I first ordered an Oura Ring in November 2016 after hearing a lot about the device on the Ben Greenfield show. I was looking for a smaller tracking device that would capture movement/steps, sleep and recovery. Wearing watches all day and night was not working for me. I thought this relatively small-sized ring would do the trick.
Turns out the original Oura Ring isn’t that small in terms of a ring. I had a black one and after about two week of everyone thinking I was some hippie with a mood ring, I began to only wear it at night to track sleep.
It is a really cool device and does exactly what it advertises. With the addition of HRV measurements a couple of years ago, I found the ring to be my go-to device for tracking sleep and recovery.
If I had some complaints about the first ring it was that the battery life was very short. It would not record three consecutive nights of sleep without being charged. So, if I was going out of town for even a weekend I would have to drag along its charger. Next, you had to make sure the sizing was right. I worked with a couple of their tech guys on the side and found out from the raw data they could see showed that it was not recording strong bio signals from my finger. They recommend I jam something between the top of the ring and my finger to get a more snug fit at night. I used a cut foam ear plug to do so and the results turned out much better. I found out that at night, when my fingers got smaller, the ring would be super loose. During the day or just before I went to bed, my fingers would tend to swell and the ring would almost be too tight. So I couldn’t go any smaller. You really have to figure out the sizing stuff. Outside of those two minor complaints, the loved the first ring.
Then the ring stopped connecting to my iPhone. With my tech background I used some of the tools we had in our forensic computer lab to see why it stopped connecting. In short order I figured out the Bluetooth transmitter had stopped working. Here’s where the trouble starts.
I contacted Oura to get the ring replaced. I sent emails to their support email address but didn’t get a single reply. After about two weeks I decided to reach out to the Oura employee that contacted me. Let me backtrack. I wrote on our triathlon team’s website a little review about the first Oura Ring and a marketing guy from Oura got in touch with me to thank me. He was the one that helped me figure out the ring was not getting a good bio signal from my finger. I still had his email and since I wasn’t getting a reply from anyone else, I reach out to him. He put me in email contact with a tech/troubleshooter guy in the company that walked me through some things to try. He ultimately came to the same conclusion I did, that the Bluetooth transmitter died. The whole process was stupid. We would go back and forth via email. He would ask some questions. I would email the answers. Then I wouldn’t hear from him for a week. This went on for about a month and in the end he figured out my problem solving was correct. Oura finally processed a replacement, or so they said.
I never actual proof that a new ring was shipped (ie., new order number, email, UPS tracking number). I waited a week but still no word. I then emailed the guy I had been working with on the tech side. No reply. After a few more days I had to reach back out to the marketing guy to figure out what was up. He kept in communication with me and got the new one mailed out. Then I didn’t show up. I had to reach back out to Mr. Marketing since neither the tech guy or the company would reply to my emails. Mr. Marketing had to be contacted again. Luckily he was on the ball and they had to have a second ring sent out.
The whole thing was a pain in the ass. If it were not for Chuck (aka. Mr. Marketing Guy), I’m not sure if I would have gotten a replacement at all. Thanks Chuck H.
The replacement continued to work fine and does so to this day.
When I saw the new design, colors, etc. I was excited. I thought it would be the perfect mixture of form, function and data. With the new silver finish, much to a dismay of my wife, I would replace my worn wedding ring with a wedding ring look-a-like that also functioned as a bio tracker. I did the pre-order for the Oura Ring 2.0 around April 14, 2018, knowing it would be while before I got it. They offered a $100 discount to previous Oura Ring owners which was nice. I ordered a Balance Silver, size 9. This comes into the story later.
Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Information released by the company from April to early-June said all pre-orders should be sent out by mid-July. Cool. That’s a significant wait but whatever. July came and went. As did August and September. Oura then started providing shipping estimates based on the type of ring you ordered. My ring went from mid-October, to late-October to early-November to November 15th, blah, blah, blah.
Again, not that big of a deal. If I was waiting, so was everyone else . . . or were they? I’m friends with a few people that are either professional athletes, in the marketing realm for sports companies or have an online following because of their sporting backgrounds. One ordered the exact same ring (color, size, design) that I did. He just had a sporting contact through his employer to Oura. His ring was ordered and obtained in less than four weeks. I was pissed when he got his in early-November after ordering it in mid-October.
My patience was gone. I started trying to get some information from Oura by emailing their customer service email address. In almost four months not a single email was returned or my concerns addressed. Not a single email. I then hit them up on Twitter:
According to @ouraring my ring should have been shipped by Oct 19 (Order #111191). No word, no reply, no ring. I need an update (that is correct/accurate) about shipping status or it’s time to cancel my order (that I’ve been waiting since Apr 17 for).
— Brandon Sullivan (@phxtri) October 29, 2018
They asked me to DM them for more information. I did and only got the same automated response that everyone else did:
Hi, Thanks for your message. We completely understand and share your pain of waiting. We’ve had an unexpected demand on the rings with also some component delivery challenges from our suppliers which have then together delayed our deliveries. In the next few days, we’ll send a new update to all those who have ordered. That update will have more information on the delivery schedules. Once your ring is on the way, you’ll get an email notification with tracking details. If you have any further questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re truly sorry for the long wait. Thank you for your patience.
Kind regards, Riia
No specific information. No real answer. I then did a weekly Tweet to them every time they pushed back one of their arbitrary shipping estimates and got more “no answer, answers”:
Hi Brandon, sorry to hear you are frustrated. We do not make promises, we provide estimated shipping times based on the information we get from the outside factory we use. It sounds like your ring is estimated to ship very soon
— Oura (@ouraring) December 20, 2018
And on and on this went. At one point they asked me to send the names of specific people that ordered before I did that received their ring(s). So I did. In fact I referred them to a series of Tweets from people that had turn-around times of less than three weeks. Oura then explained that it was just my unique size, color and design that was the issue:
Sorry to hear you feel this way. We have thousands of customers who have their rings, it sounds like your specific ring color, size and type is delayed because of a supplier not arriving on time, we are sorry about that, we are doing our best!
— Oura (@ouraring) January 10, 2019
I finally got a shipping notice on President’s Day Week (January 19th of 2019) that the ring was on the way. Hooray!
Now I’ve had the Oura Ring 2.0 for about a month. It is a great product. It looks just like my wedding ring and does everything the old ring did. The 2.0 has no new bells or whistles. It provides all of the metrics of the old one and does the same stuff the high-end fitness watches provide (resting HR, HRV, sleep time, sleep stages, steps, inactivity time, etc). Add in their iPhone app’s ability to crunch the numbers and provide some usable feedback like an overall Readiness Score, a get to bed recommendation time and overall sleep efficiency score, I still think the Oura ring is the best overall product on the market to track sleep and recovery.
Having said that, if this one breaks I’m done. I won’t deal with this company again unless they go under new management or take some of the money Shaq and Lance Armstrong invested in them to seriously overhaul their business culture.
So, I’d recommend the product, but I don’t recommend the company. Order one at your own risk. If you do it today, you might get your product in 6-9 months.