Gadgets Magazine

My Experience with the Official NFC Ring.

Posted on the 04 October 2014 by Andrew Monks @mramonks

I've never been one for wearing any jewellery, but since I was recently married my wedding finger has become open to the idea of a bit of bling! So being a geek and not wanting a ring that does nothing, I thought I'd best get a ring that did something. I saw the NFC ring on Kickstarter approximately a year ago. The idea of unlocking your phone with your ring was a very alluring idea. I thought what a cool and safe way (if not over the top way) to unlock my device.Only recently I saw them on sale independently from Kickstarter so I decided to treat myself as they're only £29.99. It arrived swiftly and So now I've had it about a week I've written down some of my thoughts on it. Is it as good and useful as I wanted it to be??My Experience with the Official NFC ring.You can order the ring in a small choice of styles and sizes. There's V1ntage, Classic and Signature. I bought the signature one (3rd one along in picture above) , all are the same price which is nice.What you get In the box.My Experience with the Official NFC ring.It comes quite nicely presented, it's definitely not packaged like a Tiffany ring, but does the job. You get a short leaflet on getting started which links you to the mobile app you need to install to get the ring up and running. You also get a set of little stickers, I'll tell you what they are  for later on!!My Experience with the Official NFC ring.The NFC ring and it's softwareMy Experience with the Official NFC ring.My Experience with the Official NFC ring.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Before you can do any of the NFC cleverness you need to register the ring with the app. The main app that you use is called NFC Ring Control. This is where you write the different NFC actions to the ring. These include creating links to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and writing text. Now this isn't what I bought the ring for, and to be honest I can't see that I would ever use these functions. Sharing my facebook profile or twitter account with someone isn't useful to me, but maybe if these were used in a promotional way I can see the use. 


The second app you need which goes hand in hand with the previous app is called NFC Ring Unlock. This is where you get all the settings to refine the NFC unlocking process. I have to say that the apps provided at the moment by the NFC ring team feel quite beta ish. I'm pretty sure there will be updates in the future but in the meantime I use an xposed mod on my rooted LG G2 which has a smoother implementation. 

I bought the ring for the primary reason of a secure and fast way to unlock my device. The NFC technology at this time isn't quite up to speed. One of the problems with unlocking the device is finding the 'Sweet Spot', where your antenna in the phone is at its strongest. When you set up your ring with the control app you are taken through a process to find the so called sweet spot. Every make of device has it's antenna in a different spot. You basically move the ring around the back until the phone recognises it. Mine happens to be right and below the volume button. That's what the stickers are for, so you can easily locate the sweet spot. You also have to be 99% accurate as well when trying . In my week of trying to use the ring I found it to be very temperamental and wasted plenty of time swiping over and over to get it to unlock. Maybe there is something that the software updates might be able to help with but i have a feeling I'll have to wait and see if future phones have bigger and better NFC antennas in.

I'll finish with a little write up of the rings pros and cons that I found. The finish on the ring is excellent and the open NFC tags gets a lot of funny looks from my friends. I think it could have many useful applications. I like the idea of having your phones apps being independently locked down and needing the ring to get into them, messages or gallery perhaps. One of the uses the uses the NFC ring site advertises is to use it in conjunction with an NFC door lock. I haven't got one and probably not many people do, but if I had the option to install one I probably would. 

The only real negative is the hassle of trying to line up the ring with the antenna. I found this to be a real deal breaker to use it, and often found it easier to just type in my password or pattern unlock.
My Experience with the Official NFC ring.

My Experience with the Official NFC ring.

I'll be keeping the ring to see where it uses go in the future, I just wonder how long I wear it before it ends up gathering dust on a shelf.

Please share your thoughts, feelings and good uses for the ring. Whether you have one or not, and please +1 and share.

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