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

Comparison of Galaxy Ring vs Ultrahuman Ring

Nina Raemont/ZDNET

Samsung just unveiled its first-ever smart ring, the Galaxy Ring, at its summer Unpacked event. This is the first time a major tech company has dived into the smart ring space, and could signal greater competition within the smart ring market as more Big Tech companies like Apple or Google throw their ring into the ring.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked July 2024

The Galaxy Ring monitors your sleep, activity, and energy. It’s made with titanium material, comes in three colors (silver, black, and gold), and has a battery that allegedly lasts seven days. The sleep and energy scores feel similar to scores offered by competing smart ring brands. The ring comes with an intriguing quick-charging case, with LED outside lighting indicating the charging percentage. With the ring on your pointer 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 most exciting features of the Galaxy Ring, though, is its subscription-less model. Many smart rings and other wearables put users’ data behind a paywall and charge monthly or yearly subscriptions to access the information. The Galaxy Ring, thankfully, doesn’t. But it’s not the only one. The Ultrahuman Ring Air, one of my favorite smart rings I’ve tested this year, is also subscription-free. How does the Ultrahuman Ring Air stack up to the Galaxy Ring, and which should you buy? I get into all of this below, so keep reading. 

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Ring Ultrahuman Ring Air
Price $399 $350
Size Size 5- 13 Size 5-14
Colors Titanium Black, Titanium Silver, Titanium Gold 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 Resistance 10ATM, IP68 Up to 100m
Thickness 2.6mm 2.45 – 2.8mm (size dependent)
Weight 2.3g – 3g (size dependent) 2.4 – 3.6g (size dependent)
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 ride-or-die Android user

The Galaxy Ring will only work within the Android ecosystem, so iPhone users must sit this smart ring opportunity out, or wait for Apple to make a smart ring for itself. The seamless WearOS integration keeps your health data aggregated 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 in on the hottest and newest innovation 

This is the first leading mobile brand to come out with a smart ring and could signal a shift in the tech space if Apple and Google take notes and develop smart rings of their own. Early adopters and people who care about the newest technology will get a kick out of using the Galaxy Ring.

There are some innovative features on the Galaxy Ring, like the double-pinch gesture that can dismiss alarms or snap photos with your phone, that you can test out through this device. Out of all the smart rings I’ve reported on, this feature is the first of its kind.

Also: I tested this smart ring for fitness junkies. Here’s how it beats the Oura Ring

This isn’t to say that the Ultrahuman Ring Air doesn’t pack some promising and innovative tech within its smart ring (there is an AI food insights tool that utilizes ChatGPT for fitness- and diet-oriented food recommendations, after all). But when you buy the Galaxy Ring, you get a frontrunner product in the tech and innovation space. 

Plus, with the established Samsung brand, it’s more likely more people will use the product, more updates can be made to the software, and you can visit stores like AT&T or Best Buy to get your questions on the product answered or troubleshoot any issues. 

3. You are using the ring for sleep-tracking

Samsung highlights sleep as the foundation of wellness and prioritizes the Galaxy Ring’s sleep-tracking technology and features. Once we get our hands on a ring and test the sleep-tracking features, we’ll report on the power of the sleep-monitoring tech and algorithms. 

But for now, here’s what we know about the Galaxy Ring’s sleep tracking. The analysis for sleep is “extensive”, according to a press release, and uses a powerful sleep algorithm to monitor and measure your sleep quality. There’s a sleep score, which is pretty normal among smart rings, and the ring also measures movement during sleep, sleep latency, and heart and respiratory rate. 

Also: This $299 smart ring is my new go-to sleep tracker, and it’s not by Oura

Another feature that makes the ring great for sleep is its lightweight build. 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 anywhere from 2.3g to 3g, whereas the Ultrahuman Ring Air weighs anywhere from 2.4g to 3.6g. 

While you sleep, you want a smart ring that feels slim and unobtrusive on your finger, so it’s in a company’s best interest to thoughtfully design a product that balances heavy-duty software with lightweight hardware. Samsung seems to have achieved this balance. 

You should buy the Ultrahuman Ring Air if… 

Ultrahuman Ring Air against skyline

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 locked into the Android ecosystem to use this ring. 

2. You’re obsessed with fitness 

I reviewed this smart ring while I was training for my first half marathon, and through months of use, I saw how compatible Ultrahuman’s features were for people who are all-in on their fitness. While the Galaxy Ring appeals to a more general customer base, seemingly for people who want to monitor their everyday health and get some activity-tracking insights, the Ultrahuman Ring Air is for people who want to gamify their activity, sleep, diet, and workout regimen. 

Also: Oura unveils AI health advisor a day before Samsung Galaxy Ring’s likely debut

Based on when I woke up, the Ultrahuman Ring Air would send me notifications about when I should delay caffeine or other stimulants to flush residual adenosine out of my system. It would send me suggestions for exposing myself to sunlight early in the morning and ping me at the end of the day to ready myself for bed. It would tell me mid-day that my stimulant permissible window was closing and when to stop consuming caffeine. And it would tell me to eat protein-dense food with my logged Cheez-Its to avoid glucose spikes. 

You get the point: this is for people who aren’t just recreationally healthy. This ring is for people always training for some marathon or logging their macros and micros. You don’t have to be that type of person to use this ring (I don’t consider myself that hardcore and still loved this ring and its sleep and readiness scores that rivaled smart ring mainstay Oura), but fitness junkies will love this ring most. 

3. You want a less expensive smart ring 

Smart rings are still new tech, and there’s a good chance that, if you buy a smart ring, it’ll 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 less than the Galaxy Ring, so 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

View at Oura



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Nina Raemont/ZDNET Samsung just unveiled its first-ever smart ring, the Galaxy Ring, at its summer Unpacked event. This is the first time a major tech company has dived into the smart ring space, and could signal greater competition within the smart ring market as more Big Tech companies like Apple or Google throw their ring…

Nina Raemont/ZDNET Samsung just unveiled its first-ever smart ring, the Galaxy Ring, at its summer Unpacked event. This is the first time a major tech company has dived into the smart ring space, and could signal greater competition within the smart ring market as more Big Tech companies like Apple or Google throw their ring…

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