Between viral health concerns that give consistent health tracking greater appeal and the allure of WearOS for smart, active living, I found myself the perhaps smartest combination of wearables: the Suunto 7 and the Oura Ring.
Their pros and cons complement each other in just the right way – and if you are into Google’s ‘ecosystem’ of apps and data, they also combine very nicely.
Sports and Life
The Suunto 7 is one of the most appealing WearOS smartwatches also decidedly made for sports, so far.
Of course, it suffers from the usual issues of WearOS, if you are not used to them: Its battery life is such that you best recharge it every night.
WearOS gives a quick view of smartphone notifications, access to Google Assistant, media controls, potentially Google Pay. And of course, any other apps available for the system.
I have to recharge my smartphone at least overnight, maybe even during the day, so why not another smart device, even if it comes in the shape of a watch?
For travel activities, I had particularly come to like WearOS already before. Increasingly, I’m learning to like it for managing a work day, as well.
For sports activities, the Suunto 7 also offers pretty interesting tracking.
Many were the complaints about its lack of support for external sensors, but that’s a part of the appeal, too: This is a watch where one doesn’t bother with a chest strap, a foot pod, what-not.
Just take it, track the activity, get the data that it delivers.
It goes into the Suunto app, so appears in that ecosystem where you may already have other sports data (and a watch for less-everyday sports activities) – or not – and can be shared from there to e.g. Strava and many other partners.
And it delivers a *lot* of data:
Active Life Data, with Google Fit Input (and Output)
There would also be some health tracking, at least of steps and optionally of daily HR. This is not the strongest suit of WearOS and the Suunto 7, but seems to get combined with smartphone data, if so set up, pretty well.
In fact, this combination addresses some of my long-standing misgivings about sports tracking and trackers: They don’t usually tell quite enough about all the movement done when just “riding errands” by bike, walking places, commuting.
Fitness trackers do that, but are not such good devices for sports tracking…
Google Fit can also get the data from activities recorded on the Suunto 7, in ways that are getting rather appealing – with the basic data from the activity, including the route.
Especially in combination with Google Fit’s own automatic tracking and interpretation of daily activity outside of outright training sessions or outdoor pursuits – similar to what fitness trackers and Garmin devices often offer – this gives a more complete picture of daily activity levels than sports tracking alone.
Google (Maps) Timeline turned on, this includes basic routes of where these activities went, which I like. (Data privacy concerns aside.)
The biggest weakness of the Suunto 7 for those who have come to expect that sports watches will track their recovery, as well: Sleep tracking with WearOS is not really a thing.
Some apps are available, but those would not “talk” with the Suunto app. They all have their issues; WearOS just isn’t made for devices to be worn 24/7.
That, though, is where the Oura Ring comes in.
Oura Ring Sleep and Health Tracking
The Oura ring is a peculiar wearable tracker.
Where most of these devices are worn on the wrist, it is a ring to be worn on a finger.
Where most wearables try to show useful data directly, the Oura ring has no display.
And where most trackers are focused on step counts or outright sports data, the focus here is on sleep and readiness data, with activity levels only an add-on data set, sports not even anything that is tracked separately.
The result, however, is a health-tracking device that is
- easy to wear 24/7 (at least, as long as you are or get used to wearing a ring on your finger),
- comfortable to wear to bed (where it even gathers its most insightful data), and
- the perfect companion to a sports watch or smartwatch.
The Suunto 7 as a sports smartwatch is a particulary good companion; its weaknesses are exactly where the Oura ring shines.
Sleep and Readiness Data
Data from the Oura ring give insight into sleep, from a summary sleep score via analysis of time in bed and actual sleeping time to sleep stages, average and minimum resting heart rate, and different contributors to sleep such as latency (time to falling asleep, restfulness, and the timing of one’s sleep.
In addition, the Oura ring also gives an indication of one’s readiness, derived from heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, sleep, and activity.
(Body temperature change – the ring does not measure the absolute body temperature but its variation during sleep – is also among the factors that have made this device of interest for potential tracking of the onset of COIVD-19.)
Daily Activity Tracking
Activity, not in sports but overall, is also tracked and put into context.
Sports activities, at least as a note of their basic data (time, type, duration, calories burned) can be imported automatically from Google Fit.
Data in Combination
This nicely combines things.
As you might remember from the note about Google Fit and the Suunto 7 above, workout summaries are shared from the watch to the app.
The other way round, the Oura ring app can export basic sleep data (the “bedtime routine” of bed and wake-up times and the total sleep duration) into Google Fit.
In effect, the combination of these two devices means that basic data can be shared from their respective apps to Google Fit. There, then, one can get an overview of activity in daily life and sleep (and more).
Deeper insight is available from each of the respective wearable’s own apps.
In Combination, In Conclusion
A nicely well-rounded picture of life tracking data and unobtrusive smart assistance emerges from just these two wearables, which are hardly noticeable as anything particularly flashy.
You can wear them with a suit and tie – let alone, performance menswear – just as well as in colorful sports clothes, and they won’t seem out of place.
And you can dive very deeply into the data they provide.
Or let it be collected just in case, and not worry about it too much.
Or pay a little attention to the advice that can be gained from them.