Samsung's Galaxy Ring Will Need Less of Your Attention Than a Smartwatch

Samsung's Hon Pak explains Samsung's broader vision for health tracking and how the new Galaxy Ring fits into that.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple, Samsung, Google, smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
4 min read
Samsung Ring at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024

Samsung's Galaxy Ring was revealed at the company's most recent Unpacked event.


Samsung has been selling smartwatches for more than a decade. But at its Unpacked event on Wednesday, we got a glimpse at what's next for Samsung's wearables line: the Galaxy Ring

Smart rings aren't new, although they're not as popular as smartwatches. The Oura ring is a favorite of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and Movano's Evie smart ring was designed with women's health in mind, which my colleague Bridget Carey recently put to the test. But Samsung's entry into the smart ring market suggests tiny devices worn around the finger that can gather health metrics may be more than just a niche device for celebrities and athletes.

For Samsung, the Galaxy Ring is just one part of the company's broader goal to create a network of devices that can feed information into the Samsung Health app, painting a fuller picture of our habits.

"I think you should look at the ring as one of many steps towards multi-device engagement," said Hon Pak, vice president and head of the digital health team for the mobile experience business at Samsung Electronics.  

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra First Look: AI Takes Center Stage

The Galaxy Ring looks just like an ordinary piece of jewelry at first glance, until you notice the tiny sensors and electronics strewn across the inner lining. The version of the Galaxy Ring that I saw was a prototype, but I was told that it generally reflects the appearance of the model that will eventually go on sale. I wasn't allowed to photograph the ring, but I tried on all three colors: silver, dark gray and gold. The ring felt larger than typical women's jewelry but was surprisingly light on my finger. Like the Oura ring, the design itself is sleek and minimalist and almost looks like a traditional groom's wedding band. 

There's a lot we don't know about the Galaxy Ring yet, such as when it will launch, how much it will cost, which types of sensors it will have and which health metrics it will gather compared to the Galaxy Watch. But the Galaxy Ring is another vehicle for Samsung to carry out its health strategy, which focuses on four specific types of health data: sleep, nutrition, activity and stress. 

With the Galaxy Ring, Samsung hopes to gather that type of data in a way that's more subtle and less distracting than a smartwatch. To put it plainly: Not everyone wants to wear a watch, particularly a smartwatch. 

Samsung's reveal of the Galaxy Ring at its Galaxy Unpacked event.


"Some people want a more simple form factor, and [the] ring represents that," said Pak, adding that the ring can passively measure health metrics without requiring the level of engagement that a watch would. "And then it's got to be stylish, it's got to be comfortable, it's got to have long battery life. And those are the characteristics that we're working on."

We'll have to wait until Samsung reveals more details about the Galaxy Ring to know more specifics. But Samsung did show some the new health features it's developing for the Samsung Health app during its Unpacked keynote, which could provide some insight into Samsung's approach. 

Samsung is launching a new metric called My Vitality Score, which is essentially a rating meant to evaluate your physical and mental readiness based on factors such as sleep, activity, resting heart rate and heart rate variability. Pak tells me it will include a validated test for measuring your alertness in the morning, and it'll be available for Galaxy Watch devices and the Galaxy Ring. It sounds similar to readings and scores we've seen from other wearable tech brands, such as Oura, Fitbit and Garmin, all of which already have scores for measuring readiness. 

Samsung also wouldn't be the first to put an alertness test in a wearable; the Pison Ready wristband and Citizen CZ smartwatch also have this type of functionality. However, it's rare to see a test like that on a ring, which could be one way the Galaxy Ring could stand out from Oura's offerings. 

Watch this: Samsung Galaxy Ring: First Impressions

The other major new feature coming to Samsung Health is Booster Cards, which are tidbits within the app that provide insight into the "why" behind your health readings. If your sleep score is low, for example, a Booster Card might tell you it's because you're tossing and turning too much. Oura and Garmin also provide similar insights in their apps. 

Regardless, it's another indication that tech companies are making a bigger effort to connect the dots between your health data points. And Samsung isn't alone in this regard; Google's Fitbit is also using AI to provide deeper health insights through a new feature called Fitbit Labs launching later this year. 

Samsung is thinking about other ways to improve the way you discover health data in its app too. After all, the Samsung Health app is as important as ever for a device like the Galaxy Ring since it doesn't have a screen. When asked whether Samsung is considering creating a chatbot or virtual assistant to help users parse through health data, Pak said Samsung is looking at the option.

"We think the concept of a digital system that helps you to navigate and understand the context and navigate them to solutions are going to be necessary," Pak said. "And what form factor that's going to be is to be determined. And it may vary based on person to person, right? Some people just probably want audio; some people want a video on the TV."

We're likely a ways away from the overall vision Pak described in which having smart mattresses and refrigerators communicating with your smartwatch or ring would be the norm. But Samsung hopes the Galaxy Ring is another step toward that reality. 

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