LAS VEGAS—If I say “wearable,” chances are you’re picturing a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. And that’s because other wearable formats, like the smart ring, have largely flown under the radar. Usually, they’re a little too fashionable for everyday wear, have limited functionality, or some mix of the two. But Motiv is looking to change that with a sleek new fitness tracker, the Motiv Ring.
I got to try on the Motiv Ring at CES Unveiled and design-wise, the ring is nondescript, but chic. It’s made from an ultra light titanium shell and comes in two colors: slate gray and rose gold. There’s also a slim LED indicator, which lets you know when the ring is low on battery, syncing, or updating its firmware.
I tried on the rose gold version, which was actually a more brassy color, and it reminded me of what a standard wedding band might look like: simple, clean, and a natural part of your hand. And true to the material’s name, the Motiv Ring was indeed ultra light. Even after just a minute or two, it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all. Which is impressive when you consider it’s got a Bluetooth sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, an optical heart rate monitor, and a lithium-ion battery.
Functionally, the Motiv Ring is like a mini Fitbit for your finger. It tracks steps, calories, burned, average heart rate, sleep, activity type, and distance traveled. The main difference is that instead of steps, it emphasizes reaching 150 “active minutes” per week. The Motiv app, which is iOS-only, also focuses on weekly goals and will adjust daily targets based on your actual activity level.
All this is encouraging as the ring is meant to be worn 24/7, or close to it. I love my Fitbit Charge HR, but even I have to admit there are mild annoyances with wearing wrist-centric trackers all day. Even though my first Charge survived an accidental tumble in the washer, because it’s only water-resistant, I’m always paranoid about daily necessities like washing my hands or doing the dishes. Also, charging is a pain—who wants to carry around yet another power cord. (Hint: Not me).
To that end, the Motiv Ring is waterproof up to about 160 feet underwater. A Motiv spokesperson told me that it should be able to withstand everyday mundanities like handwashing, dishwashing, and showering—though no word if it’ll be able to survive a trip through the washing machine. The ring also has a battery life of up to five days, and comes with two magnetic chargers. One snaps inside the ring, which you then plug into a USB port. The other is a keychain charger, which is a great accessory as you’re less likely to forget your keys than yet another cord.
The Motiv Ring won’t be available until spring, but you can pre-order it now for $199. And because no ring is one-size-fits-all, if you do pre-order, Motiv will send you a ring-sizing kit. Because I have sausage fingers that swell up easily, I got the chance to try out the kit and it’s fairly easy. There are seven sizes and you simply choose one that’s snug, but not too tight. Motiv recommends wearing the tester for roughly 12 hours as temperature and activity can change the size of your fingers throughout the day.
Whether or not the Motiv Ring is worth the $199 price tag will depend on its durability and the accuracy of its sensors in testing. But if it can deliver on its promises, there’s a good chance that it might be the one smart ring to rule them all.