Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: The key differences explained
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Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: The key differences explained

16/05/2022  |   574 Views

The Whoop 4.0 and the Oura Ring Generation 3 couldn't be more different in terms of form-factor – but are near identical in terms of their focus.

Both devices claim to help wearers understand the relationship between sleep, activity and recovery.

They also act as health monitors, to keep tabs on core heart and breathing vitals.

Wareable verdict: Oura Ring 3 in-depth review | Whoop 4.0 in-depth review

We've now extensively reviewed and tested both Oura Gen 3 and Whoop 4.0. We gathered over a month's worth of data to understand sleep, exercise and recovery insights.

This is our take on how the Oura Ring Generation 3 compares to the Whoop 4.0.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: How much do they cost?

Before even getting into what these two wearables capable of, we do need to talk about how much you're going to need to pay for them. Bottom line, these do not come cheap, whichever one you opt for.

The Oura Ring 3 costs $299 for the ring and then you additionally need to pay a $5.99 a month subscription to get the data insights and personalised recommendations available inside of the Oura companion app.

Flipping things over to the Whoop 4.0 and it's a subscription service setup here too. You have the option of a £30/$30 a month, a 12-month membership at £24/$24 a month (plus £288/$288 to start) and an 18-month option at £18/$18 (plus £324/$324 to start).

The Oura Ring 3 feels like the more affordable option compared to any of those subscription offers from Whoop, but these are certainly two wearables that come a big cost.

Check Whoop price options

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: How do they work?

Both Oura and Whoop pay close attention to your sleep, daily activity (exercise or simply going for a walk), and how rested and ready you are to do it all again the next day.

There are some health monitoring features at your disposal too, but we'll focus on the core features here first.

But they couldn't be more different in their approach.

Oura is a smart ring, which should be worn on your index finger. You'll get a sizing kit to make sure you get the correct size first and foremost. It's crucial to spend a few days wearing the plastic dummy ring to make sure you get the right fit.

When worn on the finger, it uses optical-based green, red and infrared light sensors can generate a host of different biometric data. The key ones here are heart rate, blood oxygen, heart rate variability (to measure stress), respiratory rate and body temperature.

The Oura Ring unsurprisingly, doesn't include a screen, so you'll need to use the companion app (iOS and Android) to view you data and see insights and recommendations.

Oura Ring 3 app (Available for iOS and Android)

With the Whoop 4.0, you're also getting a screen-less device – but it lives on the wrist, although it can be worn on the forearm or bicep.

The main tracking core comes with an attractive knitted band. You can also purchase additional accessories and Whoop Body garments, so you can additionally wear it up on your bicep, in sports bras and everyday clothing like boxer shorts.

The Whoop similarly relies on an optical sensors to track data and deliver insights too. It also uses a mix of green, red and infrared lights to deliver metrics like heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen and skin temperature as opposed to the body temperature captured by the Oura.

Again, with no screen in place, you're relying on the companion Whoop app (iOS and Android) to keep track of progress and make sense of your data.

Whoop 4.0 app (Available for iOS and Android)

Oura works on the basic principle of breaking down your data into Readiness, Sleep and Activity scores. These scores are generated from the host of different metrics they can capture to better inform you whether you're ready to tackle your day, should focus on recovery and whether you need to look to change your behaviour to improve your sleep.

Whoop works on the principle of Strain and Recovery, helping you understand the relationship between the two and achieving the right balance. Strain scores are primarily taken from heart rate variability measurements and movement data. Recovery looks at similar data including resting heart rate, respiratory rate and of course sleep data.

Essentially, the two seek to look at similar data points to generate similar insights about exercise, sleep and recovery. They deliver those in different ways, offer different extras and certainly feel different to live with 24/7.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: What are they like to live with?

Wearables need to be good to wear. Thankfully, we can say that on whole, the Whoop 4.0 and the Oura Ring 3 are two wearables we've enjoyed wearing. There's clearly things we favor more on one device over the other though.

The Oura Ring 3 feels light and comfortable to wear day and night and for most exercise too. However, it is chunky and conspicuous, and we could understand that it won't be everyone's cup of tea, and for those that lift weights, it can quickly get uncomfortable to grab hold of that barbell.

It is one you can at least wear 24/7 and that includes in the shower and for swimming and it didn't feel like a hinderance to wear in a swimming pool either.

However, if you like to wear a favorite watch – smart or otherwise – it makes life a lot easier by keeping a wrist free.

The charging solution worked well for us too. It's the proprietary kind, but you can almost throw it on a bit like hoop toss, so it doesn't need to sit in a particular way to get charging. Fully charged, the Oura can for up to 7 days. When it's fully charged, it'll fire a notification to your phone to tell you it's ready for tracking again.

The Whoop primarily lives on your wrist with that fabric band you can switch out.

It's a bit of awkward customer taking on and off, but when it's on, it stays put and it looks great, fashionable and felt comfortable to wear during the day, for sleep monitoring and during exercise.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: The key differences explained

Whoop's new Body garments mean you can track from other parts of the body. We had the Body everyday boxer shorts to try, which can only reliably start tracking once you've completed your baseline of data, which takes 30 days.

There's no display, but you can give the casing a tap to wake up the LED light on the side, which indicates battery life status. It is safe for swimming and showering (up to 10 metres deep), though we found that when the fabric band gets wet, it stays wet for a while. So it's wise to remove it before showering.

Whoop uses a charging method that's portable, so once it's charged up, you can clip it onto the top of the device so it can charge on the move.

It's a smaller charging solution than the one used on the Whoop 3.0, but it offers similar 4-5 days battery life. We definitely felt like it delivered that type of battery life in our time with it, although given its size and lack of screen, it's a shame it doesn't last longer.

Both the Whoop 4.0 and the Oura Ring 3 are lovely wearables to live with on the whole. They look great, feel great to wear most of the time and while they're screen-less, it something you learn to live with quite quickly. The Oura certainly offers the more discreet route to tracking, if you don't invest in Whoop's Body garments. It felt the nicer of the two devices to track sleep and it doesn't end up in a soggy mess after a shower.

While the portable nature of the Whoop's charger is really handy, the amount of battery life the Oura delivers and the charging cradle slightly won us over on the battery setup front.

We should add that without screens on either of these, you're not getting anything in the way of smartwatch features. You're not going to see email notifications or be buzzed about them either. They don't make payments and while they'll work with a small handful of apps to share data with, these are very much all about the tracking.

If we had to pick one of these screen-less wearables to live with, we think the Oura just about edges it, but we'd overall enjoyed living with the Whoop as well.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: Data and insights

How well these wearables work depends on what your priorities are here. Neither are perfect, but theyhave desirable strengths that might sway you for one over the other.

From our testing, Oura works better as a sleep tracker, while Whoop provided more detail on the impact of exercise.

Oura reliably tracked our sleep and broke it down in a way that feels easy to understand, and crucially, also provides realistic sleep schedule plans.

We found that the Whoop performed well on the tracking front, but the elements built around it like sleep coaching felt a little excessive in the recommendations. Oura has a similar feature, but its recommendations felt far more reasonable in terms of the adjustments it would suggest going to bed.

Oura Ring 3 sleep comparison with Fitbit Charge 5

Where Oura seemed to be weakest for us was its ability to really factor exercise into the equation.

You can track elements like steps and distance covered during the day and it relies on motion sensors like accelerometers to deliver that information.

However, you can't currently track heart rate during exercise (though that will be added at some point), which will also bring in some more activity-centric metrics like pace and distance for runs for instance.

Until it can do that, you're relying on exercise data that doesn't feel like it gives a reliable insight into effort levels and how that can influence Readiness scores.

Whoop 4.0 exercise tracking through the Whoop companion app

The Whoop's strengths as a platform for us lie with its more reliable Strain data, based on workouts and physical activity.

It felt more reliable than the previous Whoop 3.0, and can simply inform you the physical capacity you have in your day to take on strenuous exercise.

These Strain insights though are hugely reliant on the heart rate sensor being accurate on the Whoop to inform it.

Accuracy really depends on what you're doing. and where you're wearing the Whoop device.

We found for more stationery exercises, the Whoop performed well (with a good fit), for high intensity exercises, you need to consider moving it higher up the arm for more reliable tracking.

Whoop 4.0 health monitor

Whoop also proved a useful health monitor for us too and we had a scenario to see it being put to to work.

The health monitor tab inside of the app, will quickly let you know if one of the key metrics is off and to monitor it for the coming days.

The Whoop 4.0 picked up signs of an infection during the test period, while Wareable editor James Stables also saw first hand Whoop's sensitivity during a bout of Covid-19, and it proved a useful way to see when key metrics were starting to return to normal.

Oura offers something similar and even includes a Rest Mode to switch off activity tracking while you focus on recovery.

However, while Whoop is an excellent device for looking at the effects of workouts, it's not a brilliant tracker of exercise sessions. We found in-app tracking of runs hit-and-miss, and the feedback on most exercise types is minimal. And given the lack of screen, there's no real-time feedback of things like distance, pace or reps. It's certainly not something we'd replace our Garmin or Apple Watch for – and it's an expensive device to use in addition to those things.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: The apps

Oura Ring 3 (left), Fitbit (centre) and Whoop 4.0 (right)

With no screens here, there's a huge emphasis on what you'll experience inside of those companion apps. We've used Whoop's and Oura's apps for both Android and iOS and largely they offer the same experience across platforms.

And we'd say Oura has the better app experience.

Both have to not only deliver the data in a way that you can easily absorb it, but they also have to communicate that information in a way that users can understand it. For us, the Oura did a better job of that. It's main home page clearly communicated the kind of information we needed to know on a daily basis.

If you want to drill deeper, you have the capacity to do that and crucially, you can quickly expand on a metric to better understand it and why you might need to pay attention to it. There are trend graphs here too, but those are tucked away in a dropdown menu, if you want it.

Oura Ring 3 app

While the meditation, breathing, sleep programs at your disposal didn't entirely draw us in to use them on a regular basis, it does give things more of a Fitbit feel to proceedings. What we mean by that is that the Oura app feels less intimidating to use and ideal for someone who doesn't want to be drowned in data.

With the Whoop app, breaking down sections into your general overview, strain, recovery and sleep data works largely well, but there's a lot of other data flying about, and many people will feel it's overwhelming and daunting.

Once you understand the Strain and Recovery data and the layout of the app things get a lot easier – and the dedicated health monitor lets you quickly establish whether everything is in good order.

The Whoop learning curve is steeper than the Oura app to get to grips with everything.

Oura Ring 3 v Whoop 4.0: Which is best?

So. we've given you a flavour of our experiences of living with both the Oura Ring 3 and the Whoop 4.0. We liked both wearables for some of the same reasons but also some different things too If you have the money to stump up for the hardware and the subscriptions that you have to pay for as well to unlock them, which one is the better fit for you? Here's how we see things.

If you want a discreet recovery wearable that offers great sleep tracking, good fitness tracking skills, an easy to understand app, smart insights about your recovery needs and the better battery life.

You want a recovery wearable that feels a better fit for fitness-focused users, offers the ability to wear it in multiple places and promises strong health monitoring features too. However, be warned that Whoop focuses on the effect of rest and exercise on your body, not the workout itself – so many users will still need a sports watch as well.