In the last few years, there have been many smart wearables. Smartwatches, heart rate monitors, and even smart glasses. The smart ring is, therefore, just an extension of this useful trend. But will they live up to the billing?
At the outset, let me clarify that I am a smartwatch user and trust the data wholeheartedly for my activities (mostly running and weightlifting). I have never meditated before and this seemed like a good time as any to try it. Throughout the review, even when I did not want to, I kept comparing it to a watch to see if I really needed a smart ring. More on that, later.
I was sent the Dhyana smart ring, in the silver color variant, for a review. There are four other colors available – Space Black, Gunmetal, Copper and Gold. When I say the ring was sent, I should clarify that it wasn’t a simple or straightforward process. A few weeks before the actual review piece arrived, I was asked to try out various rings from the sizing kit. Once you confirm the size, the actual product is shipped to you. This is the case with most other smart rings as well.
Dhyana's smart ring comes in an incredibly compact and well-designed case that can hold a charge for up to a week. The case is small enough to slip into your purse if you do need to charge it on the go.
The ring itself is incredibly light (weighing anywhere between 2.2-3.4 grams, depending on the size you need; Dhyana offers 5 size options) and comfortable enough to wear through the day, during most activities and even while sleeping. Though for lifting heavier weights, it was a little cumbersome as I felt my grip was getting compromised. But possibly, that would only need some getting used to.
My main focus was on the meditation aspect of the ring. Dhyana is an official partner to the Indian Olympic Association, and backed by the likes of former Indian badminton player Pullela Gopichand and Olympian Abhinav Bindra, thereby lending an extra layer of trust.
Through the Dhyana app, you can access several meditation sessions especially dedicated towards sports, such as The Mindset to Succeed and Sports Training. It also has a range of meditation for just everyday living - from reducing anxiety to building self-compassion, and even pain management. You can, apart from these, also sync your YouTube, Spotify, or Calm account and get those sessions while wearing the ring.
Now, naturally, the ring does not help you meditate. However, you can think of it as a data tracker while you meditate. It shows you various metrics such as your heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV), blood oxygen level and skin temperature. Can these be tracked through most smart watches nowadays? Yes. But a ring might be easier, and less cumbersome for some users.
However, unlike a pulse oximeter, the ring does not have a screen. So, you will have to look at your readings on your smartphone, after your meditation is over. But this way, you do have historical data of whether the sessions are helping you or not.
The Dhyana app, which is available for both Android and iOS, also claims to track your vitals during activities. This can be extremely useful to keep track of your heart rate. You see it shooting up suddenly? Stop. You see your breathwork being erratic, don’t push yourself any further. (However, I was unable to use this feature and have notified the Dhyana team about the glitches. To be fair, testing at a beta stage means some glitches are bound to appear. And they will hopefully be able to sort this out before the product goes out to the larger public, by mid-December).
I did compare the vitals against my smart watch. And most of the data was the same, and sometimes even more precise than the watch. According to the Dhyana website, the ring uses research grade sensors to track HRV at medical grade precision. This means, for those who might be facing health issues, the ring’s live tracking of vitals can be of immense help. It also has a fall-detection system, which is mainly aimed at elderly care. The sleep sensor can give you an idea about REM (rapid eye movement) and help you track your resting time accurately as well.
Do we really need it? It can be useful for those who are taking their first steps towards a healthier lifestyle. The ability to track your vitals, and through it the progress you are making, can be a huge impetus to form a habit. It can also be useful for those who just want a smaller device and not a chunky watch to track their data. But if you are one of those already using a smartwatch, it might just be redundant.
Price ₹16,351, available on smartdhyana.com
Sohini Sen is a Delhi-based fitness enthusiast and writer.