Samsung Galaxy Ring: we tried this ambitious connected ring

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Samsung has also worked to increase the pressure around the ring, since the Galaxy Ring was for the first time mentioned during the Unpacked of January 2024before being shown, under glass, at the Mobile World Congress in February. Here it is not only official, but available for pre-order, before commercial availability planned two days before the opening of the Paris Olympic Games (of which Samsung is a partner), on July 24.

A new market to explore

Previously considered a niche product, the smart ring is not an entirely new product. In fact, the first rings, such as McLear's NFC ring, which was designed for contactless payment (in 2013), have been available for over ten years. Oura, one of the pioneers in this market, made its debut on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and was among the first — in 2015! — to turn a smart ring into a health monitoring tool.

Samsung Galaxy Ring

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So while pure players in connected objects were being built in the world of connected health, Samsung has long-standing expertise in this field, combined with a large research and development center. Its first connected watch dates back to 2013, and the Galaxy Ring, which today completes its health ecosystem, aims to be both an alternative and a miniaturized complement to traditional smartwatches. The South Korean is smelling a windfall: according to a Contrive Datum Insights study that he likes to relay, the market for connected rings could be worth 747 million dollars by 2030, compared to 126 million in 2022. Samsung even dreams of becoming a leader, being the first tech giant to launch itself into this universe.

Technology in a featherweight package

So what can a connected ring do? Rumors have gone wild, some hoping for the integration of a vibrator into the device, others that of a blood sugar sensor. In fact, the ring looks a little simpler, but is intended to be packed with intelligence.

Samsung Galaxy Ring

The sensors hidden within the Galaxy Ring.

© Digital

In the sensors department, we find a heart rate monitor, to continuously measure the heart rate, a temperature sensor and an accelerometer. Tools combined with batteries of different capacities depending on the format of the watch, since Samsung is trying to adapt to the widest possible audience: the Galaxy Ring is available in sizes 5 to 13 (American sizes), or 49 to 69 in French sizes. Despite everything, the manufacturer announces a weight between 2.3 and 3 grams, a thickness of 2.6 mm and a width of 7 mm. On the finger, the ring seemed really light and quite comfortable to wear, a little more than competing models that we were able to try. To put this data into perspective, let's specify for example that the latest Ring from Oura measures 7.9 mm wide by 2.55 mm thick and weighs 4 to 6 grams. Samsung, like its competitors, uses a titanium alloy to bring maximum lightness to its device. It is IP68 and 10 ATM certified: understand that it is possible to keep the ring in the shower or during a swimming session.

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Samsung Galaxy Ring

The exterior of the ring is slightly curved, to limit scratches on its coating.

© Digital

Lots of health, a little sport

The sensors included in the Ring of course allow it to act as an activity tracker. Its ambitions are not in the sports field, even if Samsung promises automatic detection of running and walking. In the absence of GPS, it will not do much more, even if it is possible to use its measurements to supplement those collected by a connected watch, or even to launch another activity from a smartphone. In the spirit of smartwatches, the Ring can send inactivity alerts, but on the smartphone, in the absence of a vibrator.

It is in the world of health and well-being that the ring seeks to make a difference. It thus includes a temperature sensor promising to improve the accuracy of menstrual cycle monitoring; if Samsung's communication is not aimed at a purely feminine target, it is largely towards those who are not attracted to imposing watches that the South Korean is turning.

Samsung Galaxy Ring

The data collected by the ring aggregates both daily activity, continuously measured heart rate, and sleep measurements. These include, the brand indicates, the time taken to fall asleep and precise monitoring of sleep phases. The aim is therefore to provide the user with an energy (or vitality) score aggregating both daytime and nighttime data, in order to best advise the user. The idea is to provide them with a precise view of their lifestyle habits and recommendations for activity and sleep based on their current fitness: suffice to say that we will have to test the Ring over the long term to assess the relevance of these recommendations. As with all rings, it is particularly on the issue of sleep that we are waiting for the ring: its format promises both imperceptible wear and the collection of precise data.

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Did you say double tap?

To stand out, the Galaxy Ring is announced to be compatible with what Samsung calls gesture control. Smartwatch aficionados are familiar with the principle of double tap, available on Apple Watch Series 9and which allows, by tapping the thumb and index finger twice, to trigger an action. This is a function of the same order that the South Korean giant offers, to begin with, in order to turn off a morning alarm and trigger the photo capture remotely on the smartphone. We can hope that more uses will be added to the device as part of updates. This gesture control system is not without salt, since Samsung specifies that its ring is only compatible with Galaxy and Android smartphones, and therefore cannot be paired with an iPhone.

Canning

Small format requires, a connected ring cannot afford to carry a large battery. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Ring promises up to 7 days of autonomy for its largest formats, and 6 days for its smallest sizes, which is, on paper, at the level of competing rings. We also note that Samsung delivers its ring with a charging case that simplifies the power supply, and which looks more like a case than a case: practical therefore to move the ring while recharging it. The whole thing is powered using a USB-C cable.

Samsung Galaxy Ring

A prize ring

This technical care, this complete box and these promising first impressions come at a price: of course, Samsung does not impose any subscription to exploit the potential of its device, but you still have to pay the trifle of €449 to afford it, and be the owner of a smartphone of the brand to pair it. This ranks the ring among the most expensive on the market, since you have to pay €294 for the Circular Ring Slim, €329 for the Oura Ring Heritage (with subscription) or €199 for the Ice Ring of Ice Watch; but it benefits from both Samsung's reputation in terms of technical expertise and its marketing firepower, which is much greater than that of its competitors.

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