Wellness wearables abound: the Apple Watch, the Fitbit, Samsung's Galaxy Watch and, of course, the Oura Ring. Each one is as much an accessory — like jewelry — as it is a tiny tech-embedded device capable of tracking your body's inner workings.
Tiny is especially true for the Oura Ring. While not the best fitness tracker, it monitors a number of metrics — including heart rate, body temperature, oxygen levels and movement — to calculate three daily scores: Sleep, Activity and Readiness. Together, they provide an assessment of how you're sleeping, performing and responding to stress, but also whether you're working out and resting enough, whether your period is coming, and whether your diet or how much caffeine you drink has impacted your body's natural cycle. It's a comprehensive health consultant packaged into a device the size and shape of a standard wedding band.
That's an attractive pitch for folks who want access to these data points, especially since the baseline ring only costs $299. (A "Stealth" version costs $100, more because, ahem, "manufacturing our Stealth black material requires an additional layer of precision and detail," the brand says.) Recurring doctor's visits or several other specialized devices to do the same jobs would cost much more. Even if you shopped around within the category, it seems like a deal; a comparable Apple Watch, the Series 7, which is capable of taking almost all of the same measurements, costs $200 more.
In order to retrieve your Oura Ring's data, though, you need a membership. But this fee is new. At first, there was no paywall. Folks who owned an Oura Ring were given unfettered access to the data it recorded, but with new features rolling out quarterly — like workout tracking and period prediction — Oura admits it needs more money to fuel research and development. $5.99 is a minuscule monthly fee in the grand scheme of things, but I understand the gripes this change triggered, especially since the Oura Ring isn't necessarily cheap.
There is a way around the monthly withdrawal, though — but it requires more money up front. The new Gucci Oura Ring, which is the same Oura technology adorned with 18 carat gold braiding and Gucci logos, costs $950, but it comes with a lifetime membership. An interesting offer, for sure, especially for fans of Gucci. But is it worth it?
Well, we did the math. In order for the Gucci ring to pay off, you'd need to own it for nine years. If you take the cost of the Gucci edition ($950) and subtract what you'd spend on a standard Oura Ring ($299), you're left with $651. If the membership plan costs you $71.88 a year, it'd take nine years and 18 days to reach that $651 mark.
But that's if the membership plan stays the same price. Perhaps the company's future plans include raising it to afford to add new features, like Netflix does every few years. Even if the Oura Ring's monthly rose $2 to $8 a month, the price of Disney Plus, it'd take roughly seven years to pay the ring off. (That's about how long most marriages last, a stat that might leave you reaching for a bottle of scotch.)
Are you sure you'll keep that ring? Maybe just buy the black version instead. It's $651 cheaper, and it looks about the same — especially from afar.