A look at the Oura Ring 3 and Whoop 4.0, two wearables with a lot of potential, but they’re difficult to market

When it comes to measuring activity indicators, several wearables have recently begun to concentrate greater emphasis on monitoring recovery and restoration between workouts. It evaluates your sleep, activity, and heart rate variability (HRV) to determine whether your body is ready for a hard training session or if it needs a break. Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score is one example. The 10-a-month Fitbit Premium membership programme is the only way to access this function.

These kind of “health and performance improvement” information were used to create the popular fitness wearables Oura Ring (Gen 3) and Whoop 4.0. In terms of appearance, they are poles apart: the former is a ring, while the latter is a modest wrist module. Unlike Oura, Whoop’s marketing focuses more on optimising training for athletes.

Even while they both seek to inform you how your activity, sleep, and recovery rates are intertwined, they place a more emphasis on recovery evaluation than traditional activity monitoring does. Both are devoid of a display and need data subscriptions, neither of which is inexpensive. Whoop was valued at 3.6 billion and Oura was valued at 800 million in 2021, while they aren’t exactly household brands.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can’t use these devices as typical fitness trackers. After a few weeks of testing, we decided to put the recovery-focused wearables through their paces to determine whether they were worth the monthly membership cost (and Instagram-fueled buzz). See what we discovered.

Costs and charges associated with membership

Each month, both Oura and Whoop charge a fee. Oura’s subscription model is a novel one for the company, and one that I hope it abandons, but Whoop has employed subscription models in the past.

For 30 per month, Whoop advertises the 4.0 version as “free.” There is a discount if you pay for one or two years in advance and receive a year’s worth of service for the price of a year’s worth of service. Every feature of the Whoop app, including stats, trends, reports, and community postings, can only be accessed by paying a monthly membership fee. If you want to keep using the gadget, you’ll have to fork up the price of a smartwatch—and considerably more than other fitness trackers—to do so.

If you want the Oura Ring in “stealth” or gold, you’ll have to pay an additional 400. The Oura Ring’s third generation needs a 6 monthly membership fee, unlike the prior model. It’s not uncommon for new Fitbit users to get a six-month or a year-long subscription to Fitbit Premium at no additional cost. In the absence of a subscription, you will only be able to view the most basic statistics, with no access to more in-depth analyses, historical context, or emerging patterns. A modest library of guided material is also included with the membership. For 10 a month, the Fitbit Premium library has a lot more content, although this library is smaller and focuses on “mindfulness” content rather than fitness videos or cooking videos.

To this degree, no other fitness tracker hides essential information behind paywalls. Even if Fitbit does not provide non-Premium customers with certain extended trend studies, the vast majority of its trackers are far less costly and provide significantly more in the way of hardware. For dedicated athletes, Garmin’s fitness watches give a wealth of detailed information and analysis at no additional expense. As a result, both Oura and Whoop are expected to be difficult sells for budget-conscious consumers.