McLear's original NFC Ring was a massive success on kickstarter, having provided an original wearable technology solution for those wanting to make greater use of the NFC functionality in their smartphones. However, the rings did have some limitations, with the biggest being the operating range. Today the company launches a new KickStarter campaign for a 2016 range that addresses operating range, while bringing forth a number of other improvements.
I've been using the 2016 NFC ring for just under a month. There'll be four different models included in the kickstarter, but I have the Horizon model. The first thing to notice is the new packaging - it's sleek and not hugely wasteful.
The Horizon itself is a handsome ring. The main ceramic - yes, they're made of durable ceramic now - is a glossy dark grey. There's one clear tag (showing the underlying circuitry) and there's one black tag.
The dual-tag system provides the option of a subtly 'nerdy' style which has received a number of compliments from the people who've noticed it on my fingers.
In terms of functionality, the new ceramic material and bigger NTAG216 NFC tag allow for greatly improved operating range when compared to the original NFC ring - up to three times the range. This is a greatly appreciated addition, but it does mean that there are a few more accidental detections when the ring is placed on your main fingers.
I'm now wearing the ring on my thumb, and I think I prefer it like that.
The new tag is now 1KB, with 888 bytes available to the user - a massive increase when compared to the previous 128 bytes.
Now that the ring can store more, it can of course therefore do more. Longer strings of encrypted text can now be stored, for example.
The KickStarter launches today, with a goal of £57,000 and prices ranging from $27-35 for earlybird and non-earlybird backers.