plastic sample.
The safest way to find the right ring is to try on a plastic sample.
Source: Lorenz Keller

After just a few days of familiarisation, I forgot that I was wearing a ring on my finger. It doesn't get in the way and is comfortable - as jewellery should be.

The Ultrahuman ring in size 10 compared to my wedding ring in size 9.
The Ultrahuman ring in size 10 compared to my wedding ring in size 9.
Source: Lorenz Keller

What can the Ultrahuman Ring do?

The ring serves as a 24-hour tracker for health, fitness and sleep. An infrared sensor for photoplethysmography (PPG) is installed inside the ring, which measures the change in blood volume. This allows the heart rate to be determined, for example. There are also sensors for temperature and blood oxygen.

The measurement data is transferred to the smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy as soon as I open the app. In the Ultrahuman application, I can see the data in full detail and countless analyses. The app assigns a value from 1 to 100 - the higher, the better. The most important analysis tools are:

Movement index: The number of steps, active minutes, workouts etc. are summarised here. I can also compare from day to day and week to week.

Sleep index: The value takes into account sleep duration as well as efficiency, sleep phases and blood oxygen. Eight different factors are listed in detail, each rated as "optimal", "good" or "needs attention". I can also call up my average for the last seven days and compare it with the average of all Ultrahuman rings.

I get a detailed evaluation of how my sleep was.
I get a detailed evaluation of how my sleep was.
Source: Lorenz Keller

Recovery Score: This number indicates how recovered I am. Various key figures are combined here - from sleep and daily exercise to resting heart rate and stress. I can also enter how I really feel subjectively, for example very tired or fit. The system adapts to my state of mind over time.

Tracking: Almost 30 types of sport are stored to record workouts directly. I need the smartphone with the app to do this, as the ring has neither buttons nor a screen, unlike a smartwatch. Fitness programmes can also be called up in the app, for example for yoga, Pilates, meditation or endurance training - sometimes with a training programme for several weeks.

Once a week, I receive a summary with statistics and comparisons. This longer-term view is exciting, as is the comparison with the Ultrahuman Community. I can see what has improved for me in recent weeks, but also what has deteriorated.

The weekly summary provides a long-term view.
The weekly summary provides a long-term view.
Source: Lorenz Keller

Whether in the analysis for one day or the whole week, there are always specific tips on how I can improve individual values. For example, my "Heart Rate Drop" (HR Drop) is around 55 out of 100 points. The Community achieves an average of 67 points, with the top ten per cent even achieving 99 points.

The HR Drop analyses when the resting heart rate reaches its lowest point during the night. The faster, the more the body can recover during sleep. To improve this, I should stop drinking caffeinated beverages seven to eight hours before bedtime. And it's better to meditate or at least relax before falling asleep - and not consume social media.

The manufacturer is constantly expanding the software. In spring 2024, for example, there was an update with the option for women to track their cycle and include it in the analysis. We will test this function separately.

What's missing from the smart ring?

The Ultrahuman Ring is effectively just a sensor. It cannot make itself known. It obviously has no screen, but also no LED light and no vibration function for notifications. The ring therefore does not replace a smartwatch, at most it can complement it.

You can see the sensors and technology inside.
You can see the sensors and technology inside.
Source: Lorenz Keller

The manufacturer has also dispensed with an NFC chip, which you can use to make wireless payments or open digital locks. The focus of Ultrahuman is clearly on health tracking. Incidentally, you can also connect it to other apps such as Garmin, Fitbit, Polar, Suunto or Zwift. Unfortunately, there is no connection to the popular Strava app.

Unlike most sports watches, the Ring does not automatically recognise training sessions. You have to activate this yourself in the app before exercising so that the recording is correct.

What stands out negatively: The app is not yet perfectly translated into German, I came across a wild mix of English and German. Fortunately, it is still understandable.

Design and battery life: more jewellery than gadget

I really like the simple yet stylish design. Nobody notices that the Ultrahuman Ring is not a piece of jewellery but a gadget in everyday life.

The framework of the ring is made of titanium with an alloy of tungsten and carbon, the electronic components on the inside are coated with synthetic resin.

I wore the ring for over a month - during all activities. The Ultrahuman is water-resistant to 10 bar. A few small scratches are now visible on the underside, but that doesn't bother me. This is also the case with my wedding ring, which is also on my finger around the clock.

I wore the ring around the clock.
I wore the ring around the clock.
Source: Lorenz Keller

The Ultrahuman effectively has an underside. While the outside of the ring is round, the inside is not quite circular. There is a slight bulge where the sensors are located. I automatically move this area to the underside of the finger, which is the whole point. This is where the sensors measure most effectively. The unevenness doesn't bother me at all, I don't even notice it any more.

The ring's battery lasts a maximum of six days. A good value, which is similar to other smart rings. When tested, a warning popped up in the app after around five days: The ring should be charged. There is then around 20 per cent remaining capacity. Five to six days of battery life is therefore quite realistic.

To charge the ring, I simply place it on the dock provided and after just under two hours the battery is fully charged again. What stands out: The gadget is quite warm after charging. I can put the ring straight back on my finger, but it is a little uncomfortable.

The charging process takes two hours and the ring gets warm in the process.
The charging process takes two hours and the ring gets warm in the process.
Source: Lorenz Keller

In a nutshell

Perfect ring for health trackers and fitness fans

The Ultrahuman Ring Air records movement, activity and sleep. And thanks to its good battery life, it does this around the clock for several days without interruption. I can not only call up this data in the comprehensive app, but also receive tips and tricks as well as longer-term analyses and summaries.

The inconspicuous ring, which is easy to wear in everyday life, is therefore ideal for anyone who actively tracks their health and fitness data. The analyses and all functions can be used without a paid monthly subscription.

You cannot interact with the ring, so it is not a replacement for a smartwatch. This doesn't have to be a disadvantage: for example, if you want to wear an analogue model or no watch at all - but still don't want to miss out on tracking.

Pro

  • beautiful, lightweight design
  • No plan required for the software
  • Comprehensive analyses in the app
  • Many tips for a healthy lifestyle
  • Good battery life

Contra

  • gets warm after charging
  • Replaces smartwatch only in some areas
  • No automatic tracking during sport
Header image: Lorenz Keller

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Gadgets are my passion - whether you need them for the home office, for the household, for sport and pleasure or for the smart home. Or, of course, for the big hobby next to the family, namely fishing.


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