Showing posts with label android. Show all posts

Save 25% on the world’s smallest 5-in-1 travel adapter

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It’s a shame that the world can’t unite in one type of power socket. It’s as if we have bigger problems to deal with or something.

Anyway, if you’re a frequent traveler, you can solve this issue and save luggage space with the Omnia travel adapter. It’s ready to keep your devices charged in over 150 countries.

With a variety of slide-and-lock plugs, this little five-in-one interface is the world’s smallest travel adapter. It has two USB ports, so you can charge up to three devices at once. A built-in safety fuse offers over-current protection.

There are four color schemes of the high-grade housing to choose from, and an LED light to indicate charging status. It also comes with a soft carry pouch to keep it safe from disgruntled baggage handlers.

Omnia Travel Adapter

The Omnia travel adapter at a glance:

  • Supports charging for any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet
  • Slide and lock plug design makes it easy to carry and quickly start charging
  • 5-in-1 interface supports US/UK/EU/AU and USB-A standards
  • Built-in LED charging light indicates charging status
  • Supports USB BC1.2 Intelligent Chipset Standard to protect USB charging

The usual $49 retail price is subject to a double price drop this week, so right now you can pick up the Omnia travel adapter for just $36.99.

There’s less than a week to run on this deal, so if you like what you see, hit the button below to find it.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.


Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!


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Netflix passes 500 million installs on Play Store

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The Play Store doesn't provide very precise metrics for app installs, but it does give us general milestones of their success, and Netflix just reached a major one. The ubiquitous streaming service has now reached 500,000,000 installs — that's 500 million, if you don't care to count the commas or zeros.

Netflix's next quarterly financials have yet to be published (they should be in the next few weeks) but the company's been an unstoppable juggernaut with unceasingly rising revenues and a recent explosion in net income.

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Netflix passes 500 million installs on Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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7 of our favorite tech deals this week: smartphones galore, headphones, and e-readers

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It's OK to admit it — you messed up. You thought we were still in the middle of November or something, and that you had weeks left to do your holiday shopping. Well, after you consult with your neurologist about these concerning lost-time events, you can still scramble to pick up a few last-minute holiday deals, with plenty of offers still available on our favorite mobile tech.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact and XA2 Ultra: $120 to $200 off

We hope you're thinking of gifting some smartphones this year, because boy have we seen a lot of them on sale.

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7 of our favorite tech deals this week: smartphones galore, headphones, and e-readers was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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'Semi-Conductor' browser experiment makes you the maestro of an AI orchestra

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Have you ever wanted to conduct an orchestra? Okay, probably not — or at least, not that you'd admit. But if the idea of waving your arms around in private to the tune of an AI-powered symphony tickles your fancy (and how could it not), Google's latest Semi-Conductor browser experiment could be your literal jam.

It works simply enough: Fire up the experiment in a browser, give it access to your webcam, stand far enough back that your outstretched arms fit in the frame, and start conducting (or, in my case, flailing).

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'Semi-Conductor' browser experiment makes you the maestro of an AI orchestra was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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Get a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey for PC via Google's Project Stream

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If you didn't have a chance to finish Assassin's Creed Odyssey playing it on Google's Project Stream, Ubisoft has decided not to let a little thing like ownership interfere with your experience. Anyone who plays the game on Google's game streaming service for at least an hour between now and January 15th (the end of the test), will get a free PC copy via Ubisoft's Uplay service, plus 1,000 helix credits for all Project Stream participants.

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Get a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey for PC via Google's Project Stream was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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The $600-valued SQL Database Starter Bundle is only $29 right now

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SQL Database Starter Bundle

Data, data, data. Regular readers might think we’re a bit obsessed with it at AA Picks, but that’s because the modern, tech-driven world is all about data. Demand and salaries are high for specialists in this field, and today’s SQL deal could be your launchpad.

SQL is the world’s leading language for managing databases. The SQL Database Starter Bundle is a three-part masterclass in understanding the potential of this powerful language, combining Python programming and data analysis.

It might all sound a bit technical, but these learning kits are specifically designed for a beginner. You might not know the first thing about data or coding, it’s not a problem. The video tutorials will walk you through it step-by-step, so all you need is a desire to learn.

SQL Database Starter BundleYou can fit it around your schedule too. There are over 18 hours of lessons across the package, but you have lifetime 24/7 access, so you can take it at your own pace. If it unlocks a new career in SQL database management, the rewards could be very big indeed.

The SQL Database Starter Bundle:

We’re spotlighting this deal today because it just got a big promotional price drop. The expert-led courses might be worth almost $200 each, but right now you can enroll on all three for just $29. No strings attached.

Ready to make 2019 the year you level-up your career? The deal ends in less than a week, so hit the button below to find it.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.


Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!


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OnePlus turns five today! Here are some of OnePlus’ brighter moments

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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

Founded on December 16, 2013, by former Oppo vice-president Pete Lau and Carl Pei, OnePlus is an extremely young company when compared to more established players like Samsung and Huawei. That said, the company has had tremendous success in its five years of life and saw over $1.4 billion in revenue for 2017.

Editor's Pick

Most of that success is due to how relatively affordable its smartphones are. From the beginning, the company believed that companies should not sacrifice quality for lower-priced devices. That credo is how the “Never Settle” slogan came to be.

Fast forward to 2018, and OnePlus’ “Never Settle” slogan is as strong as ever with the OnePlus 6T. The company’s latest smartphone has been its most successful due to the combination of flagship specs, a price that doesn’t make your wallet hate you, plenty of social media buzz, and its partnership with T-Mobile.

The first three aforementioned factors have worked very well for OnePlus as a whole. Let’s take a look at whether those factors played roles in five important moments in OnePlus’ history (spoiler: they mostly do).

The OnePlus One

You can’t talk about OnePlus without bringing up the product that put the company in the limelight. The reason it successfully got its foot in the very large door that is the smartphone market. The reason why we still cough when we see

We’re talking about the OnePlus One.

Take a trip back in time with me, back to April 2014. After months of teasing and heavy marketing, OnePlus finally launched the OnePlus One.

This was it: the $299 smartphone that would be the envy of the smartphone market. The smartphone that would shake things up. The smartphone that would make phone manufacturers rethink their business strategies. The smartphone that would validate OnePlus’ “Never Settle” slogan.

To an extent, it did.

Editor's Pick

The OnePlus One certainly had the specs to walk the walk. It featured a 5.46-inch IPS display with Full HD resolution, a 13-megapixel rear camera, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3,100mAh battery, and a OnePlus One-exclusive version of CyanogenMod based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

The OnePlus One also had the price to back up the big talk. You could get the 16GB version for $299, while the 64GB version went for $349. These prices were unheard of for a phone with the specs above.

The Nexus 5 was the only other smartphone that could touch the OnePlus One when it came to the price-to-specs ratio.

The OnePlus One wasn’t immune to issues, though. The phone initially suffered from very low call volume before an update eventually rectified the problem. The OnePlus One also lacked expandable storage, didn’t have the best signal reception, and had some touchscreen issues.

Worst of all, the company’s invite system was universally panned and made it very difficult to get the phone.

That said, KnowYourMobile said it best: the OnePlus One was the beginning of something special. The phone struck a chord with people and sold over one million units by the end of 2014. The OnePlus One also helped to generate $300 million in revenue by the end of 2014.

By all accounts, the OnePlus One was a rousing success for the young company.

The phone didn’t prevent pricier smartphones like the Galaxy Note 4 from also performing well. That said, the OnePlus One arguably kickstarted the conversation of whether we’re spending too much on smartphones.

It’s a conversation that we still have today, even when OnePlus continually falls victim to subtle price creep with each smartphone release.

Cyanogen and the birth of OxygenOS

Have you ever been in a relationship that ended and realized you were better off without your significant other? That’s probably how OnePlus felt after its partnership with Cyanogen Inc. crumbled.

It seemed like a great partnership, especially for Android tinkerers. There would finally be a flagship-level smartphone without the flagship-level price that would officially support the most popular Android ROM at the time.

The problem was that Cyanogen blindsided OnePlus when it announced an exclusive deal with Indian manufacturer Micromax. The agreement prevented other companies from using Cyanogen OS on their devices and eventually led to the OnePlus One being banned in India.

From that point onward, OnePlus’ relationship with Cyanogen was never the same. The bad blood between both companies only worsened over time and resulted in the partnership ending in April 2015.

Here’s the thing: the split might have been one of the best things to happen to OnePlus.

Then-Cyanogen CEO Kirk McMaster had some disparaging remarks toward OnePlus and said OnePlus “built their brand on the back of Cyanogen.” McMaster also said that “without Cyanogen, OnePlus would have sold like one device in international markets.”

Editor's Pick

Unfortunately for McMaster, Cyanogen as a company would soon fall apart. Cyanogen’s attempt to make money off of CyanogenMod failed as most phone manufacturers chose their own Android skins instead of Cyanogen OS.

As a result, Cyanogen laid off approximately 30 of its 106 employees in July 2016. Just three months later, McMaster stepped down as CEO. In November 2016, Cyanogen severed ties with CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik.

None of these changes prevented Cyanogen from shutting down CyanogenMod and all other services in December 2016.

In the midst of its issues with Cyanogen, OnePlus decided to just build its own Android ROM. That ROM would be known as OxygenOS and was announced in January 2015.

Since its debut later in 2015, OxygenOS has been consistently touted as one of the best and fastest Android skins around. It also helps that OxygenOS allows for a level of customizability not usually seen from phone manufacturers’ Android skins.

We can only assume that OnePlus learned some hard and humbling lessons with its partnership with Cyanogen. Here were two companies that looked to establish themselves as fast as possible, had very outspoken executives, and were stubborn with their respective visions.

The difference is that Cyanogen crumbled while OnePlus blossomed.

The OnePlus 3

Even though the OnePlus 2 was a good phone, OnePlus’ sophomore effort was ultimately seen as a disappointment. NFC was nowhere to be seen, the fingerprint sensor needed an update to work properly, and the included USB Type-C cable didn’t follow the standard’s rules for delivering power.

It also didn’t help that the OnePlus 2’s invite system was even worse than the OnePlus One’s. From a slow invite rollout to delayed orders, the OnePlus 2’s launch was so poor that OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei apologized in the company’s forums.

Complicating matters were the two questionable promotions following the OnePlus One’s launch and the OnePlus X’s lukewarm reception.

Much was riding on the OnePlus 3. Its direct predecessor was a disappointing follow-up to the OnePlus One. It would be the first OnePlus smartphone that does away with the flawed invite system. OnePlus’ reputation was partially in the gutter.

Editor's Pick

OnePlus needed a positive and successful launch. Luckily for OnePlus, the OnePlus 3 delivered the goods.

The phone featured the expected flagship specs of the time. The phone also featured other niceties such as NFC, an AMOLED display, Dash Charge, a fingerprint scanner, and an all-aluminum build.

By most accounts, the OnePlus 3 easily lived up to its “flagship killer” billing. It had some RAM issues at launch and some saw the OnePlus 3 as a “safe” smartphone. That said, perhaps a safe smartphone is what OnePlus wanted after the OnePlus 2’s forward-facing features fell flat.

In my opinion, the OnePlus 3 was more than a flagship killer — it also represented OnePlus’ budding maturity as a company. No more awkward promotions. No more stupid invite system. OnePlus let the OnePlus 3 do most of the talking and took a backseat to the phone’s capabilities.

The “Software Maintenance Schedule”

When it comes to software updates, OnePlus was scattershot. Even though the OnePlus One’s Cyanogen OS went up to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, the phone also supported OxygenOS. Weirdly, the latest version of OxygenOS for the OnePlus One was based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Things got even weirder with the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X, since both phones only got one major Android platform update. For the OnePlus 2, it was presumably due to the convergence of the HydrogenOS and OxygenOS software teams. For the OnePlus X, the blame fell on the Snapdragon 801.

The software update situation smoothed itself over a bit with subsequent releases. That said, people were still in the dark about when they could expect updates to arrive. With Google, you knew that your phone would get monthly updates. You didn’t get a similar assurance with OnePlus smartphones.

Editor's Pick

That changed in June 2018, when OnePlus unveiled its Software Maintenance Schedule. According to the schedule, OnePlus will issue two years of bi-monthly software updates and three years of bi-monthly security patches to its smartphones.

Software updates include Android platform updates and new features to OxygenOS. The schedule applies to future OnePlus phone releases as well as OnePlus smartphones as far back as the OnePlus 3.

OnePlus’ update felt like a lighthouse’s light piercing the darkness of the coastline. Current and potential OnePlus users finally know how and when updates would arrive to their phones. That is a luxury that only folks with Google phones have.

The schedule not only gives users clear information, but it allows users to keep OnePlus accountable. It also gives OnePlus a leg-up over most other phone manufacturers, since it’s rare to see an Android update schedule laid out in this manner.

OnePlus’ 5G future

This is cheating a bit since it hasn’t happened yet, but hear me out.

OnePlus made a big splash this month when it announced it would be one of the first to offer a Snapdragon 855 device. The company also revealed it would launch one of the first 5G smartphones in 2019.

When OnePlus made the announcement, CEO Pete Lau said the 5G smartphone could cost $200 to $300 more than its other smartphones. When you consider that the OnePlus 6T’s cheapest variant costs $549, we could be looking at a smartphone that costs at least $749.

Editor's Pick

As far as OnePlus smartphones are concerned, that is expensive. Even so, the OnePlus 5G phone could be one of the cheapest ways to test out the newest generation of mobile networks. OnePlus could potentially capture a tremendous amount of mindshare when it comes to 5G.

OnePlus is also saying the right things in regards to the price. The company doesn’t expect to sell its 5G smartphone in huge quantities. Instead, OnePlus sees its 5G smartphone as a learning experience for its engineering and product development teams.

That sounds like a company that has a good head on its shoulders if you ask me. But as all we’ve heard thus far are future-looking statements, things might change by the time the OnePlus 7 (and possibly the OnePlus 7T) are launched next year.

That said, OnePlus wants to be one of the first and learn as much as possible about 5G. That could become a huge benefit down the road as 5G increases in usage and availability.


OnePlus has its fair share of blunders, this we know. There’s the dreaded invite system, the weird promotions, and the security issues from late 2017 into early 2018.

That said, OnePlus also has its fair share of bright moments. There are some we didn’t even touch on, such as the shift to two smartphone releases a year and the OnePlus 6T being the first OnePlus phone offered through a U.S. carrier (T-Mobile).

If you feel like we missed other bright moments, let us know in the comments below!



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Weekend poll: How often do you use Google's Discover feed?

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Discover, a rebranding for the familiar content list formerly known as "Feed," seems to be rolling out to a wider audience this week. The rename-associated redesign landed all the way back in October shortly after the announcement, updated dark theme and all. With more people experiencing it, I'm curious to know how many of you make Discover/Feed a regular part of your day.

Just in case you aren't familiar, Google's Feed/Discover gives you a customized list of content relevant to your interests based, at least in part, on stuff you search for.

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Weekend poll: How often do you use Google's Discover feed? was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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This week in Android: OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and new Galaxy S10 leaks

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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition

We go hands-on with OnePlus’ latest partnership smartphone, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. Sponsored by the popular F1 racing team, the McLaren Edition adds another 2GB of RAM, even faster charging, and a cool new paint job. We even had the occasion to test the phone against the OnePlus 6T and the OnePlus 6 using our new Speed Test G

Also, the era of in-screen camera sensors is here. Now, instead of notches, we get holes in the screen. Two phones came out this week sporting this new design: the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the Honor View 20. The Galaxy A8s has a triple-camera setup on the back and a 6.4-inch screen. The Honor View 20 carries a 48-megapixel camera and some neat software tricks to speed up your connections.

We also have a $100,000 contest to give up your smartphone for a year, our full Red Hydrogen One review, and a huge leak for Samsung’s upcoming flagship.

Here are your top stories for the week

2:00 – Could you give up your phone for a year for $100k? This competition might be for you

Vitaminwater wants to know if you can give up your smartphone for a year, and is putting up $100,000 to find out.


15:00 – OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition hands-on: What should you expect?

OnePlus paired up with McLaren F1 racing to bring you the fastest phone you can buy, but is it really faster?


23:50 – Samsung Galaxy A8s announced with display hole camera, triple rear camera setup

The Samsung Galaxy A8S. Samsung

The hole revolution has begun, and it’s bringing a triple-camera setup along for the ride.


Honor View 20 detailed: in-display camera, 48MP rear camera and Link Turbo

The Honor View 20 is coming with some nifty tricks including a huge camera sensor and super-fast network connections.


37:30 – Massive leak gives us idea of Galaxy S10 release date, price, storage, more

This is a pretty big leak that gives away most of what we’ll see in February. Let’s just say, yike$!


44:15 – Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition hands-on: Who needs a selfie camera?

Why have one screen when you can have two! The Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition uses that unused space on the back of the phone.


Meanwhile, here are some stories we couldn’t cover on the podcast

Asus CEO resigns, mobile strategy revamp does not include loss of ZenFone

The more things change, the more they stay the same. After some doubt was cast, Asus confirmed it will continue the ZenFone line after all. Phew!


Honor Magic 2 review: A phone full of new tricks

The Honor Magic 2 is here, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve, er, under its slider.


In big win for Qualcomm, Apple must cease sale of iPhone models in China

China is no longer allowed to sell the iPhone 6s all the way up through the iPhone X. That might sting a bit.


Pixel 3 Lite may not be only budget Google phone: Pixel 3 Lite XL leaks in new renders

It seems Google may have more than one budget-friendly Pixel phone coming to market.


Apple, Amazon deny hosting Chinese spy chips and were right all along

Bloomberg’s report that the Chinese were spying on American companies appears to be completely false. 


Red Hydrogen One review: Jack of all trades, master of none

Our review of Red’s $1,200 smartphone and its holographic display is in. But is the promise of accessories in the future enough for you to buy it?


Who wants to win an Insta360 ONE X or Insta360 ONE action camera?

This week, we’re giving away three Insta360 action camerasEnter this week’s Sunday giveaway for your chance to win!

Don’t miss these videos

That’s it, folks! We’ll have another giveaway and more top Android stories for you next week. To stay up to date on all things Android Authority in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters at the link below.

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28 best new Android games released this week including This Is the Police, Brawl Stars, and Looney Tunes World of Mayhem

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Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so. This week I have a gritty cop adventure game, Supercell's latest online multiplayer release, and a Looney Tunes RPG. So without further ado, here are the most notable games released in the last week.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
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28 best new Android games released this week including This Is the Police, Brawl Stars, and Looney Tunes World of Mayhem was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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Insta360 ONE and ONE X action camera international giveaway!

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It’s time for the Sunday giveaway!

A big congratulations to the winner of last week’s OnePlus 6T international giveaway, Offord from Canada.

This week we’re giving away three Insta360 cameras!

In the world of 360 action cameras, it doesn’t get much better than the new Insta360 ONE X.

The Insta360 ONE X was made to provide best-in-class image quality no matter the environment, whether you’re skiing down a snowy mountain or deep-sea diving. It’s able to shoot 5.7K video at 30fps, 4K video at 50fps, and 3K video at 100fps. Perhaps most importantly, the ONE X features FlowState Stabilization, which means you’ll never have to worry about your videos coming out shaky.

We’re not just giving away one camera this week, we’re giving away three… and more! Check out the giveaway widget below to find out how to win. And if you want to see some great Insta360 ONE X footage, be sure to follow Insta360 on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!

Enter the giveaway here

Insta360 ONE and ONE X action camera international giveaway!

Don’t miss: JBL Charge 4 giveaway

Winners gallery

Terms & conditions
  • This is an international giveaway (except when we can not ship to your country).
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only one entry per person; please do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by Android Authority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

More: Android Authority international giveaway FAQs



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Oura Ring 2 review: The early adopter catches the worm

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The Oura Ring 2 is an exciting ring-shaped health tracking device that measures something a little different from all the other calorie-focused trackers out there. In theory it can help you to feel better, perform better, and make smarter decisions regarding health and training.

This is the second iteration of a relatively-underground product that launched on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. The company is still small, but it has begun generating quite a buzz in the biohacking community.

In this Oura Ring 2 review, let’s see if this really is the game changing piece of kit that the health tracking industry sorely needs.

The concept

To my mind, fitness trackers have huge untapped potential to help us measure our daily activities, mental performance, and physiology in actionable ways. Unfortunately, most trackers amount to little more than fancy pedometers with not-so-accurate heart rate monitors.

For all I love the idea of tracking my fitness, I go through long stretches of not wearing these devices because, quite simply, the data they provide is not quite worth the inconvenience of wearing them.

fitbit charge 3 black band display

If you’re want to lose weight, a Fitbit or similar alternative can be a useful tool for tracking calories, but as I’ve explained on the site before, those measurements are imperfect and the entire strategy has its issues.

The Oura Ring 2 places its focus elsewhere: on providing deeper, more actionable data around sleep, stress, and recovery. This isn’t just about losing weight; it’s about performing your best and feeling better. That the video on the original Kickstarter campaign featured people playing the piano and conducting business is telling. This isn’t just for running and weightlifting. Oura calls it “living ready.”

Oura calls it 'living ready.'

Can a ring really help you to overcome the chronic fatigue and stress endemic to the 21st century?

Hardware: Put a ring on it

The ring is packed with the usual sensors: an infrared heart rate monitor measuring slight changes in the color of your skin, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and three temperature sensors. Using that, it can autodetect when you fall asleep, identify how long you spent in each sleep stage, count how many times you wake up in the night, and measure your heart rate. Likewise, it counts steps during the day and lets you manually add activities. All this information is then visible through the app, divided into days.

Oura Ring 2 Heart Rate Monitor

I have no complaints with the design and comfort of the ring. The original Oura was rather large and ostentatious looking, and drew a lot of attention to itself. The new ring is much subtler and can easily pass for a regular piece of jewelry. It comes in matte black, glossy black, rose gold, or chrome, and looks like a perfectly round wedding band apart from a slight point indicating which way is supposed to face up.

The device has no blinking lights or other readouts (even the IR sensor remains dark), and a welcome feature for many is the option to put it into airplane mode. That’s handy for airplanes (this could be a useful tool for combating jet lag), but also for people who are funny about wearing technologies that emit any kind of signal.

It’s very easy to forget it's there. If you’re used to wearing any other kind of ring, this is no different.

Most importantly, I found wearing the device during my Oura Ring 2 review very comfortable. It’s very easy to forget it’s there. In fact if you’re used to wearing any other kind of ring, then this is no different. Because it’s so subtle, you can easily wear this along with a watch and not look ridiculous — which is another benefit of a finger-bound device.

Oura Ring 2 Jewellery

The Oura Ring 2 is not that different from a wedding band

There are practical advantages to wearing a fitness tracker on your finger too. It’s much easier to obtain a heart rate from the thin flesh here, and your extremities are the first to show a change in body temperature. More on this later.

Related

When I reviewed the Motiv Ring a few months back, one complaint I had was that it got scratched very easily during training and wasn’t comfortable when weight lifting or boxing. While this is still true to a degree with the Oura Ring 2, the titanium with scratch-resistant DLC construction is certainly superior to the ceramic Motiv ring. I’ve only picked up a few light scratches on the underside so far. However, seeing as this is more of a health tracker than a fitness tracker, it actually matters a whole lot less.

Motiv Ring vs Oura Ring

The slightly less durable Motiv Ring

The ring can store six weeks of data without syncing, and you’ll be able to get six days of use between charges. It charges pretty quickly, so you can just place it on the stand during your morning shower when prompted (though it is water resistant if you wish to keep it on).

Overall, the design and attention to detail is excellent here.

Overall, the design and attention to detail is excellent here — especially for a small startup. The entirely white, cube-shaped box makes a strong first impression, and the charging stand looks good and is easy to use as well (which bucks the trend for fitness trackers that normally come with fiddly and unusual charging methods). The app does need some work in a few key areas, but we’ll discuss that more in a moment.

Oura Ring 2 review: The best sleep tracking in town

Don't miss

The Oura Ring 2 is probably the best sleep tracker I have ever used. On the face of it, like the best Fitbit devices, it will give you a detailed breakdown of your time in light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. This tells you not only how long you have slept, but how restorative that sleep was likely to have been. Sleep detection is also incredibly accurate, with the reports being spot on 99 percent of the time. I had one night that didn’t seem to correlate with what I’d experienced, but it wasn’t major difference and it was a one off — something any device on the market will occasionally experience.

The Oura Ring 2 is probably the best sleep tracker I have ever used.

The only big omission I noticed, is that it doesn’t seem able to detect day-time naps. I know that’s something Bailey will be disappointed to hear. Similarly, while my wife was in labor the other week (woop!) I actually went one entire night without sleeping and rather than registering that for what it was, the ring acted as though I had not been wearing it (even though it would have been able to detect waking movement the entire time). Rather than saying “oh no, you haven’t slept like… at all,” it instead treated the data as missing.

Oura Ring Sleep Tracking

This is what sleep looks like when you’re a new dad

So, there are a couple of drawbacks, but what’s impressive is all the additional data the Oura Ring 2 tracks during sleep.

Resting heart rate is an excellent indicator of recovery, and of overall physical fitness, for example. A post on the Oura blog explains how a U-shaped curve demonstrates your body has fully recovered from the day before, whereas as a downward slope might indicate you could have benefited from a little extra nap time — explaining why you perhaps wake up feeling groggy and what to do about it next time.

Resting heart rate is an excellent indicator of recovery, and of overall physical fitness.

You’ll also be able to see how long it took you to fall asleep (sleep latency), how optimal your sleep timing was with regards to external cues, how efficient your sleep was, how many times you woke up, and more. Tapping on any of these points will then provide more detail — often a graph or chart accompanied by some explanation by Oura and perhaps a link to an external blog post. All this is great and it is by far the most detailed sleep tracking I’ve ever encountered.

Oura Ring 2 side view

A Biohacker’s dream: Readiness and heart rate variability

But wait, there’s more.

Digging deeper, there’s a whole lot more data you don’t typically see in these kinds of apps. To name a few: body temperature, a recovery index, and heart rate variability.

Oura ring body temperature

Body temperature of course tells you just how hot or cold you were during the night. This very useful inclusion could bring to light some interesting patterns and trends. For instance: does being cooler at night help you sleep better?

It can also indicate that something might be wrong, like if you have the start of a fever. Not many other trackers provide users with this data and the Oura has an edge here, seeing as it’s easier to measure temperature changes from the fingers and toes.

Oura Ring 2 on Hand

Resting heart rate data is meanwhile taken and used to generate a “recovery index.” This shows you how long it takes for your resting heart rate to stabilize once you hit the sack. Tapping that item in the app tells us this should happen in the first half hour after you hit the hay. There’s so much to dig into here and explore, you can spend a long time each morning reading your stats.

Heart rate variability is an even more interesting stat a lot of people won’t be familiar with. This basically tells you about your sympathetic tone, and whether you are sympathetic or parasympathetic dominant (fight or flight, or rest and digest).

There’s a lot of fascinating heart rate variability research being conducted at the moment, and it could also be linked to optimal mental states for performance and other cool stuff.

While many of us assume our heart rate takes on a steady rhythm, the truth is it changes as you breathe in and out. When you breathe in, your heart rate should increase slightly, and when you breathe out, it should decrease. If you are highly stressed, your heart rate will be constantly elevated and your breathing will have less of an impact on it. This essentially suggests you are either chronically stressed or overtraining and need more time to recover.

There’s a lot of fascinating heart rate variability research being conducted at the moment. It could be linked to optimal mental states for performance and other cool stuff. Other fitness trackers simply aren’t accurate enough to provide this data, but the 250Hz infrared lights here are more than capable (the pulse strength in the finger is also greater than on the wrist — 50-100 times greater in fact!).

Oura then takes all of this data and uses it to provide a “readiness score.” This intended to advise your training schedule. If your readiness is low, then you should avoid intensive training that day, maybe reschedule a hectic meeting, and perhaps reflect a little on what you could change about your current lifestyle. In short, it aggregates all that complex data and turns it into a single number you can act on.

Oura Ring 2 Readiness Score

I will never be ‘ready’ again

A couple of miss-steps

I’m singing the Oura Ring 2’s praises a lot here because it is the device I’ve been waiting for a long time. This fitness tracker doesn’t just measure the same old tired data, and it provides some actually useful and actionable advice. It’s a glimpse at how technology can help us perform better.

That’s not to say it’s perfect.

Oura Ring 2 Design

One area of concern for me was with the step counting. I noticed the app often reported I had completed thousands more steps than my other tracking methods. I spoke to a rep from Oura about this and they explained that the “steps” counted are actually a measure of overall movement and energy expenditure, translated to steps (the metabolic equivalent to steps). This is actually a more useful method on the whole than strictly tracking steps, though it is a little confusing given the app reports the score simply as “steps.”

It’s a shame there isn’t also a simple step count shown. It would be useful if this was a pedometer, too. I’m also not 100 percent convinced — how can the motion sensors pick up enough movement from a single finger to recognize such a broad scope of movement?

The app was often reporting that I had completed thousands more steps than my other tracking methods

Activity tracking could also use a little smoothing out. It detects activities like walks and runs automatically, but it won’t recognize every type of training. That included my own workouts, which was probably fair enough. I was mainly doing a lot of pull ups and push ups, which don’t provide much movement in the hands.

It is reasonable to expect it might at least notice the elevated heart rate and register that as a period of heightened activity. No such luck.

Training wearing the Oura Ring 2

This triceps workout will need to be added manually to the app

Another shortcoming is with compatibility. Apple users can connect the app to Apple’s Health Kit without an issue, but Android users have no such option. There’s no support for Google Fit for instance, so you can’t register workouts with a second tracker and have the data sync up automatically. There’s no way to connect to MyFitnessPal either, which means you can’t really use this as a tool for losing weight, as you might a Fitbit.

This is coming to the product very soon (sometime in 2019) so it’s not totally fair to mark it down on that basis. However, as it stands, don’t expect the kind of deep integration with third party offerings that you’ve maybe come to expect.

There’s no way to retroactively add a workout for a previous day

For now, any workouts you do will need to be added manually. Unfortunately, if you should forget to do this one day, you’ll miss the opportunity. There’s no way to retroactively add a workout for a previous day. That’s down to the complexity of the algorithms used and understandable, but it’s still a shame that my data will be incomplete (and corresponding advice wrong) if I forget to log my training — something I often do. I wouldn’t mind seeing my readiness score change when I update my data — in fact it would be encouraging.

The app’s UI also needs work. It’s quite fiddly to find what you’re looking for and syncing with Bluetooth occasionally takes a little longer than it should. Still, the app is being actively updated all the time and I’ve already seen improvements. In fact, they just recently added an on-boarding process to the iOS version for orienting new users. Presumably the Android version will get the same treatment soon.

Oura Ring App

Some of those might sound like big problems, but Oura assures us more updates are coming. This is still a product in its infancy (despite this being the second hardware iteration) and apparently a lot of cool stuff is planned.

In future, I’d really like to see some graphs and charts showing relationships between the data. For instance, I’d love to see how my body temperature correlates with how soundly I slept. As it is, it’s great to be able to see trends over time and a baseline though.

Oura Ring Review

Perhaps the best way to think of this is as a health tracker first and a fitness tracker second. It’s actually ideal for wearing in conjunction with a traditional wrist-worn tracker, and once integration with other apps is introduced, it will become even more potent in that regard. Although the data it offers is slightly imperfect due to the shortcomings I’ve identified, it’s still more than enough to be actionable and it’s the only device doing anything like this right now. I’m really excited to see where this goes in future.

What to do with all this data?

Ultimately, the amount and quality of the data here is better than any device I’ve used before. It truly makes it possible to make positive lifestyle changes and see them reflected in my sleep and the way I feel. This is the promise of every sleep tracker, but very few provide enough detail or explanation to be practical in that regard. None of them offer insights like body temperature and heart rate variance.

For instance, I was feeling a little rough a few weeks ago and when I looked at the app, I could see my “recovery index” was low. Tapping the icon explained this could be a result of a late-night workout — which I did that night — and my resting heart rate was exactly what you might expect it to be as a result of this.

I read a user review stating they used the Oura Ring to predict the onset of a cold before it hit. Personally, I’ve been using it to track how well I’m coping with the extreme sleep deprivation that comes from fatherhood. Suffice it to say, not well! However, at least I now know how bad the damage is and whether or not to consider training as a result.

One user used the Oura ring in order to predict the onset of a cold before it hit

In some ways the Oura Ring 2 still finding its footing, but it is pretty awesome already and there’s a lot more awesome coming. For the price (around $350), it might be worth hanging on a little while longer if you’re a casual user (perhaps until the Google Fit integration next year). If you love this stuff as much as I do and consider yourself an enthusiast, you’ll have no regrets becoming an early adopter. Whoever you are, the ring can certainly help you understand more about yourself and why you feel rough some days and great on others.

This is an excellent device for any biohacker and has the potential to become essential for a much larger audience soon.



from Android Authority https://ift.tt/2Br3epc

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