The quest to quantify our health and wellness through wearable devices shows no signs of slowing down. Wellness rings have emerged as the newest generation of discreet health trackers, with companies like Oura, Circular, and Movano placing advanced sensors into slim rings.
The latest entrant is the Circul Plus from Prevention – a $399 wellness ring aimed at general consumers rather than just elite athletes. I’ve been testing the Circul Plus for several weeks to find out if its affordable price comes with any compromises.
Overall, the Circul Plus gets all of the health tracking basics right at a reasonable cost. While hardcore biohackers may desire more advanced metrics and recovery insights, the Circul Plus provides actionable guidance for improving sleep, activity, heart health and overall wellbeing.
Let’s dive into the full experience testing the Circul Plus day and night:
Unboxing and Setup
Right out of the box, the Circul Plus ring makes a premium first impression. Its smooth Finish and curved exterior shape look appropriately stylish for a device you’ll wear 24/7. I appreciated the included jewelry-style box and travel case too – nice touches setting it apart from budget trackers.
I ordered a size 10 based on the ring fit guide, which recommended going a size up if between two sizes. The titanium ring felt slightly big at first but within two days it had settled into a comfortable fit. Prevention also includes a handy plastic ring adjuster to finely tune sizing.
For setup, you install the Circul app on your phone and create an account. There’s no onboarding questionnaire – you just need to enter your basic health stats like date of birth, height and weight.
The Circul Plus took less than a minute to pair over Bluetooth. From there I was ready to start racking up insights on sleep, activity, heart metrics and more. Prevention also offers a 6 month free trial of their premium subscription, which unlocks additional features like guided programs.
Appearance and Comfort
Most wellness rings share a very similar minimalist, circular exterior by design. The Circul Plus looks smart enough to pass as jewelry while still maintaining a distinctive tech feel.
Its matte finish avoids ostentatious shininess, and the metallic graphite color scheme pairs well with both casual and formal outfits. For $399, the Circul Plus delivers a suitably stylish aesthetic.
In terms of comfort, the rounded interior and lightweight build make the Circul Plus pleasant to wear all day and night. I barely notice it after the first few hours. The tracker sits snugly without ever feeling confining or restrictive.
I’ve worn the Circul Plus during intense exercise and sleep without any issues. Prevention advertises a 7 day battery life, and so far drain has been very minimal – usually only losing 10-15% charge per day.
Sensors and Tracking
Inside the lustrous exterior, the Circul Plus contains an array of sensors to measure key health metrics:
– PPG optical heart rate sensor
– Skin temperature sensor
– 3-axis accelerometer to detect motion
– Relative SpO2 sensor to estimate blood oxygen levels
– Electrodermal activity (EDA) sensors that gauge stress response
This allows the Circul Plus to track a comprehensive range of wellness data:
– Continuous heart rate
– Heart rate variability (HRV)
– Active zone minutes based on heart rate spikes
– SpO2 levels
– Skin temperature variations
– Sleep stages, duration and quality score
– Step counting and calories burned
– Activity type recognition (walk, run, bike etc)
– Stress tracking via EDA responses
The optical heart rate sensor performs accurately based on my testing, with values closely aligning to dedicated heart rate straps like the Polar H10.
HRV data is presented simply as low, medium or high variations, rather than absolute values. Skin temperature shifts line up logically with activities and environmental changes.
I appreciate that the Circul Plus tracks both active heart rate for workout intensity and resting heart rate for health insights. You get a good picture of cardiovascular strain and recovery.
The accelerometer-based motion tracking proves pretty reliable as well for counting steps and basic activity recognition. As expected, more advanced runners and cyclists may desire GPS for outdoor pace and distance.
My one gripe is SpO2 data is provided only as a spot check measurement rather than continuous overnight monitoring like on premium rivals such as Oura. But otherwise, the Circul Plus covers all the key 24/7 activity metrics at its reasonable price.
Sleep Tracking Accuracy
Like any wellness wearable, sleep tracking accuracy makes or breaks the value of the Circul Plus. And I’m pleased to report sleep analysis is quite good for the price range. The ring delivers data on sleep stages, duration, interruptions and overall quality.
Each morning, you can view your previous night’s sleep breakdown showing durations spent in light, deep and REM sleep. The app also calculates a sleep quality score based on your time in each stage.
Over two weeks of testing, the Circul Plus proved relatively consistent and aligned with my own perceived sleep quality. Nights when I felt I slept horribly were graded lower, while nights I awoke feeling refreshed scored higher.
I appreciate that the app digs deeper with factors like sleep regularity, restfulness, and disruptions that influence your overall sleep score. This extra context helps make sense of daily variances.
Compared to advanced sleep trackers like the Oura Ring, the Circul Plus expectedly lacks the sophisticated temperature sensing and algorithm precision to perfectly distinguish light vs deep sleep. But for general sleep quality insights, it performs admirably.
Health Insights and Guidance
Simply quantifying metrics like heart rate or steps is only valuable if you gain personalized insights to improve your health. This is an area where the Circul Plus shines for its price bracket. The app’s data analysis and guidance are excellent.
Each morning, your overnight biometrics are synthesized into a Daily Health Report with tips based on your scores. For example, high HRV may prompt recovery exercises, while low sleep may suggest wind down routines. I found the suggestions tailor appropriately to my current state.
The Health Factors screen aggregates your fitness, sleep, and stress into overall Vitality, Restfulness and Calmness scores. Each factor adapts goals and guidance based on your trends.
I also appreciate the detailed explanations when something impacts your sleep or activity, like high stress or alcohol intake. The context helps you identify behaviors to work on rather than just raw numbers alone.
For $399, the depth of analysis and practical health advice in the Circul Plus app is downright impressive. Even the free app delivers strong value before paying for the premium upcharge.
Motivation and Gamification
To help motivate consistent use, the Circul Plus employs gamification through weekly Wellness Reports that grade your sleep consistency, recovery time, and workout goals. You also accumulate Wellness Points for hitting targets, which can be exchanged for rewards.
Striving to maintain at least a B grade on my weekly report nudged me to keep daily sleep and exercise routines consistent. The Wellness Points incentivize longer-term diligence.
I also like the “Wellness Index” which combines your metrics into a single score graded on a scale of 1 to 100. Shooting for a high Wellness Index acts as a fun longer-term game. All the gamification tricks genuinely worked to drive habitual use.
While the free Circul Plus app provides solid utility, upgrading to the $8 per month Premium subscription unlocks deeper analytics and custom programs.
I especially valued the Health Analytics screen which converts your metrics into actionable risk factors like heart rate variability status, blood oxygen patterns, sleep regularity, and exercise load. You can monitor trends and get context on any potentially concerning shifts.
Additional Premium features include:
– Wellness programs focusing on better sleep, cardio fitness, calorie burn, and more
– Guided audio sessions for breathwork, meditation, and sleep
– Monthly health reports and 6-month trends
– Email sleep summary option
The Premium upgrade isn’t essential, but provides worthwhile long-term tracking and personalized health programs based on your data. Users who want detailed optimization will find strong ROI from the paid tier.
The Circul Plus app nails the fundamentals of a streamlined, modern design that’s enjoyable to use. The intuitive layout makes checking daily reports and trends simple, with ample visualizations.
After setup, your main overview displays the Wellness Index and Health Factors screen. Swiping left reveals your Daily Health Report. Swipe up to view more detailed sleep, heart rate, SpO2, activity, and stress analytics.
Navigation stays responsive even when loading substantial historical data. The bold colors and legible fonts make the graphs and numbers readable at a glance. It just works how you’d hope.
I do wish tapping on certain graph data points would reveal more contextual info versus just enlarging the view. But otherwise, the polished Circul app is on par with rivals costing twice as much.
One significant advantage of the Circul Plus over full-featured smartwatches is battery endurance. Prevention promises 7 days of constant all-day use between charges.
In my testing, battery life lived up to claims. With continuous heart rate activated, I’ve yet to drain the Circul Plus in under 6 full days of sleeping and exercising with it on. Most days it’s closer to 7-8 days.
Charging is straightforward with the included magnetic USB cable that snaps securely to contacts on the inside of the ring. Given the battery thriftiness, recharging weekly works easily into most routines.
The Circul Plus skips power-hungry color touchscreens and GPS found on the latest Apple Watches and Fitbits. This wear-and-forget longevity is a major win for convenience.
Is the Circul Plus Worth It?
After extensively evaluating the Circul Plus for several weeks, my verdict is that it absolutely delivers meaningful health tracking in a stylish, affordable package. Wellness seekers will get excellent utility for the $399 price.
The core capabilities of 24/7 heart rate, sleep and activity tracking are reliable, complemented by a polished app experience that keeps you engaged. Premium subscribers also gain access to detailed analytics and guidance.
While hardcore athletes may still desire more advanced running metrics, GPS and recovery analytics, the Circul Plus hits the sweet spot for general consumers. Wearing it long term provides a holistic view of your wellbeing.
When it comes to consumer health wearables, value depends heavily on consistent motivational features to build healthy habits. Through personalized insights, gaming elements, and an intuitive interface, the Circul Plus succeeds in establishing lifelong behaviors.
If you’re seeking an attractive, capable wellness tracker with strong battery life at an reasonable price, the Circul Plus deserves your consideration. Prevention manages to deliver most of what pricier rivals offer at a more accessible cost. For most buyers, this stylish smart ring can satisfy needs.