Ringly: Bling for ladies who never hear their phones ring

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Credit: Stacey Higginbotham/Gigaom

For anyone who has ever missed a phone call because her phone is buried in her bag, or who is sick of checking for texts at the table, Ringly is for you. The connected jewelry combines fashion and technology in a statement ring that costs between $195 and $260 and will let you get your phone calls, notifications or texts while your phone stays in your bag.

I’ve been waiting for this device since ordering mine in June, and I have to say that after about 36 hours of wearing it, I never want to take it off. If you have a hard time hearing your phone, have the funds and don’t mind wearing a big ring, then go grab one, because you will not regret the purchase. You will have to wait, though. All pre-orders made now will ship some time in early 2015.

The Ringly launch collection.

The Ringly launch collection

First off, the setup after opening the box is simple. You download the app from the iOS or Android Play store and then connect your ring via Bluetooth. Currently the iOS version has a bit more functionality than the Android version (I’m on the Android version), but the Android version will get a boost in a few weeks, according to a Ringly spokesperson. Battery life easily got me through a full day in which I received about a dozen calls and maybe 24 texts that required vibrations and then hundreds of flashes from the ring’s LEDs for mail, tweets and whatnot.

You charge the Ringly in the box it comes in. The box contains a battery and also plugs in via a micro-USB cable. Getting a full charge takes about three hours. I found the charging indicator in the app to be pretty random, telling me I had 7 percent battery left one second and then 40 percent the next.

The ring

The ring itself comes in a rhodium-plated or matte 18K gold-plated version, with a variety of different-colored stones in the gold version. Mine is the white rainbow moonstone and, unfortunately, arrived with a tiny scratch. The company says,”All of Ringly’s gemstones are natural stones, and are hand cut for unique and interesting looks. The lines and inclusions are a part of the process, and no two Ringlys are the same!”

ringlyfinger

I don’t mind terribly, but others might. My husband hates the matte gold look, calling it “plasticky,” but I think it might be kind of trendy. I’ve received three compliments on it in the day and half I’ve worn it, so it must be attractive to people outside the narrow tech world.

The ring is water-resistant, so I can wash my hands and handle laundry and such, but I do take it off for washing dishes and cooking, since it’s not waterproof. Since I wear a 6.5 on the middle finger of my right hand and got a 7 (the company doesn’t offer half sizing), the ring is too large for that finger and so I wear it on my index finger instead. My advice is to size down because the heavy stone makes the ring floppy and prone to coming off your finger.

The tech

Ringly uses Bluetooth to communicate with your phone (or tablet) and you can enable different lighting or vibration configurations for different apps so you can see what’s happening on your phone with just a glance at your finger. For example, when my phone rings, a red LED flashes and I get three haptic pulses in a row. When I get an email, I get a blue LED that I’m tempted to turn off since email is such a constant. People do notice the ring flashing, so a more subtle way to wear it would be to just use the vibrations.

ringlyappThe iOS version of the app lets you customize the settings a bit more to narrow down people or contacts to trigger certain patterns, which could be handy if you want to set a specific pattern for your spouse, your business partner or maybe your child’s school. That’s coming soon on the Android version. The app lets you easily pick and choose what apps you want to enable on the ring, and it’s pretty simple to get a feel for what’s happening after just a few hours of using it.

I noticed that the range of 20–30 feet required for the ring to connect to the phone is fine when it’s in my bag at a party or just at a restaurant, but it’s too short for my house, which means I can’t rely on Ringly to tell me when I get a text and my phone is upstairs while I’m downstairs. That’s a bummer, but I do have an IFTTT recipe that handles that by blinking my Hue light bulbs.

I’ve been waiting for this specific device since I saw it at SXSW in March. Really, though, I’ve been waiting for this blend of fashion and technology ever since 1998, when I purchased my first cell phone and started missing my first calls because my damn phone was in my backpack. So, it’s about time.

For more on Ringly, check out CEO Christina Mercando discussing how she built the device at our Structure Connect product from October in the video below:

1 Comment

Eileen

Just got mine, and while I love it…my moonstone also had a scratch on it.

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