April 18, 2024

At Galaxy Unpacked last month, Samsung promised a brand-new wearable in a new product category with only a splashy video and a name: Galaxy Ring. We now have some more information, including the fact that it is slated to come this year.

I had some hands-on time with a prototype ring ahead of Mobile World Congress; it’s incredibly light and comes in three colours, but Samsung emphasises that the final product is susceptible to change. But I also got a sense of Samsung’s larger aspirations for this new product line, which it sees as more than simply another wearable, but as part of the company’s vision for the future of ambient sensing.

The Galaxy Ring prototypes I was allowed to sample were available in three colours: platinum silver, ceramic black, and gold. I wasn’t permitted to take photographs during the session, but gold looked great next to my wedding band. The Galaxy Ring is lighter than it appears and does not feel as solid as I expected. It has a slightly concave form, and each colour was available in sizes ranging from 5 to 13, which is a significantly larger range of selections than normal, with sizes labelled S through XL on the inside of the band.

Dr. Hon Pak, Samsung’s VP of Digital Health, did not specify which sensors are in the ring, but did offer sleep insights based on heart rate, activity, and breathing signs. According to Pak, Samsung’s cooperation with Natural Cycles (which currently includes period and fertility monitoring in its Galaxy Watch line) will extend to the ring, placing it in direct rivalry with the Oura Ring. The battery size on the Galaxy Ring grows somewhat with increasing band sizes, but Pak was unable to provide accurate battery life figures.
Samsung galaxy ring

The Galaxy Ring will contribute to a new statistic

My Vitality Score is a feature that Samsung will soon add to the Health app. It is based on a University of Georgia model that considers four variables: sleep, activity, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability.

The Vitality Score will also be available on Samsung’s Galaxy Watches, starting with the Watch 6 later this year – although it will only operate with a Galaxy S24-series phone. Ring users will also be able to set specific health objectives and receive related updates and recommendations via Booster Cards, which will be available in the Galaxy Health app later this year.

Samsung’s smart ring may mark the beginning of a new wearable age

During a session outlining Samsung’s aim for its new wearable, Pak described it as a step forward in developing a bigger ambient sensing ecosystem, enabling “connected care centred around the home.” Rather of depending on a single gadget that must be worn comfortably and charged on a regular basis, ambient sensing collects data from numerous sources to eliminate friction. Your ring, watch, and maybe your refrigerator are all working together to remind you that the last time you ate a vegetable was four days ago, which could explain why you feel horrible.

Pak puts it a bit more eloquently, but he sees a comprehensive system that supports individual health objectives rather than a single device assaulting people with contextless data. It sounds quite reasonable—even gorgeous. But first? Samsung has to get this ring right.